REPORTERS' NOTEBOOK: The right way to fly the POW-MIA flag

Erie County officials vow they'll fly the POW-MIA flag correctly from now on, after a World War II veteran stopped in their offices
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Erie County officials vow they'll fly the POW-MIA flag correctly from now on, after a World War II veteran stopped in their offices to set them straight.

At the County Services Center and at the Erie County Courthouse, the county was flying the U.S. flag at the top, the Ohio flag below it and the POW-MIA flag at the bottom.

County administrator Mike Bixler said he learned that was wrong when a veteran who lives on Columbus Avenue -- his name wasn't recorded -- walked in and told facilities director Allen Jackson the county's flag protocol is incorrect.

Jackson, a veteran with a 22-year career in the Air Force, researched the matter and discovered the POW-MIA flag, as a national flag, is supposed to fly just below the U.S. flag. That will displace the state flag to the bottom.

"I'm going to make sure it's right now," Bixler vowed.

-- Tom Jackson

Logo left some people squinting

The Holiday Reflections series last month garnered a good deal of positive feedback from readers who enjoyed reminiscing with others about Christmases past in harder economic times. It was surprising how many readers called or otherwise offered comments about the series.

But there was one question that popped up more than just a few times: What was in the center of that logo?

Remember the old "Magic Eye" comic in the Sunday comic sections of newspapers across the country? You would look at the color panel and have to stare at it before an entirely different image would appear on the page when your eyes started playing tricks on you. Well, the logo is a little bit like that.

Here's a slightly enlarged version of the logo. This should provide an answer to one the most asked questions this holiday season: What is in the center of that holiday wreath logo?

-- Matt Westerhold

Scanning for laughs

In the newsroom it's rare not to hear a million different conversations, excitement over a breaking story, the tapping of keys and the not-so-silent grumbles, whether it's a voice mail message we wish we hadn't gotten or fights with spell check.

Some days are just plain uneventful. Luckily, even on the most boring of days, we can always count on one thing for entertainment: The police scanner.

The most unusual stuff comes across -- from stolen lip gloss, lost cars in the mall parking lot, individuals setting the tip of a gas can on fire and children reporting their parents were being "mean." Recently, someone was panicked because their neighbor's chickens were running crazed on their property.

On certain days, mainly the weekend, it's not unusual to have a front row seat to people performing their own karaoke ballads or talking about new straw hats they bought on vacation.

So in reality, there's never really a dull moment.

-- Amanda Godfrey

Reporter sequesters himself in courtroom

I was in the newsroom Friday afternoon when my phone rang.

"Dude, can you look up a number for me?" said the voice on the other end.

"Who is this?"

"It's Mike Fitzpatrick. I need you look up Judge Tygh Tone's number for me."

"Sure, one sec," I told him.

Fitz, as we call him in the newsroom, is the cops and courts reporter at the Register. For those of you who don't know him, Fitz is the most lovable human being on the planet. He's almost childlike in terms of his enjoyment of everyday life.

But also like a child, he's easier to read than a Dr. Suess book. I could tell something was amiss.

"What's going on?" I asked as I searched for number.

"Dude, I'm locked in a courtroom."

"What?"

"I'm locked in a courtroom."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I went through the wrong door, it locked, and now I can't get out."

I tried not to laugh. In my mind, I could picture Fitz inside a tiny little courtroom, pawing the walls like a mime stuck inside an imaginary box. God bless him -- only Fitz could get locked in a courtroom.

I found the number, gave it to him and hung up. Of course, I quickly told everyone what had happened, much to their amusement.

Thirty minutes later, Fitz trudged into the newsroom.

"What happened?" everyone inquired.

"I accidentally went through the judge's door, and it locked behind me. I couldn't get out."

Everyone gave him a little ribbing, but Fitz took it good-naturedly as he always does. What a guy.

-- Jason Singer