Sunday, September 6, 2009

Murder claims colleague's granddaughter

Today, we grieve for a colleague's loss. We grieve again at a teen's slaying, again at the hands of another teen with a gun. The record number of murders in Manatee County climbed one more this weekend, and a grandmother who shares her stories with us at the Bradenton Herald every day mourns.

Aretha James has worked at the Herald for years. Though she's not technically in the newsroom, I have worked with her almost every day since I arrived. She builds the framework for our print pages, dummying the ads on every page before they're sent to the newsroom.

And she has always shared her commitment to this community, calling the Metro Desk with news tips, people stories and providing institutional knowledge. So, without hesitation, she called the desk Friday night -- and shared her worst fears.

Her dear grandbaby had been slain.

Investigators had called Aretha, on the road to vacation, with the nightmare that Jasmine Thompson, 17, a Bayshore cheerleader and senior, was dead. Reporter Beth Burger was already on the scene, but Aretha wanted us to get it right.

She poured her heart out Saturday afternoon to Beth, who shared those innermost thoughts in this story today.

I hope I can always love my family and friends as deeply as Aretha does hers. I wish we had the words to make the pain stop for her family, and all the other families who have lost loved ones to violence here this year.

-- Joan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we share in that loss. What is happening to our community?