Opinion & Editorial

On track, with insight: Two experts join The Chronicle

We welcome two new voices to The Chronicle during the next two weeks, both of whom bring their own subject-matter expertise and experienced writers with their own styles.
And while Joey Blum will be preparing all of us for the USA Track & Field trials, and Linda LaZar will be providing insights based upon thousands of years of data, our readers will be the big winners. Weekly newspapers are unique for a lot of reasons; having talented experts with robust writing credits is especially rare.
Joey’s “Countdown” to The Trials debuts this week. During the next 25 weeks, he’ll help educate, inform, entertain, surprise and enlighten all of us.
We’ll understand why the trials are important; who we should know that is connected to this event, especially our family, friends and neighbors; and what matters most to all of us?
Yes, a spot on the Olympic team is at stake for the athletes. And so is potential revenue for our small-business owners and local economy.
Joey has all the angles covered. I encourage to read his introductory feature story, too, which starts on the front cover.
His involvement in track and field started 22 years ago when his neighbor, Dave Hess, told Joey that he officiated meets at Hayward Field. Joey was intrigued, and offered to help. The next day, Hess called and soon Joey was an on-field radio communicator at the hammer and pole vault areas. Within a year, he became a certified official and began working all eight field events of pole vault, high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, discus, shot put and hammer.
Thirteen years ago, as technology revolutionized how events were scored and measured and lasers came into our world, Joey was asked to create and lead the first electronic scorekeeping crew at Hayward Field. His crew has recorded most of the marks during every big meet at Hayward Field for the past 13 years, and Joey was crew chief for the first 11 of those years. “What a great job!” he said.
What a lucky break for us that he’s covering a worldwide sporting event in our backyard.
Linda and I first met at a Cottage Grove Rotary meeting at Stacy’s Covered Bridge. We were both newcomers to the club, and relative newcomers to the area.
As The Chronicle continued to provide more coverage on Cottage Grove, including several fascinating stories on residents at Magnolia Gardens, we got to know each other better. One day, Linda confided about her subject-matter expertise in Chinese Astrology. And the fact she used to regularly publish a column on the topic in The Los Angeles Times.
It turned out we shared journalism histories, having worked for major daily newspapers around the country.
Linda’s Chinese Astrology column begins Thursday, Jan. 9, and she brings clear, efficient and empathetic prose, which readers will see is authentic and genuine. Her success in the Los Angeles newspaper market led to a three-hour radio show that had callers waiting on lines well before and after the show.
Chinese Astrology is, essentially, the world’s largest and oldest database. Where was the moon at the moment of your birth, anywhere on Earth you might have been born? There are clear patterns and trends across that dataset over thousands of years. She’s an interpreter, of sorts. Of course, it’s more than just “data.” You need context, knowledge, experience, and she has the academic degrees to back it all up.
Linda combines a passion and expertise that results in tried-and-true wisdom, delivered with sensibility and practicality.
You won’t just love reading Linda’s columns, you’ll be seeking her insights.
Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.



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