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Column: Caught My Eye, Crossed My Mind: Subject – Zombie Chicken, Winter Weather & Encouragement

By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher

I will admit I like a good old fashioned Northwest Ohio snowstorm.  As a kid I can remember watching the radar on TV and looking out the window just wanting to see the inches of white stuff pile up.  I still have some of those feelings, though the wind, ice and negative windchills can take a hike.

I do dread having to plow and shovel sidewalks now as an adult.  As a member of the local media, a few decades of tragic cold weather-related stories draw up some bad memories.  But I still like a good old-fashioned snowstorm.  With three kids at home there is something special about cooking a pot of chili and just hunkering down, breaking the routine a little bit.

However, we’ve had the experience Winter 2023-24, now it is time to clean up the yard and finish removing Christmas lights buried under the snow.  And frankly as far as I’m concerned, the crazy cold wind chills can avoid returning this season.  Anybody also looking forward to the forthcoming thaw?

An observation I made last week was Juneau, Alaska, which is one of my favorite places on the planet, was well warmer than what we experienced in Northwest Ohio.

I often joke with family and friends that if people keep pushing my buttons I will disappear to Alaska.  I’m one angry phone call or one random email away from saying, “That’s it, I warned you.”  Their immediate response is typically, “too cold”.  I remind them that parts of Southern Alaska get less snow and warmer temperatures than we experience locally because of warm Pacific waters.   Last week proved it.


It is Friday afternoon as I write this thought.  Honestly, I was/am in a pissy mood (can I say that?).  Lots of reasons.

Without going into too much detail we have had a lot of transition in the newspaper office that have added hours to my schedule, hours I do not have time to give.  Transition always happens in business, it is extremely important to have multiple backup plans (in life too).  But when you are a small family-owned business and everyone is at full capacity, anything that throws off the setup routine is very difficult to overcome.  In a blink of an eye a 70-hour work week turns into 90-100.

Then toss in emotionally based stories that find community members at each other’s throats.  Unlike a lot o media outlets that thrive and look for drama, we do not enjoy it.  We do not ignore sensitive stories but we do not go out of our way to focus on them either.  I’d much rather spend our time and resources focusing on a nice feature story on a kid helping humanity.

Sometimes frankly it is not a lot of fun being a media outlet that works to ensure all sides have a voice (including unpopular views and/or views that contradict my biases and opinions – yes, we all have them if we are honest with ourselves).  We work hard to avoid picking up a pitchfork like many in the media and our communities tend to do.  But we put our shoulders back and make sure, as always, we give all sides an equal voice.  Yes, I’m talking about the Dad’s Place Church situation in Bryan, note coverage inside this week’s edition along with prior coverage in prior weeks.

Then while not in our immediate coverage area, on Friday I had just gotten wind that there is a big dispute in Defiance County between the fair board and those putting on the Christmas Drive Thru which in my opinion is a treasure in Northwest Ohio (now cancelled due to disputes in heavy fees).

Long story short, I was in “one of those” moods.  I’m probably the only one that gets this way, right?

I sat down to catch up on mail that was two weeks old as I cannot keep up.  There it was, a sweet note sat between annual property tax bills (think those mailings improved my mood?).  I swear, these rare notes come at the best times.

“This is the first newspaper I have ordered in years.  It has good qualities which I enjoy.  Familiar people, places, and events.  Not all newspapers have the color format you have.  Visually, for me, is easier to read.  Keep up the good work”. 

I will not share the reader’s name as I do not know if that would be something they desire, but “thank you”.  You brought a smile to my Friday.   I’ve said it before, a kind word, a kind note, a pat on the back goes a long way as we walk on this spinning rock.  Who can you encourage this week?  That note may have just kept me from disappearing to Alaska (reference prior thought).


There is A LOT in life that I do not understand.  I was like most teens and 20 somethings in my life and thought I knew everything back in the day.  Clearly, I did not – nor do I now.

Anyway, I have no idea why this observation keeps popping up in my mind.  When you go to a box store or even look online at battery operated power tools (drills), why does it cost significantly more for a battery replacement than buying the whole drill that includes a new battery as well?

If someone can explain this life mystery to me, I’d appreciate it.  I saw this again in Angola the other day.  It was something like $59.99 for a cheap drill set and the battery alone replacement sat right next to it for $74.99.  That was not a one-time observation.  I just want life to make sense.  This doesn’t make sense.  (Time for another cup of coffee).


Can I confess?  I love putting up Christmas decorations, some of the best memories with the kids have been putting up lights outside.  However, on the opposite end of the spectrum there is little annually I dislike more than putting them away.  Like I REALLY dislike it.

I’ll confess I’ve tried to plan business trips around not being within 2000 miles of the house on the dreadful day that the Christmas decorations need put away.  If anybody is thinking about a business plan / model to take this task away from people that feel the same as I do, they could cash in.


Our nine-year-old son and I discovered we lost a chicken to the cold temperatures last week. The chicken died in the night I guess, it was not freshly dead by any stretch of the imagination and more or less frozen solid. A real bummer since we’ve been feeding them high protein snacks to help stay warm (and our chicken coop is pretty airtight).

We went out to dispose of this very dead frozen chicken the following day when the windchill was finally above negative readings and it was missing.  My first thought was how in the world did a varmint get to a chicken inside the coop to eat it?  Looking outside there were no tracks.  So I went in and counted the birds.  15!?!  Not 15-1.  So I counted again, 15!

Sure enough, the chicken was up and running around inside the coop. I’ve never seen this before. Miracle? Zombie chicken?  Did I fall on the ice and give myself a concussion?


That is it for this week. I’d love to hear from you. As always, feel free to reach out to me at or via mail at 115 Broad Street, Montpelier, Ohio 43543.


The post Column: Caught My Eye, Crossed My Mind: Subject – Zombie Chicken, Winter Weather & Encouragement first appeared on The Village Reporter.

Source: The Village Reporter

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