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Wednesday August 16, 2006 7:21 PM
Jim Manders, former PDN and Sequim Gazette editor

Opinion: Saying goodbye to one of our own
Posted on Wednesday 15 June @ 11:04:50

We lost a good friend Monday.

When former Sequim Gazette reporter and editor Jim Manders finally succumbed to a horrible cancer this week, we also lost a mentor, a teacher, a father and uncle, a hero, a confidant, jokester and newshound.
For decades, Jim was associated with a paper he authored and a newsroom he practically called home. He seemed completely connected with the Gazette. When I heard people mention Jim's name, they instantly thought of their hometown paper.

Whenever I met with people those first few weeks I began to work here four years ago, they invariably had something to say about him. I can't lie and say these were all good things; Jim really peeved some people, so much so that I couldn't get them to talk to me for several years. But Jim always had the community at heart. He cared so much for our senior citizens, our children, our businesses that he rarely backed off at the opportunity to challenge a school board, a city council, a county commissioner. Like it or not, Jim was a true newspaperman. In nearly every sense of the word, he bled the ink that fills our newspapers every week.

In those final days, Jim fought tooth-and-nail to keep himself going, I think in large part to be with his family. He pledged not to give up just because cancer had ravaged much of his body in these final days. As shown by some of the fine editorials he penned for us just a few months ago, the cancerous cells within had not thwarted his mind or his thoughts.

Ironically, the cancer that finally took Jim from us started in his throat and actually took most of his voice away. It could not take away the impact he made on me and countless others, though. Jim and former publisher Frank Garred gave me my first job, my only job, in the newspaper business in early 2001. They immediately impressed me with their unrestrained fervor for chasing breaking stories of the day, for scanning dreary government agendas for relevant and important issues, for empathizing with the voiceless to give them a voice, and for reflecting their beloved home of Sequim, warts and all. I wasn't exactly a hotshot recruit, but I had offers from other papers. About 10 minutes into my interview with Jim, I knew this is where I had to be.

He was a tough editor at times, but he always cared about the crafting of each story. He pushed deadlines, demanded accuracy to a "T," fought for the people and rarely compromised, and his reporters loved him for it. In return for his reporters' best, he defended them with everything he could muster.
And though I only got to work for Jim directly for a little less than a year, he taught me more about newspapers than I imagined possible then and can fathom now.

This week I have heard from former employees about how much influence he had upon their careers. I only wish he could have lived longer to pass along some of that energy to future newshounds. That seems selfish; his loss is certainly felt deeper by his kin. Still, those who worked with him are hurting from his passing. It is a painful loss.

Frank and Sue Ellen, Gazette publishers former and current, often refer to our employee collective as a family. If this is true, Jim was our father figure, the big, burly guy with the loud voice, the unfailing principles, the last word.

He was the man we looked to at the end of the day, hoping to hear, "Good job" or "Nice work."
If I had the chance, I'd tell him the same.

Good job, Jim. Nice work.

--by Michael Dashiell
Gazette staff writer
Published 6.15.05
Copyright © 2005 Olympic View Publishing. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed for any commercial purpose without permission of the Sequim Gazette.


marks first anniversary

About 100 people got that first edition as I searched for email addresses of shuffleboard players. Some said “no thanks” after that first edition. Their loyalty was to the print publication. I applauded and continue to cheer that loyalty because I knew if they ever became lagging4s readers they’d be with the magazine forever. Circulation grew to 300 and then to 500 as people started to see the value of lagging4s. It might not be recognizable to anyone else, but today marks the first anniversary of publication lagging4s, the ezine of table shuffleboard.

A year ago today the first edition hit the street, promising to be a once-a-month publication going to readers via email. Some scoffed. At the idea, at the need when there already was a monthly print publication and at me, a guy not afraid to express my points of view about shuffleboard.

I tried to make sure there was something for everyone.
A list of places to play shuffleboard grew and grew after hours of computer searches. It tops 500 this week. Readers also contributed heavily to this list of places to play.

One of the things I wanted to include in lagging4s was more literature. I wrote a couple of pieces, used a story from a college student about Friday night meat shoots and added a nice story about legend Billy Mays written by Carlton Stowers of Texas. In addition, Robert Hoffman contributed a piece about one of the stalwarts of the game. You added to the fare by sending tournament results and stories from tournaments across the country. Robert Davidson from Pacific Coast Shuffleboard News, offered a partnership in sharing information that has worked out well. Maybe better for lagging4s.

The highlight of the year was a trip to the North American Shuffleboard Championships in Reno, Nev. We had pleasure to see John McDermott inducted into the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame and we were able to publish the magazine almost daily as results warranted.

Hopefully, the next year will be as exciting and successful. The magazine is emailed to nearly 600 people weekly and far more than that read lagging 4s. There is never a subscription fee for the magazine. All you have to do to receive it is send your email address to laggin4s@olympus.net. Remember, your words about shuffleboard are always welcome as we strive to have more than just results in the magazine.

 

 
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