Great to see so many familiar faces at Paul J. and Ken P.'s retirement party Friday night.
There were so many lawyer and judges present for a minute I thought I was at a hearing for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. But good to see David Leyton on hand as well.
Unlike a previous Genesee County Prosecutor, Leyton understands the job the press has to do and is cooperative whether or not he is getting a hard ride, which at present he is, from the media.
Also great to see ABC-12's Angie Hendershott, formerly Sharamski (I have no idea how to properly spell it and I'm too lazy to check it right now. That's the magic of blogging I can come back and fix it tomorrow, Monday or next week. Joel Fieck (again I'll check the spelling later) was on hand, which is a testament to the great rapport Paul J. had with everyone around the courthouse.
Of all the missing shoes, Paul's may be the toughest to fill.
Leyton even told me he obtained a murder conviction Friday and no Journal reporter was present. I noticed that Bryn did pick up the conviction, but it is clear that will all the crush of duties falling on the surviving reporters there simply won't be the kind of court coverage the Journal has had in the past.
"I'm already missing you guys," Leyton told a bunch of us Friday night.
Now I'm getting requests. The first was for some State News stories.
As some of you know I cut my journalism baby teeth as a student reporter and later editor-in-chief of the State News, the daily student publication of Michigan State University back in the 1970s. I was editor from 1978-79.
But one of my first difficult assignments was trying to get a comment from then-President Clifton Wharton, who had just announced his resignation for a new job in the State University of New York.
Wharton hated The State News, hated it with a passion. But I was told to head to his office and stay until I got a comment. So for the next three days (about 9 hours per day) me with help from another reporter sat in his outer office and waited for him to come out for a comment. A comment that never came.
But he knew we were waiting, even if he refused to come out. It was an important lesson about perseverance and dedication.
Later I met a Mr. Ballard, who was the liaison between the University President and the Board of Trustees, who gave me a line I never forgot.
"Smith, if it weren't for the students and faculty, Michigan State would be a great place to work," he said.
I loved that quote and have altered it for use many times during my career.
In the coming days and weeks I'll post some stories about State News copy runs, cookie day, the annual MSU State News vs. U-M Daily football game during "Big Game" week and any other stories that come to mind.
Buffalo is beautiful this time of year.