Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Author: Sandi Kemp

Out and About

I’ve known Rep. Gaetz for a long time, but I wouldn’t say we are close friends. I still have to wait my turn to talk to him and I have his cell phone number, but he doesn’t always answer my texts. I still have to go through his communication director and his chief of staff, just like anyone else. I believe we have a mutual respect for each other, or it could just be that Matt’s dad, Don, used to be in the newspaper business and he is just tolerating me to humor his dad.

Regardless, Matt is elected to serve our district and our newspapers have a responsibility to report on and seek out information in our areas of coverage and Matt is someone we need to talk to and cover so we can bring our readers the information they need for their daily lives.

In our meeting, Matt was genuinely interested in our recent expansion into Crestview and Milton and even took the time to look through the papers I brought with me and posed for our “On the Road” pictures. Matt is extremely intelligent and fast on his feet when it comes to answering questions (though we were sitting down for our conversation) and answers them insightfully, occasionally with humor. That being, we do not treat Matt or cover him differently than any other politician or elected representative that we cover.

As a refresher, here is our mission statement which is printed in every edition of Crestview News Bulletin:

Our Mission Statement: Our newspaper’s only license to publish is the freedom of the press clause in the Constitution. Crestview News Bulletin is pledged to an aggressive, responsible, and fair pursuit of the truth without fear of any special interest and with favor to none. It is our social responsibility to listen to the voiceless, avoid all acts of arrogance and to face the public politely and candidly.

And, also that being said, sometimes our elected officials are actually constrained to actually be voiceless. They may be in a place of power, but they can be rendered practically defenseless when accusations are hurled at them. If they fight back, they end up being in the mud with the pigs and many choose not to do that. If there is a lawsuit, they can’t say anything until it is over, which can be many years later.

In the meantime, people are walking around thinking that their elected representative is the person that others have portrayed them to be in the media, social media platforms and even billboards. Any one can be accused of anything. Case and point, the “Russia Collusion” accusations against President Donald Trump. He had to endure that for most of his presidency while everything he had ever done was under a microscope only to be vindicated in the end. “Journalists” even won Pulitzer’s writing about the “alleged” Russia Collusion.

When I was Googling Matt, I saw some awful political cartoons that were “caption this” and many were responding making reference to the so far unfounded accusations of his trips with underaged girls. When we posted a few months ago about Matt’s upcoming rally in our county, people were posting, “hide your daughters.” Matt says all of that comes with the territory, and it does but journalists have the responsibility to get to the truth. We don’t have the resources to write every story and do it well, but if the allegations were in our coverage area, we would be on it.

We are thankful that Matt is willing to take the time to talk to his constituents through our publications and have an open door for all our elected representatives to do the same.

There’s a truth about public service that is often unspoken and rarely understood – that the role of our elected officials is about much more than balancing budgets and ensuring the delivery of essential services.
J. B. Pritzker (1965- ) An American businessman, philanthropist, and Democrat politician serving as the 43rd governor of Illinois.

NOMC supplies

North Okaloosa Medical Center provides supplies for Ukraine

With less than 24-hours’ notice, North Okaloosa Medical Center was the first hospital in the Panhandle to be able to round up a conference room table full of medical supplies after a desperate call from the Ukrainian wife of a local surgeon, Olga, on behalf of her friends and family in Ukraine. 

She is from Kharkiv which is the second largest city in Ukraine and was once Ukraine’s capital. It has been heavily shelled since the beginning of the war due to its size and proximity to the Russian border. Reports from the war say that all Kharkiv is a front line.

“When we got the call, we wanted to respond,” said Mary Alice, who works at North Okaloosa hospital. She continued, “Our hearts are in healthcare, and we are all praying for the Ukrainian people.” Supplies gathered included: catheters, surgeon gowns, tubing, hand sanitizer, tongue depressors, needles, iodine, pediatric supplies, scalpels, syringes, gauze, gloves, and draping. The surgeon’s wife rented a 20-foot moving truck and was picking up the supplies at area hospitals and then driving it to Chicago or New Jersey to meet up with Meest-America which is an international parcel delivery service that is currently helping get supplies to Ukraine. “I have family in Kharkiv, my parents and brother. They have run out of basic supplies like ibuprofen, surgeons are operating in the metro stations, babies are being born in theaters, and I know they are out of blood,” Olga said.  

Out and About

I started Navarre Press in May 2000 without any prior institutional newspaper experience, which I can say with confidence has a lot of pluses. I can say that I now have 21 years of “in the trenches” experience.

I don’t have a lot of space here, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

When the websites are finished, you will find more information there. I started Navarre Press because I grew up reading newspapers and we didn’t have a good newspaper when I moved to Navarre with my husband on military orders. The best thing I’ve ever done was to hire people smarter than me, talk to people who have more experience than me, read a lot of books and learn fast from my mistakes, and learn from other people’s mistakes.

You will see our core values on this page and our philosophy regarding journalism. Currently, your team for the Crestview News Bulletin consists of the same amazing team of professionals that has been producing Navarre Press every week. And, what I mean by “producing” is that we put our heart and soul into each issue. We do not take what we do lightly. We are community journalists.

We are not space fillers that create excuses or vehicles for advertising. We are on a mission, more like a crusade. And that crusade is in our mission statement that can be found on each issue. We are here to serve the communities that we work with, and what we serve is the truth. As the saying goes, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” 

We do our best to find the truth before the untruth can put its shoes on. The truth causes different feelings depending on the circumstance, and people handle the truth in different ways. Sometimes it is accepted because, after all, it is just that – the truth, or fact. Some use the truth as an opportunity to get angry with everyone but the person that can change their truth and might possibly be themselves.

We will have opinions, but they will be based on truth, but our opinions will be kept on the editorial page and labeled as opinion. And, you know what they say about opinions – everyone has one. We are looking forward to hearing yours.

I’ll try to address a few questions you may have. We will be hiring, and we will have an office in Crestview. In the interim, we hope to hang out a little bit at the Crestview Chamber or at a coffee shop. This column will eventually be taken over by a future team member. We believe we must meet people where they are and many still like paper. We love paper and believe paper is where it is at.

However, everything we do in print is also digital. Today’s news is tomorrow’s history, and we are dedicated to recording history accurately. We love to see pages of newspapers decorating the walls of schools, businesses and homes. We are still working on the transition of the existing website name and social media accounts. We had about 30 days of notice that the sale would take place, though we knew of the possibility since late June 2021. We signed a nondisclosure agreement and could not discuss even the possibility. There are a lot of loose ends we are tying up and we find new ones every hour. I’m asking for your patience during the transition. We purposefully changed the masthead on 1A to show that we are under construction.

We are a work in progress…aren’t we all? Please know that we have a professional team that cares about you, and we are making it as convenient as possible for you to communicate with us. Current subscribers will have their subscription through the expiration date that we received from Gannett.

I’m sure you have a lot of questions, and I have more to say. We included information about us – and our history with Navarre Press – on our editorial pages only to show you this isn’t our first rodeo.

We will create a new history with you and your paper will not be a version of Navarre Press. You will have your own community newspaper because you deserve one. Please follow us in the weeks and years to come. It will be a fun ride and we will learn a lot from each other. I always end my columns with a quote – other people’s wisdom.

Quote of the Week: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)    

error: Content is protected !!