Talking the Talk

Posted by on Mar 10th, 2011 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Some statistics state that the fear of public speaking is one of the greatest among the population surpassing fear of illness, fear of flying, fear of terrorism, and often the fear of death itself. Thankfully this is not something I have had to overcome because recently I was given the privilege to speak to several groups on subjects that are near and dear to my heart: this newspaper and Prom Plus.

Not surprising, I think that this paper is great – even with editorial errors that the diligent (or not so diligent) reader finds – and I embrace most every opportunity to tout it. Recently I was invited to speak to some local organizations about the CV Weekly including the Cruisers out of La Crescenta Presbyterian Church to tell the tale of how the Crescenta Valley Weekly came about.

The Cruisers is a fellowship group based at La Crescenta Pres that is tailored to folks in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Ken Thomas has been following the progress of the CVW since its inception and felt that I had something to say that would be of interest to the club members so invited me to talk about the paper.

From the moment I walked into Koopman Hall at LCPC, I felt a warmth and welcome-ness from the Cruisers. All of the attendees live up here in the Crescenta Valley and were aware of the changes made to their local newspapers over the years – most if not all having been closed – so they were very interested in learning how “one of their own” undertook launching a project of this magnitude. And of course I was eager to tell them.

Mary O’Keefe was at my side and since so many of the Cruisers are avid readers of the CVW, they were tickled to meet her. And Mary is so eloquent in explaining her involvement with the paper from the days of the Station Fire to the floods and just about every other aspect of reporting those things that we in the Crescenta Valley want to know.

On Tuesday night was a presentation of a different kind. Marian Radcliffe, who lives in the foothills, is a member of TUGNET – The Users Group Network – and she extended an invitation for CVW to come to a meeting and talk about the paper.

TUGNET was formed back in the ‘80s by people who belonged to various computer clubs. TUGNET, which then stood for Technical And User Groups Network, evolved over the years as technology evolved and the numbers in membership varied. As home computing became more and more popular, TUGNET wanted to be less intimidating to novice computer users and changed its name to The Users Group Network. As it states on its website, “TUGNET offers warm, helpful members in a computer society devoted to increasing members’ knowledge of programs and hardware, their ability to use their computers more efficiently, and help for the many problems all users encounter.”

When I was asked to speak to TUGNET – which has members from all over the San Fernando Valley as well as from the Crescenta Valley – I knew that a presentation that was centric to the foothills would not be that interesting, so I recruited Charly Shelton, our resident “guru tech” to accompany me. What a smart idea!

Charly was able to “talk tech” and this audience was receptive to everything he had to say. He outlined the quality of video that we post on the website, and brought along the hardware to show how compact the devices are, then explained the use of the QR codes. Without him I would have been sunk.

Finally, Prom Plus was invited to speak to parents of graduating seniors at CV High School on Tuesday night. Prom Plus is the after prom event held at the YMCA that is attended by about 400 kids. It’s a safe and fun alternative to unsupervised post prom events for our kids that we urge parents to support. Kyle Studebaker was able to talk about Prom Plus and the response was positive.

Thank you to all who gave us these opportunities.

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