Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Story not finished for longtime columnist

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Story not finished for longtime columnist
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More than thirty years ago, newspaper columnist Dick Case was given his assignment: find the stories that wouldn't normally make it into print, and tell them. That's just what he's done as a writer for The Post-Standard. Case was one of the employees laid off last week as a result of that paper's restructuring. Our Sarah Blazonis sat down with Case as he reflected on the stories he's told...and how it all began with a good samaritan named Trudy.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "Honestly, to this day I can't tell you Trudy's last name," said Dick Case.

But he does remember her story. It's the first he told as a columnist for The Herald-Journal. That was in October of 1979.

"She had been involved in a situation where she was a good samaritan to stop a crime and she ended up being harassed a little bit by the police," he explained.

Case's journey into the newspaper business began long before Trudy's story. He worked as a delivery boy for The Post as a child, but the reporting bug didn't bite until high school.

"We produced a local news page for the local paper in the village, and I ended up writing a column," said Case of the high school reporters' club started by his English teacher.

He worked as a copy kid in college, and got his first reporting job in 1959, which turned into his column 20 years later.

"That kind of thing is what I wrote about over all the years -- somebody who had a little beef with some kind of public agency or another," said Case.

But in September, Case and more than 100 of his colleagues learned about the paper's restructuring and what it meant for them.

"I felt sad about my own job, although frankly it was probably time for me to retire anyway. I probably could've retired ten years ago, but I didn't because I liked the job," he said.

So Thursday's column was a different kind. It was one of thanks to readers and to those who let him share their stories. It was a final story, but not the end of his. Just time to turn the page.

Case says he plans to volunteer with the Onondaga Historical Association and possibly put another collection of columns into book form. But he says he'll always be thankful to those he's met along the way.

"An awful lot of people, an awful lot of stories," said Case. "Everybody has a story to tell. Sometimes it's obvious, and sometimes you have to pry it out of them, but I think everybody does."

Beginning this week, the Post Standard will only be available for delivery in print Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

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