PNT faces changes, community shares miracles

David Stevens: FNNM Editor

Cathy and Yak are out. Zits and KidNews are coming to a newspaper near you — this one.

We don’t have much of a choice in losing the comic strip Cathy or Yak’s kids’ page from the Portales News-Tribune.
Here’s how it happened:

The Clovis News Journal, PNT and Quay County Sun in Tucumcari subscribe to the same Sunday color comics package, along with dozens of other newspapers across the country. Changes to that package can only be made with a majority vote. This year, members voted to get rid of Cathy and add Zits, starting Christmas Day.

The CNJ and PNT have been publishing Yak’s Corner since we started our Saturday papers in August. That page is aimed at children age 6-11, but its distributor will discontinue it at year’s end. Actually, it didn’t arrive last Saturday either and that’s why we had to throw together a kids page from assorted content we found from other services.

We’ll replace Yak’s Corner with KidsNews, which has similar content, aimed at a slightly older crowd (8-13).
I doubt we’ll hear many complaints with either change.

Yak hasn’t been around long enough to have a huge following. And when the CNJ asked readers about adding comic strips to its daily lineup last year, Cathy was the readers’ 28th choice. Zits finished 14th in the readers’ poll (and now it’s in Clovis’ daily lineup).

But while I am happy that we’re adding Zits on Sunday, I voted to get rid of Doonesbury from the Sunday comics. The distributors acknowledged they heard from several Doonesbury critics, but said “that could be a problem for those in college towns.”

I think Doonesbury is sometimes funny, but it’s too political for the comics pages. Like Mallard Fillmore, the conservative duck published on our Clovis and Portales editorial pages, Doonesbury belongs on an opinion page.
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Do you believe in miracles?

Please consider this my annual call for miracles. I’ve been asking for miracle stories about a decade now, and I’m always amazed by what follows.

Somebody always gets mad, complaining that Jesus’ resurrection was the last true miracle and since we’re not writing about that, the newspaper project trivializes God’s power.

Somebody always claims the sunrise and a baby’s birth are miracles, and maybe they are.

Somebody always tells a story about prayer healing a disease and they consider it a miracle, and that sounds right to me.

And a bunch of people tell stories that seem hard to believe, which, of course, might qualify them as miracles.

I don’t pretend to know what constitutes a miracle. I prefer the storyteller make the distinction between coincidence and divine intervention.

One of my favorite miracle reports came from a 1996 incident near Claude, Texas. A woman was taking her three boys to wrestling practice when a pickup truck zipped past them on the highway, then hit a ditch, went out of control and landed on a railroad track.

The woman stopped and found the pickup driver unconscious and the vehicle disabled … and a train bearing down on them.

She began to tug at the man in hopes of dragging him from the pickup, but his hands were “death locked onto the steering wheel,” she said, and she couldn’t move him.

Just moments before the train slammed into the pickup, another man appeared and helped the woman drag the unconscious driver to safety.

Tammy Craig said the next few minutes were a mass of confusion, but when she looked around for her fellow lifesaver, she said he was gone.

“I even asked the boys if they saw him get into a vehicle,” Craig said, “but there wasn’t a vehicle for him to get into. The boys said they saw him, but they never saw where he went. They say he was an angel.”

If you’ve experienced any miracles — or whatever you want to call them — like that, we’d love to hear about it.