Lunch, bigger papers, pets

Thoughts while clearing off my desk this week:
RiverFest has come and gone and this year we had good crowds, great weather and lots of activities.

The new wrinkle was the RiverFest Kickoff Community Lunch Friday in the meeting hall of the First United Methodist Church. It was an idea developed by the RiverFest Literary Committee to try to bring the community together for a lunch, while enhancing the literary aspects of our annual festival.
There’s an old adage that says “You’ve got to go with what you’ve got.” Fortunately, we’ve got William Faulkner and capitalizing on being his birthplace is a way of promoting our festival as being a little different than some others.
So members of the committee (including me) concluded we should put more focus on the William Faulkner Literary Competition. The competition, which has been a part of RiverFest from the beginning, provides prizes for best short story, best one-act play and best short story by a student.
We want to continue to build up the competition to a regional and national level. With more entries coming from more places, word also will spread about our festival and our community.
Entries were submitted from a wide range of places. We had winners from such places as a small town in Oregon to New York City.
Putting on a community lunch, right at the opening of RiverFest, also brings the literary aspects of the festival to the fore. But making it happen takes a lot of support from a lot of groups and volunteers. Community partners included Tallahatchie Gourmet, First United Methodist Church, Union County Heritage Museum, Friends of the Library, Union County Development Association and the Gazette. Lots of other people helped sponsor the program speaker.
Stepping forward to sponsor tables were the New Albany Rotary Club, Anne Stephens, BNA Bank, UCDA, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County, New Albany Schools, the Union County Heritage Museum, Friends of the Library, and the Gazette.
The RiverFest Literary Committee is looking forward to an even more competitive literary awards contest and a bigger kickoff luncheon next year. We hope you are, too.
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Something else that’s getting bigger is your Gazette. Perhaps you’ve already noticed that the past two Fridays the Gazette has been expanded into two sections. The Wednesday paper traditionally has been two sections and the Friday issue has been one section.
We’ve expanded Friday to provide more space for color photographs and ads, as well as to improve our packaging and handling of advertising flyers. As the Gazette continues to grow, you can expect a two-section paper on Fridays during most weeks.
All of us at the Gazette appreciate your support, with your readership and with your advertising, of your hometown paper
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On a personal note, I appreciate the kind words, e-mails and notes about the death of my long-time best friend—and dog—Huey. It’s a reminder to Jenny and me of how nice it is to live in New Albany, where people care about their neighbors, and even their neighbors’ pets.

T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at