Orchard City coverage is misleading
By Thomas Huerkamp
Published Thursday, July 27, 2017 10:23 am
It is regrettable that your publication basically avoids editorial comment, pro or con, on local issues. Yet you have no problem letting your reporter, Hank Lohmeyer, use his personal agenda in crafting what happened in many meetings over the years and misleading the reader about what really happened.
Such is the flagrant case in his reporting on the Orchard City trustee meeting of July 12. In your last edition on the front of the Surface Creek section are two stories with headlines using the word "pot." That word has not been used by any elected official of the town. A committee the mayor appointed was to study the cannabis revenue stream as it might apply to the town if it were to permit the various legal licenses available for marijuana. The use of street slang "pot" to describe what the study and recommendations of the committee were appears to be a deliberate attempt to incite fear and anger among the readers who might be opposed to what is totally legal in Colorado.
Then Mr. Lohmeyer turned coverage of constituent time comments totally upside down. Five, not three, citizens spoke in favor of the committee's recommendations. The first three to speak were in favor of continuing to look into legal licensing of various components of the marijuana industry. Two of those admitted to using medical marijuana to deal with serious health issues. All of these people were polite, respectful and brief in their comments. Mr. Lohmeyer chose not to use any of their comments in crafting a story that is a far, far cry from what really went on.
However, he did not hesitate to use quotes from opponents who numbered six. Here is where the story really departs from reality. First up was Mrs. Bush, in what sounded like angry tones, screamed at the trustees, was insulting and even threatened the trustees and mayor. Mike Gage was liberally quoted, but your reporter conveniently ignored his opening, "about this marijuana thing just because Tom Huerkamp wants to strut around town smoking his joint." At this point I interrupted Mr. Gage and strongly told him I have never smoked marijuana and never would and ask that he apologize for the unwarranted personal attack on me. He then continued to incoherently ramble on until our patient mayor had to advise him he had significantly exceeded his allotted time and was asked to take a seat.
I could ramble on with the reality of the meeting versus the reported version; however, I think the above should give you cause to rein in your reporter and his "editorializing" when reporting on his version of what happened. He has consistently done so over the past year in covering Orchard City.
If you as publisher and editor of our only community newspaper disagree with what is happening in Orchard City then have the courage to write and label an editorial opinion piece and spell out specifically what you are in disagreement with.
As usual I am speaking only for me not trustees or the mayor.
Trustee, Town of