Flying Turns comes to life - right at deadline

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From what we know, Knoebels Amusement Resort wasn't prepared to publicly announce the opening of its Flying Turns through typical means, such as a post on its own website or a press release to local media.

But in this day of social media, Knoebels couldn't prevent word from spreading when coaster enthusiasts caught wind last Friday night that the ride was ready.

The All American Thrills website and the Facebook pages of Theme Park Review and the Great Ohio Coaster Club began posting photographs and blog notes talking about the ride opening that evening.

We were watching closely, too, aware that things were developing quickly with the ride after seven years of trying to get it up and running. We had just quizzed Knoebels officials two days prior, in fact.

The News-Item was able to publish a story in Saturday's edition, updated well into Friday evening through the enthusiasts' web posts. Still, we attributed our information to those posts and had nothing official at that point.

For Sunday's edition, we had seen the ride in operation for ourselves, and the news rose to the top of Page 1. "Finally," we proclaimed, the Flying Turns was open.

In conjunction with his first-person account, staff writer Justin Strawser uploaded video from his maiden voyage on the toboggan-like ride. It was fun stuff.

Granted, Saturday was a slow news day, allowing the opening of an amusement park ride to get top billing on Sunday. Still, anything involving Knoebels is important to our readership. And, almost always, it's good news.

Election interviews

We are under way with interviews of local candidates for the Nov. 5 election. Stories will be published in the coming weeks involving sit-downs with Northumbreland County coroner candidates James F. Kelley and Leo J. Mirolli Jr., prothonotary candidates Meg Bartos and Justin Dunkelberger and controller candidates Chris Grayson and Tony Phillips, as well as Shamokin mayoral candidates Dan McGaw and Bill Milbrand.

We look forward to presenting the candidates' positions. A number of interesting issues have already been raised, and the recent decision to cut county salaries has certainly added to the discussion for the county races.

Odd duck connection

For those who read the Bible Thought published on Page 2 each day, you might notice that it comes from Highland Baptist Church in West Monroe, La. If that town sounds familiar, perhaps you're a "Duck Dynasty" fan. Yes, the crazy Robertson family calls West Monroe home.

I had occasion this week to make contact with the folks at Highland Baptist about Bible Thought and asked whether life had changed since the A&E reality series has become one of TV's most popular shows. Indeed it has, I was told, with lots of businesses popping up in and around Duck Commander headquarters.

Also of note, "Duck Dynasty" character Mountain Man is a member at Highland Baptist.

God bless.

Close to home

Wednesday night's fire that destroyed two houses in Coal Township struck closer to home than usual for staff at The News-Item. The one victim was Robert Wheary, father of staff writer Rob Wheary. Our Rob appreciates all the offers of help and the well-wishes.

It served as a reminder for us that the victims of fires and other devastating events are more than simply names in the paper.

(Andy Heintzelman, editor of The News-Item, writes "The Week In News" for each Saturday edition.)

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