Alright, I think I can finally declare that it’s spring! I’ve held off for a while, knowing that a light two-inch dusting of snow would dump on me if I even started getting my warm weather clothing out of storage, but I’m feeling good about it now. I’ve been driving around with my car windows down most of the week. And I’ve been happy driving around Van Wert’s north side, seeing work at the old Sonic as crews are busy turning that into Subway. (The restaurant, not a new way to get around Van Wert.) Nearby the future Arby’s is taking shape. The smell of sawdust is in the air, and outside of the city limits, tractors are pulling discs and planting is underway. It’s a good time of year.

Spring also means spring cleaning, so I thought I’d clean out my inbox and answer a few questions that have been piling up on my desk lately. First, several people have wanted to know what happened to the TV Times section of the Times Bulletin. Although most folks have been polite with their question, several others have been very rude in their question, immediately assuming we took it away so they’ll never know when Wheel of Fortune is on the tube. Of course, that’s not the reason it’s no longer a part of the paper.

The simple fact is that not enough advertisers bought space in that section, so we were losing money by printing it each week. Since we are a business, losing money because we are telling people when Wheel of Fortune is on is not a solid business strategy. And because there are a few Times Bulletin employees who insist on getting a paycheck in exchange for our hours of work each week, we have to monitor those things which lose money and quit throwing away the money which could be used by the employees for food, insurance, car payments, etc. This newspaper prints a lot of things, but money is not one of them. So there’s your answer: if it loses money for us, we can’t afford to keep it around.

Here’s another letter wanting to know what on God’s green earth a “sudoku” is. Apparently this person saw an odd-looking word on the comics page and wanted to know what it means. Well, the word is actually Japanese for “single digit” and a sudoku is a number puzzle where the player tries to fill a nine-by-nine grid so that each row, each column, and each smaller three-by-three grid within the puzzle use all the digits from 1-9. That’s it. For some people the sudokus aren’t that hard, just little warmup exercises. Others of us start the puzzle and end up jabbing our eyes with pencils after a few minutes because I’ve already used a 9 in that column! At any rate, readers have been asking for sudoku puzzles for a while now, and since our reader surveys showed that few people seemed to be addicted to the old cryptoquote puzzles, we made the switch when we redesigned the comics page. Best of luck puzzlers!

And here’s one I received a while back… why doesn’t the newspaper print admissions and discharges from the local hospital like they used to? (many years ago.) The short answer here is privacy. The government has regulations in place so that you must given written permission for a health care facility to let anyone know that you are, or was a patient being treated there. Since so few people want to see in the newspaper that they were just discharged from the hospital after a gall bladder attack, there just simply is none of that news to print. Quite frankly, it’s more gossip than news after a while. If there is a lesson here for us, it’s to keep closer track of your friends. That way you will know when Madge’s gall bladder starts acting up.

As the editor of the Times Bulletin, I try to make sure we are providing a service you cannot get anywhere else. High school sports stories and pictures, stories involving city council, county government, police, and other entities that get your tax money are things you usually won’t see on television. That’s why we are here. And I do welcome suggestions, but oftentimes, the suggestions and/or complaints cannot be taken care of to please everybody. Luckily though, it’s spring. Go ahead and get one item at your place cleaned up this weekend. Save the naps for Monday. Mondays are made to sleep through anyway!