Fresh COLDNews Reporter Sees the Underlying Problem at LPD

Even though the City of Ludington Daily News (COLDNews) recently went from publishing six days down to five, it's getting harder to read.  With the difficulty in making a profit in the print medium, the newspaper has relied more on churnalism rather than maintaining a quality stable of reporters ready and able to spend their career in our modest city on the lake.  But Reuters and the Associated Press don't cover most local events, so they still need to recruit some new blood every now and then to replace those who decide to go onto bigger and better things.  Enter cub reporter Marco Iafrate who has, in just a few weeks at his craft in town, earned legendary status in the eyes of the Ludington Torch.

Seen above on assignment in Saudi Arabia, Iafrate has done some world traveling before settling here on the currently cold western shoreline of Michigan.  We're not sure he has done any major bylines for other newspapers or whether he has long-term plans in our city, but he was able in a very short time be able to see through the vapors that our local politicos put out and give us a better product for our eyeholes when we happen to read what is actually on the birdcage liner (for those out in the rural areas of the county, the woodstove fire-starter).  

Marco Iafrate got the plumb assignment of going to city hall and enduring the blather of a state senator and a state representative, city officials, PM Township officials and others.  Iafrate managed to keep his eyes open for the whole meeting, but his ears may have played some tricks on him as he heard the doublespeak and meaningless rhetoric often flying around at these confabs.  His article was accepted by the editors at the COLDNews, but city officials saw an infraction when they read the piece and took issue with it.  See whether you can figure out why (if you want to make it bigger on your computer, click on the article and it should expand):

If you found out what may have been the problem, great, you qualify as the COLDNews lead editor.  If you haven't figured it out, here's the part of the article that officials said was misreported:

Mental health among the county's police officers was another (topic).  Police Chief Christopher Jones discussed issues of finding placements for afflicted police officers.  Michigan does not have enough beds, and so Jones must task his own officers to transport burdened officers to Indianapolis, Indiana.

VanderWall said the state is not intending to put facilities for the officers in northern Michigan in the state, saying:  "We're putting people in North Dakota right now."

Apparently, Chief Jones never indicated that his officers were the ones having mental health issues and being shipped over to Indianapolis or North Dakota.  Instead, his officers were just transporting other individuals who had mental health issues to those places.  The COLDNews would put a corrected article and a bonus message from Chief Jones in Wednesday's paper to make people know that officers of his weren't being shipped out of state for their mental health issues.  Reporter Iafrate apparently had been mind-numbed by the chatter to read something more interesting into what was being muttered.

Be thankful that those officers who have urine thrown on them before assaulting a mentally burdened man then forcing him to walk outdoors without pants and swear falsely on a warrant application are allowed back into the schools as part of their mental health recovery.  Once they are moved out of the school, fully recovered certainly, they will unlawfully arrest a guy wearing a shark suit walking down the street, because that's what mentally correct officers do.

We could similarly go over the mental health regimens of other LPD officers who regularly offer creative but dysfunctional ways to go around police protocols and the rights of individuals, officers like Michael Gilmurray, Michael Fort, and Aaron Sailor, but for benefit of our mental health, we'll believe the original story and hope they are shipped across state lines. 

We appreciate the inference and writing skills of Marco Iafrate to see through the fog and write an article that brings the mental health of our local police officers to the forefront of the discussion.  Just writing about the fruits of their mental illness appears to not be enough.

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I had a hard time following this topic. As I understand it. The LDN stated that police agencies were having trouble finding transport to take police personnel to mental health facilities, all of which are out of state. What the police dept. is correcting is the fact that they were talking about the transportation of citizens, not police personnel. Is that correct? What I don't understand is why are police departments transporting mental patients unless they are speaking about patients who are criminals? Who got this story mixed up anyway? Did the police release the wrong information or did the reporter misinterpret the information? The public is the real loser when information is not accurately dispensed or relayed. At least Mason County can count on you and your efforts to reveal the truth and facts about what is really going on.

I can commiserate with Marco Iafrate, trying to understand a system which might not be run the most logical way a young idealist coming from journalism school might think is wise.  I am actually doing some follow-up investigation to see what's actually going on with these transports and seeing whether a sane policy is being followed.  Expect a future article if we find something interesting in that investigation.

This article was a light-hearted look at what I thought was an amusing miscue and I hope Marco doesn't take offense at it, because it looks as if it has made the chief more aware of the mental health of his own people, and that's more than what most seasoned writers of the COLDNews have ever done before.

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