Mike Tharp: Blessed with examples of sheer excellence

January 14, 2012 

We join hundreds of our McClatchy colleagues and many more Modestans in wishing Mark Vasché, editor and senior vice president of the Modesto Bee, best wishes in his forthcoming retirement. After 42 years at the Bee, Mark is stepping aside in March. All you need to know about Mark you can learn from his handshake: like a lumberjack's, with penetrating eyes locked on yours. He stands for all the right values: family, faith and a lifelong commitment to truth-telling for the benefit of his community. His will be a lasting legacy. Good luck with those all-nighters, my friend!

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Adam Cox just turned 24. Big deal, you say? Well, yes. So far in his life this young man has been vice president of the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District's board of trustees since 2007; a member and now president of the Merced City School District board of directors; media/communications coordinator of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce; organizer of Merced Union High School District's Measure M campaign; a project assistant at the Merced County Health Care Consortium; and now executive director of the Builders Exchange of Merced and Mariposa. "I have been interested in public service for a long time," the Merced College grad (who's finishing a B.S. through Arizona State) told the Sun-Star last month. "I'm interested in the future of Merced." With folks like Adam pushing and pulling, that future looks a lot brighter.

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Following the model of our sister paper in Modesto, two years ago we began inviting "guest members" to sit on our editorial board. When we advertised for this year we were bowled over by the number of high-caliber folks who applied. We're keeping the names and resumes from everybody, but the four Mercedians who will sit on our editorial board for one quarter each this year are Jessica Boerner-Grissom, a German-born journalist and social psychologist; Tim O'Neill, CEO of ImageMasters, who has served on all manner of boards and serv-ice organizations; Andy Krotik, a Realtor and manager of Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater, a former City Council member there and an advocate for corrections officers; and Jim Sanders, president/CEO of the Merced Community Action Network, a former Merced City Council member and a member of the Beatles Project band. They have a wealth of experience and expertise that will help "Our Views" become even better informed.

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In that vein, we welcome three new columnists to our thoroughbred stable of gifted writers. Carrying the UC Merced side of Gown & Town is Alma Fausto, editor of the student newspaper, The Prodigy; from the Merced College side comes Leonel Farias, an ag business major; and Brigitte Bowers, who brings a light touch and keen insight to Against the Grain.

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Joni Mitchell sang, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." Never more true than in the case of Connie Hodges, the newsroom admin assistant at the Sun-Star. She's been on the disabled list with a broken leg, and the extent of all she does for so many of us didn't become clear till we started having to do it ourselves. Luckily, Connie will be back fairly soon. Then our newsroom can return to its normal mood of manic panic, with Connie keeping all under control.

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And a closing quote from our favorite Marxist, Groucho: "Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it."

Executive Editor Mike Tharp can be reached at (209) 385-2456

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