I am now officially engaged in Small Town News. David Letterman used to occasionally feature articles picked up (or most likely sent in) from various locales – Pig Ran Away, Found with Neighbor’s Wife; Maggie Simpson won the baking contest; etcetera; etcetera.
We get the Napa Valley Register every morning – a Paper on paper, which is a throwback in itself. I still really like the tactile experience of reading newsprint – spreading it out on the table in the morning, awkwardly flipping the pages, folding it over like a guy on the subway, or scissoring out bits that I want to save — like recipes or current events. This is the true meaning of cut and paste.
We are a growing town here, so it seems the greatest interest from a story perspective is about change. Buildings, wineries, tourists, parking – very heady subjects indeed. Front page articles are, more often than not, about some new proposal for development or renovation. Out with the old, in with the new. Or in with the old, to hell with the new — as a bed and breakfast conversion or historic renovation. Or neither – just leave our beautiful oak-studded hills alone, free from the potential blight on new winery endeavors, expansions, and plush resorts defiling the once pristine landscape.
These prospects and proposals are examined in minute detail, with few paving or construction stones left unturned. Except, of course, paving the streets – which are, as recently reported, coming up from a rating score of 40 out of 100. Get out that macadam, fire up the steam roller and go for a fifty-five – Boo Yah! If only our roads could reach the Robert Parker scores of some of the wines, well, that would be a story.
Just so one isn’t at risk of missing any of these details, the stories are run multiple times. The prose and facts and shaken and stirred a bit, like one of the local artisan cocktails, then presented from different angles. But there is a big serving of déjà vu all over again with my morning Raisin Bran or eggs over easy. Often, these re-hashes run on consecutive days – perhaps in case you had to rush out to the Farmer’s Market some morning early, lest they run out of fresh Poblano peppers for bursting that evening.
Recently, one of the Big Stories was featured, top line-front page. It was about the old Main Post Office on Second Street, a once grand New Deal edifice, now hobbled by the 2014 earthquake and lying lonely and forlorn surrounded by chain link fence — waiting for the determination of its future like a death row inmate with an pending appeal languishing on the Governor’s desk.
The headline – at least an inch and a half high, but with, to me, the stylistically odd use of all lower case except the first word – read “New post office buyer appears”. With a subtitle of “Possible purchase of quake damage building underway”. Quivering and trepidation. The fate of this stately building – with memories of FDR, the Great Depression and past glories of the United States Postal Service infused in its brick façade – has been a concern ever since the USPO announced that it would be way, way cheaper to demolish than repair. About $7.5 million less, in fact. Given their budget and profitability of late, there has been a good chance the beloved building would more likely be headed for The Green Mile than the National Register of Historic Places. So now, well now — there is hope.
One thing about hope, it leans more heavily towards faith than fact. Apparently, at this early stage in the delicate negotiations, even though the buyer has appeared to some anointed individuals, say, in the manner of the Madonna gracing your cappuccino foam, this buyer is generally invisible to most. Particularly the skeptics and non-believers. ‘The potential buyer is “from the Napa area,” said Ruiz, who would not disclose the identity. Neither the price not the potential number of bidders was disclosed.’
Ah – now I’ve got it. Someone, or perhaps multiple someones – who really exist but we can’t tell you they are, might want to make a ‘possible purchase’ of the PO building. And he/she or they are willing to pay some amount for it, but we can’t tell you that either.
‘According to Ruiz, the new buyer has a 45-day due diligence period … to inspect the building before fully committing to the purchase. “If they accept, they put down a non-refundable deposit… The deposit amount is confidential, Ruiz added. A closing date is not set yet.”’
So, there may be a buyer – but we can’t tell you who. Or how much they might want to pay and what they have to come up with to lock it in. Or when it might sell. Got it.
Now that’s news!
And, oh yeah, what ever happened to that pig?
Aug 5, 2016
© 2016 by Greg Fuller