You might have read the Nov. 27 story in the Mirror on the budding friendship of the mother of a local suicide victim who had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and the wife of accused murderer Nicholas Horner.
Laurie Claar of Hollidaysburg, whose son Matthew took his own life in September 2008 after a four-year stint in the Marines, reached out to Windy Horner, whose husband has been charged with the murder of two local people.
Nicholas Horner has been diagnosed with PTSD.
Associated Press writer Joe Mandak came to Altoona and interviewed the women, and the story moved on the national wire as a Thanksgiving Day package.
Included were nearly a dozen pictures of Laurie Claar and Windy Horner, some taken in Claar's kitchen. Claar invited Windy Horner and her family to Thanksgiving dinner.
The story was originally about 50 inches (which would fill nearly half a newspaper page), and with a photo display, it easily could have taken a whole page.
We cut the story to about 18 inches and used one of the pictures. And we waited until the day after Thanksgiving to publish it for a simple reason: sensitivity.
We weren't going to run a huge story on Horner that barely mentioned the victims, Scott Garlick, 19, and Raymond E. Williams, 64, on the first Thanksgiving their families were spending without them.
Both men were fatally shot, allegedly by Horner, following an April 6 robbery at a Subway restaurant on 58th Street.
While we are not in the business of holding news, there is a difference between hard news and feature news. Hard news is breaking. Feature news brings an option of timing, which in this case we exercised.
When Horner sent us a letter earlier this year admitting his guilt to the murders - writing, "I feel so guilty," - we felt it was important to run it even if, regretfully, it meant publishing it on the same week that Garlick would have graduated from high school.
The Thanksgiving week story also illustrates the difference between a local newspaper and The Associated Press, which can write a story and never have to answer to a community full of grieving people.
No laughing matter
On Oct. 30, we ran a story of three Cambria County women, all in their early 20s, who were arrested for selling painkillers.
The seriousness of the topic, though, did not match the mug shots because each was smiling.
Typically, media outlets get the usual stoic, prison shots of people dressed in orange. It turns out the pictures were lifted by the authorities from their women's driver's licenses and distributed to the media.
We welcome the addition of Erin Kelly's column, "the view from here," on the challenges and perspective - often with a sense of humor - of coping with a disability.
Erin is an Altoona Area High School graduate and a senior at Penn State Altoona.
Her column will appear monthly in the Life section.
Magisterial District Judge Joseph Moran, who died Nov. 25 at the age of 66, was a great man who no doubt made his large Altoona family proud.
Our condolences on his passing.
Mirror Managing Editor Neil Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.