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Public forums and fundraisers

January 30, 2012 - Rob Weaver
One of the dilemmas resulting from digital media, at least for newspapers, concerns coverage area.

This situation typically involves submissions for the letters forum on the daily Opinion page. In the days before email, the policy was fairly simple: Residents -- even those who don’t subscribe to or even read the newspaper -- could submit letters to the editor for publication in the forum. Occasionally, we received letters from former residents who had moved away (usually to warmer climes) but still had their subscription mailed to them.

With the advent of the world wide web, that changed. Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can send a mass emailing of anything they want. Some people use this ability to blanket every newspaper in the country with their views.

Sorry, but the letters forum isn’t for them.

But now, digital communication technology has come into play another way. A Tiffin resident, Joe Ferstler, has submitted a letter concerning a fundraiser for a family struggling with health issues and medical costs. Our regular readers might be thinking this is nothing unusual; The A-T often lets readers know about such families and how they can help.

But in this instance, the family isn’t local. And the fundraiser isn’t, either; it’s an online benefit concert.

The musician, Landon Parker, did perform at the Smokin Country Concert last summer.

The benefit is planned for 6:30 p.m. and 7:20 p.m. Eastern time Saturday on

“The concert is pay what you can, so you can pay as little as 10 cents, or as much as your heart desires,” Ferstler writes. “Please help with what you can. For more info, you can log onto Facebook and search ‘Landon Parker.’ ”

This is from “This is one of two shows dedicated to raising funds for the Fortner-Watrous family. The mother, Shayla Fortner-Watrous, has been under going chemo. Through a strange twist of fate, even while on chemo and birth control, Shayla got pregnant. The chemo drugs in her system subsequently caused West Syndrome in her baby, Odin. “The medication to help with this disease are no longer in mass production so insurance does not cover them. Each vial of this medication costs the family $4,500 per vial. The treatment lasts 14 weeks. Needless to say that's more than most people have just laying around. That's why we need your help to raise funds for Shayla, Odin and the rest of the Fortner-Watrous family.”

So, if you saw Parker at the concert outside Bloomville, or are a fan of his music, or just want to help the Fortner-Watrous family, log on to the benefit. That family is the one facing a real dilemma.


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