By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

When writing my personal column, there are some days I find it a little harder to be, well, “personal.”

I find it funny. I write seven days a week about every subject imaginable, but when it comes to what’s going on with me, I have to really think about what I’d like to say. So much of my free time is taken up with the Gazette, so for the sake of continued transparency, why not talk about some of the “behind the scenes” of the past week?

As you may have noticed, I opened up last week with two Cheer-related articles, the result of connecting with Netflix to open up new and future media opportunities for the site. While Season two released this past Wednesday, I binge watched the series the prior weekend to make sure I had my review ready for Part Two’s premiere.

I also got to catch up with Monica for Tuesday’s interview. I commented (jokingly) I felt like I had hung out with her the entire weekend as a result of that nine-episode marathon. I had to be selective about some elements of the conversation to prevent spoiler issues, but I think by now, locals have already navigated the show’s newest narrative twists and turns.

That’s been part of what I’ve worked on. I’m also reaching out to different people to open up wider conversations. I’ve always maintained that even if I do write the majority of content, I never want to be the singular voice represented here. So I’m checking out new outlets and means to expand subject matter. The problem with “a million ideas?” It takes time to realize all of them, but there are a few steps already in motion.

One of those things could be finalized as early as this week, which is just as well because I have friends in my personal circles waiting for me to finally make an announcement. I have to wait until final signatures are made, but it’s going to allow me new ways to help do “more” for the community. I am, as some of my younger peers would say, “hyped.”

And of course, this week has been a lot of documenting and reporting school closures around the county due to the rise of reported COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Individual schools closed as early as Thursday and are reopening as late as Wednesday. With the current numbers setting new record highs, there’s no guarantee this will be the only instance, though it’s highly unlikely another “shelter in place” order will be issued on a state or national level.

It has been a surreal experience documenting this subject for the last two years: It gets better, it gets worse. New variants arrive as a virus mutates (as all viruses do). Some are worse, some aren’t as bad, though it’s advisable to avoid all of it if one can. It’s an exhausting subject regardless of one’s belief system, and viruses have no personal stakes. They just simply “do,” which is to grow and spread.

Unfortunately, this discussion isn’t over, and as a news site, I’ll continue to post the provided numbers in an effort to guide the discussion in a responsible and factual manner. For me, the topic is hitting closer than ever to home. I’ve had a concerning number of family and friends affected in the last week, and I’ve also had to check to see if I’m continuing to dodge this new spread (I’m good). Candidly, I’m uninterested in getting sick. I don’t have the time to sit still.

Besides, I have winter weather to keep an eye on for these next few weeks. It never hurts to be proactive. The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting Texas will see some snow by end of month. Just yesterday, Denton and Plano were reporting flurries.

So that’s what I’ve been working on this past week. I’d provide a photo tour of the office, but I haven’t put all of my Christmas decorations away, and you don’t need to see all that.

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