Interesting folks fill our community

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Anyone new to town should work for the newspaper for a week.

It’s the best way to capture the feel of a community — good and bad — and meet some of the characters that make our community wonderful.

Just in a week’s time our staff has been introduced to some amazing people that a regular Joe might otherwise never have gotten to know.

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Mrs. Doris Jones has an amazing story to tell, and luckily the cheap darts with blue tails in our office have a way of finding folks like Jones.

Every week a reporter throws one of the darts at a Swiss-cheese-like map of the Miss-Lou hanging on a bulletin board in our office.

I figure we’ve used the same map for at least 3-4 years, so it’s certainly seen better days.

The reporter grabs a photographer and they go wherever the dart lands.

Last week it landed on Fatherland Road, where Jones lives.

Reporters are allowed to wander up and down the street and even visit one street over in any direction, searching for an inhabited house or something that looks interesting.

It was an Army sign in Jones’ front yard that caught our staff’s eyes last week.

But when they knocked on the door, the story they found wasn’t about the Army at all.

Jones is a survivor, for sure.

She has battled stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hurricane Katrina, winning both times.

But it was Jones’ positive attitude, smiling face and great take on life that made her worth getting to know.

“We never know how many years we have on this earth, but if you have kids, it’s a new perspective, and you want to live to see (your grandchildren),” Jones said.

She fought her battles with the help of that family and her husband Bobby.

If you missed the full story in Monday’s edition you can find it online or come by the office for a copy of the newspaper.

In the same edition another weekly feature, in the newspaper — From the Field — tells the story of a man who is interesting for an entirely different reason.

Casey Novak is now an award-winning crop duster pilot who is living his dream.

Stories on crop dusters are rare, since, as Novak acknowledged, they usually fly under the radar.

“It is not very often that we get recognition,” he said. “We provide a service to the farming community that is invaluable, and most people go through their daily lives never knowing the process of how their food got on their plate.”

But the Applicators Conserving the Environment Award helped us find Novak and share his story with you.

That story includes many long days flying over area fields and a love for the business that helps keep our stomachs filled.

The list of great folks our newspaper reporters have been blessed to meet could go on all day long.

Jones and Novak are a small sampling of the great stories in the Miss-Lou.

So if you’re new to town, or even if you’re old, and you want to get to know the Miss-Lou, try reporting for the newspaper.

Or, at the least, reading it.

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or