A rose is a rose by any other name and everyone deserves one from time to time, while brickbats seemingly hit all of us at some point or another in life. Here are some of each in recent local news.
A Rose for ... VIP Cinemas for cutting to the chase and opening its Panama City Mall location to moviegoers over the objections of mall management. In these post-Hurricane Michael weeks, any return to normalcy and consistency is welcome, and movies always have offered a temporary break from our daily worries. We’re glad the theater rode into the sunset with the law on its side for a happy ending.
A Brickbat for ... Mall management for choosing to handle the dispute with the cinema in a way that elevated it from what should have been a non-event to news that reached tens of thousands when they called in the police in a failed effort to prohibit the theater’s opening. As police noted, there was no legal standing for the mall to do that and it turned into a public relations disaster among people who rather would be cheering the mall on to recovery.
A Rose for ... The News Herald and its Bay Asked, We Answered series which received its 500th reader-submitted question after being launched only in the second half of the year. We don’t usually pat ourselves on the back in this space, but it’s really a pat (and a big thank you) to the hundreds of readers who have submitted their questions via our Bay Asked, We Answered link online, part of our concerted effort to see what it is you want to know, and then find out for you while involving you in the process. Of the first 500 questions — some of which were duplicates — 97 have been answered in print and online.
A Rose for ... Fowhand Furniture, a downtown fixture for some 70 years, for reopening its business despite severe damage from Hurricane Michael. While we rejoice the reopening of each and every business, we have a soft spot for the store and the iconic Mr. Ellis Fowhand who continued his daily work there well past his 100th birthday. The November before his 2016 passing, he drove to The News Herald to hand deliver a jar of honey and an invitation to the editor to join his family for Thanksgiving. Owner James Johnson has set a tone with the reopening that we hope others will follow, because it’s a sweet one.
Brickbats for ... the national media and its ability to wax poetic about truly good people it once spilled ink vilifying or emasculating and acting as if the latter never occurred. The adulation heaped upon President George H.W. Bush upon his passing Nov. 30 was mightily deserved, but a far cry from the coverage he received decades ago, including the infamous Newsweek cover headlined, “Fighting the ‘Wimp Factor.’ ” We can only imagine what might be written about President Trump decades from now.