Down East 2013 ©
Snoozing at the copy desk: I’m sometimes a little fuzzy on Sunday morning, so I read this sentence in the July 10 Maine Sunday Telegram a couple of times before deciding its incomprehensibility had nothing to do with the aftereffects of late-night carousing.
“’It’s an intevaction on bond proposals until next year.”
No close quote at the end. No clear indication who said it. And no entry in the dictionary for “intevaction.”
The article by staff writer Susan Cover on the state’s decision not to issue any bonds for highway improvements this year appears to have been the victim of editorial incompetence, since the weird quote doesn’t appear in the online version .
In the Telegram’s sister papers, the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, the sentence looks like this :
“It's an interesting juxtaposition between what was going on in the prior administration.”
It’s attributed to John Melrose, a former state transportation commissioner, whose first name is absent from the Telegram print story, although his last name turns up later in the piece without any further identification.
Am I being too picky?
But if so, I blame my pickiness on what seems to be an epidemic of copy-desk sloppiness that’s afflicted Maine dailies this summer.
From the a piece  by staff writer Kevin Miller in the July 11 Bangor Daily News:
“Since 1987, the Land for Maine's Future program, or LMF, has helped protect more than 530,000 acres in Maine through sales to willing sellers or conservation easements that restrict development yet keep the property in private hands.”
I’m pretty sure Miller meant sales from willing sellers. Somebody in an editorial capacity should have caught that.
I admit it: wicked picky.
But still …
What’s passing for an editor these days is often someone with no institutional memory. When Morning Sentinel staff writer Scott Monroe claimed in a July 10 story  that Richard Silkman is “ a former state planning official under Gov. Angus King,” somebody in authority should have remembered that Silkman actually served as planning director  under King’s predecessor, Gov. John McKernan.
Pick. Pick. Pick.
One more. The July 11 Sentinel piece  on the Maine Huts and Trails system by staff writer David Robinson is competent enough, but the captions on the two accompanying photos both contain errors that probably weren’t the fault of either Robinson or photographer Michael G. Seamans.
In the first picture, two women are shown relaxing in the hut on Flagstaff Lake, which is said to be in Carrabassett Valley.
Neither the lake nor the hut is in Carrabassett.
In the second photo (not online), one of the caretakers of the hut is identified as “Chris Niles.” There’s no such person mentioned in the story, although there is a hutmaster whose name is “Chris Nilon.” Wonder if it’s the same guy.
I admit to excessive pickiness.
I also admit I’m worried about how editors who can’t get the little stuff right are handling bigger issues.
Curve ball: As if further evidence were needed that the MaineToday Media newspapers wasted their limited resources by sending sports writer Jenn Menendez all the way to California to cover Detroit Tigers pitcher Charlie Furbush of South Portland in his debut as a Major League starter , it turns out Furbush’s stay in the Show was shorter than expected.
He was sent down to the minors Saturday night, apparently after it was too late to change the print version of Menendez’s story, although her online piece  was updated.
That fact plus Furbush’s poor showing in the July 4 game weren’t enough to temper Menendez’s gushing:
“Like every good baseball tale,” she wrote, “the hero’s ascent flickers with that tiny gem of magic that coaxes a smile, and heralds unbridled optimism.”
Does it take traveling to Anaheim to make somebody overwrite that badly?
More importantly, does it justify the expense of a cross-country trip to churn out copy that’s indistinguishable from what somebody in Portland with a television, a computer, and a phone could have produced?
Airwave addition: WRMO (93.7 FM) in Milbridge has been silent since October 2010. Under Federal Communications Commission rules, the owner has until this October to get back on the air or forfeit the license. Tom Taylor’s newsletter  is reporting there are now signs the station will return to broadcasting, after it was sold to a Maryland man.
WRMO was owned by Lyle Evans, who died in 2006. His estate has now reached agreement to sell it to Charles Begin for $35,000, Begin has set up a company called Pine Tree Broadcasting and will apparently need a new tower and studio before the October deadline, according to a posting on the Radio-Info.com Northern New England board .
The long delay in restoring WRMO to the airwaves seems to have been a result of the seller initially asking too high a price for a station with limited power in economically depressed Washington County.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com .