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August 5, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper

Dear Editor,

Recently you published a letter to the editor regarding the picture of Cindy Youel representing the Traer Community Foundation presenting a check to Terry Timmons representing the Traer fire Department. I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight.

The picture of the check presentation was taken and the photographer showed me the shot on the LCD screen of the digital camera. The morning of July 7 I was shown a copy of the photograph printed to the size that would run in the newspaper. The shirt had a distinctive Alliant logo that was in contrast to the bright orange shirt that I had not noticed on the smaller LCD image. I felt that with the events of the past dealing with the gas franchise that the Traer Fire Department should remain neutral.

I call the photographer and was told that the photo had already been emailed to the Clipper office. At 10:00 a.m. on July 7 I went to the Star-Clipper office where the staff was outside on break. This was done by me alone and I was not asked, ordered or demanded to take any action. I asked if we could submit an alternate photograph and was informed that it was not possible that the one provided was on the front page that was going to press. When the staff asked why I did not want to run the photograph provided I told them that I felt the Alliant logo could be misinterpreted and upset people. Amy Jantzen then said that if that was the case that she could eliminate the logo. I then gave my consent for her to do this.

The only member of the Traer Fire Department to deal with this issue was me. My feeling is that members of the department acting in official capacity should only represent the fire department. In my future dealings with members of the media, I will attempt to only have Traer Fire Department logos visible when someone is acting on behalf of the Traer Fire Department.


Mike Skopec

Firefighter/Instructor #25

508 Toledo St.

Traer, IA 50675



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