30 Years Service Ends In Tragedy


  by Bill Stephens, Metro News Photojournalist | Updated Sunday, 14 January 2018 at 4:30 AM CT

     Today I was assaulted. Just 3 months short of turning thirty I was struck and killed. Attacked by what I have faced many times before, a snow plow.
     So on December 29, 2018 at 17:23:51 following the warning of flashing yellow lights and what sounded like a freight train traveling rapidly down the street.
     I was struck! Not by the plow itself, but by the side of the dump bed that holds the salt. You see, the driver was “curbing” the snow and had his tires up against the curb not taking into account that the dump bed extends at least six inches over the tires.
     When that plow blade passed me I took a deep breath, as I thought I had survived this pass only to be wiped out by the side of the truck.
     The impact was like being hit with a George Foreman right hook or having my neck twisted and snapped by a Navy Seal neutralizing the enemy.
     My owner ran out to see if I could be saved, but no luck. My feet were twisted off at ground level and my face was torn off and thrown 50 feet. Yes, there had been a mail delivery and the mail was scattered over the ground being quickly covered by the falling snow.

     The plow and driver returned to the scene of the crime and assured my owner that I would be repaired as soon as possible.
     Three days later, I was taken to a warm warehouse to “rest” for the winter until the cold ground thawed and I could be properly repaired.       
     Meanwhile, they called in a “temp” to stand in my place. I’ll call him ACE, at least that is what it says on the bucket his feet are in. He must be a cousin on uncle Vinnie’s side from Jersey if his feet are already in concrete.
     And I can only imagine where he will go after this assignment. Maybe some long term under water work?

Editorial Update:
We are happy to report that the mailbox of 30 years is now back in service with a new post courtesy of the City of McHenry, Illinois Department of Streets & Sanitation.

Video Footage Courtesy: © 2018 Bill Stephens/Metro News Photojournalist& Mailbox Owner

Editorial Correction: Originally, the date we ran in the "Byline" (under the title), the date in the second paragraph and the date in the "Cutline" (text under the video) was incorrect stating the year being 2017. This true-life story actually occurred in 2018 (this year).

Believe: Helping Noah Webster Define A Huge Emotional Word

by Bill Stephens, Metropolitan Sentinel Columnist

Updated Fri., 29 Dec. 2017 at 5AM (Morning Edition)

This has always been the season to have hope and to believe. Webster defines to believe is to accept something as true.

I would like to think that this time of year has brought out the kid in all of us; with the hope and belief that anything is possible. Anyone can be Santa Claus to us - our friends, family members, neighbors or even simply a stranger passing us on the street.

As the year comes to a close, we imagine new dreams and wishes for the New Year. As we say goodbye to 2017, we reflect upon the events that have shaped the year and remember those who we have lost.

I believe when the clock strikes midnight - as you embrace that special man or woman placing that last kiss of the old year and first kiss of the new year - as 2017 closes and 2018 begins, hope is born for the next 365 days.

I believe that a better world is possible and will be just around the corner if only the people that we placed in power believe and have the guts to really do what is right for the good of us all.

I believe in faith and charity. Each of us should practice this every day. Have faith in your creator as well as yourself. If we do not believe in ourselves first, we can’t ever have faith and trust in anyone else.

While charity begins within – it should be shared. GIVE, Give till it hurts. You will feel better for it. Oh and giving doesn’t have to be money. It can be of yourself, your time and talent which is every bit as valuable and can be just as gratifying. Help one person each day. Then hopefully, they in turn will help someone. Soon, everyone will have enough to believe.

I believe in laughter. The ability to laugh is good for the soul. It can lift your spirit – especially if you have had a bad day. Watch a funny movie, listen to a comedian or talk to that funny friend or relative that always has a good joke to tell.

I believe in love. Yes, you are hearing that from someone that has been single and unattached for more than ten years. Belief is where there is always a chance that just around the corner you will come across that special someone that will make the coming year soooo much better.

Watch a sappy movie, love story or just turn to the Hallmark Channel. There is no shortage of happy endings on that network. Sit in front of the fireplace, feel the warmth and watch the flames dance. As you hear the crackling sound, it's almost as if the fire speaks to you.

So, enjoy yourself as the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops in New York City, the confetti flies and the hundreds of thousands spectators pack into Times Square yelling at the top of their lungs.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Bring on the Hope and just BELIEVE! Do this every day and we will all be better for it.

What do you believe in? I’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail me at the link below.

by Bill Stephens, Columnist
Metro News Wire Service

Updated Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. CT

So Thanksgiving is over and  the Christmas   season  has  officially  begun.  While it seems  that   Christmas   has  been  pushed  up   as  early  as   Halloween,  well   it  has.
Thanksgiving? If you    looked around, it was gone in a blink. And instead of  centering on  the true  meaning, the focus has become totally concentrated on shopping; black Friday, this and that. And as I age, I  have become more disappointed in the season.

We have forgotten what the  season truly represents. First and foremost, it is the celebration of a very special birthday – that of  Jesus, who was born in a manger to  a couple so poor they  could not afford a room at the Inn. 

Mary and Joseph shared the  joy of the arrival of their  child  with  the  animals, the stars in the sky and one very special star.

      Mary  and  Joseph  shared    the    joy    of     the arrival  of  their  child  with  the  animals, the stars in the sky and one very special star.

    That star called to  and   guided   three  kings  to the place of His  arrival.  They  brought with them  the  very  first  gifts  that   had  the  same  meaning then as they still do today.

     The    first    gift   was   of   gold    to   represent kingship  on  earth  and  to shower riches upon the rumored   arrival  of   a   savior.  The   second  gift, frankincense, used as incense  to  signify His priestly role.

     Today,  frankincense   is  used  by   many   as   a natural     cure   and    relief    for   a    number    of ailments   from   arthritis   to   other  sorts of pain. In  fact, Frankincense   just   might   be   the   very  most important of those first three gifts as  we  are still finding out more about this gift.

     The  third  and  final gift,  Myrrh,  was  used as  an  embalming   oil.  It   signified    Christ's   death and   embalming  as   life   has  a  beginning and an end.

     At   this   time  of  year, we  are  to celebrate the joy of the season  and  reflect   on   the   past years events. It  is  also  a  time  to  remember loved ones that have left us.

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     We should  share  stories  about them  with our  children  as  this  will   keep   our  dearly departed  loved  ones  alive  not  only  in  our hearts, but will give   our    children   a   fee l  for who   they  were  and  what  they  have  left behind.

     As   we   age    and   share  these   family  stories with     our    children,   take   a   step   back.    Take stock  of  what  mark you are leaving behind.

     For   example,    the    Christmas    seasonal   TV shows  and  movies    are  upon  us.    Many   of   us grew  up having watched   the   animated    staples, “Santa  Clause  is  Coming  to  Town”,  “Frosty  the Snowman” and  others. These are not just classics;  they  are  in  a  sense a legacy that is handed  down to our children and then to the grandchildren.

The    actors     that   voiced    those  animations were  stars that while  growing  up  we watched on  TV  and  in   movies.  They    were    actors, singers and  musicians  whose  voices  will live on forever  and  will   find  a   place  in  the  next  generations  hearts   and   childhoods   that  will  most likely be passed on to their children.

Legacy – A  big  word  in  action,  but  HUGE in meaning. This  season  is  a good time to reflect on what your legacy is.

     If  you  haven’t  been   kind  to  one  another, be kind.  We  all  have  challenges in life and we really don’t   have   a    clue   what   that   person   sitting  next  to  you  at  the   restaurant,   your  server   or  even   the   driver   in   traffic next  to  you is going through today.

     It could be  anything - bad   health  news, lost a job,  loss of  a  loved   one.  Treat  all  people   with respect.  Start   here.  If  they  do something to not  deserve   your   respect,   do   not   mistreat   them. The best thing is to give them space.

        It’s   a   time  for gifting  – A  gift    can   be  as simple as a smile or a greeting.   

     Acknowledging   someone   can  be   a  huge gift. You  could  make  someone’s  day by just smiling at them.

     Give the gift of  common  courtesy. Hold a door for someone.   In   traffic,  take your time. You will get there. It is better for everyone to get there safe anyway.

     Bottom  line –  put  someone  else  first.  It will  come  back to you ten fold.

     I  wish   you   all  a  Merry Christmas. Spend as  much   family   time  together  as  possible. Laugh,  sing  and  eat. The  diets start on New Years Day.