Ice cream trucks and Kosovo

Ashley Babbitt

Sunshine. Ice cream. Carefree summer days. That’s what the masses want. I understand.

But, I was brought up in a household where carefree was a stick of gum. I was not treated as though I couldn’t understand nor have an opinion on the reality of my world as I knew it.

For that, I am ever grateful.

I used to be able to walk into school and know what was going on in Kosovo in the mid-1990s.

On the other side of the coin, I used to know the exact time the ice cream truck drove past my house, and when to be outside.

It’s a balance of the good and the bad that both undoubtedly exist – no matter where you live or travel.

I have grown to be an adult that continues to recognize that.

As a newspaper editor, I cannot sugar coat reality. Some stories that print are things that folks don’t want to believe happens in our quaint county that I love. But it does.

It’s important to realize that with the bad comes also the good.

One day a reader told me that the tone of the paper was too negative. I asked her if she saw the paper from that day. She said yes.

That day the top story was about the 169th county fair. There was an inspiring story about children who prepared bagged lunches and handed them out to the homeless in New York City. There was a photo of law enforcement officers and Special Olympic athletes during their ‘Cops on Top” fundraiser to raise funds for the athletes. And finally a story about Monks rescuing passengers from a plane that had crashed.

To me, that’s reality, but a nice dose of uplifting reality. I didn’t see a whole lot of negative on the front page she was referring to, but she then divulged that her issue was that second-hand smoke at the fair could harm small children.

I understand where she is coming from. Yes, second-hand smoke is not desirable, especially around small children. But as a disclaimer to all readers, I cannot control your thoughts following a story about an event that has taken place in Chenango for 169 years. I encouraged her to write a letter to the editor on the topic, but she said she’d rather not.

Months back I attended a question and answer session regarding the newspaper, and was asked why more “good news” isn’t printed.

My answer was two-fold: When I have happy news to print, I’ll try my hardest to get it into the paper in a timely fashion. Yet “good news” is not what comes to me often. Let’s say I have 426 new emails in my inbox Monday morning, I’ll be lucky if one is a “good news” item. I encouraged – and continue to encourage – readers to send in anything happy and positive they would like a reporter to follow up on. Their email addresses are as follows:,, and Send all the happy, uplifting, inspiring, motivational, community-based events to one of those three reporters, Matthew, Kieran or Grady, and the respective reporter will follow up.

The second point that I mentioned in the question and answer session was that it is a reality that our county isn’t clean as a whistle. There may be a drug bust in Lincklaen, or 22 individuals arraigned in a single month, or a murder conviction overturned. Those things are newsworthy. They can’t be ignored; it would be a disservice to not report on them. Unfortunately, there tends to be quite a bit of the “types” of stories readers would rather not see in our town. There is always news regarding small town politics, crime, lack of funds here or there, fires, accidents, etc.

We always have and always will publish about the Chenango Blues Fest, Colorscape, Pumpkin Festival, Parade of Lights, Gus Macker … and the countless other positive happenings in our wonderful community. Those events help to make this community what it is. I want to dig deeper with the positivity, though. The story about the children bringing food to the homeless… fantastic. When Chenango native Dustin Warburton handed out books to children with Dennis Rodman … what a special piece. These are the types of news tips I would be absolutely elated to receive. It warms my heart to read about the good. Truly.

I want to know about Kosovo and the ice cream truck. I want readers to know about Kosovo and the ice cream truck.

Therefore, if you’re on board with getting some more ice cream and sunshine into The Sun, then send an email to one of the above, or as always, to

I’m always trying to find that balance, so if you’d like to help publicize the motivational, please let us know about your event, fundraiser, lemonade stand, sit-in … or whatever it may be.


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