Introducing the B-Town Bee

This website is taking flight.

When people say “I grew up reading you” it’s a great compliment, and a not-so-great reminder that time flies by too quickly. I still have a 16-year-old’s sense of humor sometimes. A 16-year-old’s energy? It hurts to laugh at that one.

Most people know me from the 35 years I spent as a reporter and columnist for Bloomington’s Herald-Times newspaper and yes, I worked there when it was still titled the Herald-Telephone. We all have seen the decline in daily newspapers and I was happy to walk away when cuts followed cuts that followed cuts in staffing, resources and the like.

But as time has ticked away I’ve come to miss the reporting, the opinion pieces, the things my colleagues have done over the years and the fun of putting on the reporter’s cape, as I describe it to students I teach as an adjunct at Indiana University, and brandish my badge to contact people and ask questions. It’s a license to be nosy. It needs to be used more often, for the right reasons, especially now.

The B-Town Bee is launching to give me a platform to do the things that I enjoyed during those mainstream media days and offer some friends and colleagues the opportunity to do the same. Longtime pal, Bloomington native and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Joel Pett offered up his cartoons to the Bee. His career has been centered in Lexington, Ky., but he’s a proud, quarry-swimming B-Towner.

At least a few other colleagues will be contributing commentary, columns and whatever their creative minds come up with in the future. Bees are pollinators, you know. We aim to feed your mind, or at least give it something to chew on.

I’ve had lots of help from my friends in getting this thing up and running, and it will evolve from the simple style we’re rolling out with. But as an illustration of “we’re not getting the news and information we used to,” I’ve been dying to write about the closing and impending demolition of The Poplars, a singular IU building with an entertaining history. As I write this, practically no one I’ve spoken to knows The Poplars has almost shuttered.

Call this piece in the Bee a news feature if you will. There’s a personal column in this launch about an aspect of the computer and internet age that’s always amused me. And then, wouldn’t you know it, I happened to reconnect with Heavy Ed, a dude I ran into regularly during my column-writing years. He’s a bit like Slats Grobnik, the character who regularly appeared in columns by the late, great Chicago columnist Mike Royko. Only I don’t think either Slats or Mike called each other “dude.”

We will be evolving, so check back often. We’ll be introducing subscriber levels, sponsorship underwriting, and other ways to support what we’re doing here. And to ensure that we’re eating the highest quality cat food and ramen noodles we can afford.

See the Bee. Be the Bee. 🐝

~Mike Leonard

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