New Orleans is sinking…

My thoughts go out to the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It’s hard to grasp the enormity of this storm’s effect.

I’m disheartened by the news that the effort to try to patch the levees didn’t materialize when expected. Amid all the footage on CNN, I didn’t see any shots of helicopters dropping the 3,000-pound sandbags into place. Now we know why — the helicopters were apparently diverted for search and rescue.

I hope they can get those levees patched and staunch the horrendous flooding affecting the Crescent City.

Too soon

Word from Garrett is that my former co-worker and current Daily Mining Gazette sports editor Jeff Arnold has been critically injured in a car accident on Friday. The last update indicated that things aren’t going to turn out well, but I’m waiting for more information.

It’s way too soon for this energetic man to be leaving us. I’m in shock, especially because this is the second car accident involving a Gazette staffer this summer (the other put the paper’s intern into a coma).

Like many sportswriters, he had passion and a loud, yet almost comforting, presence in the newsroom. His love of Chicago and its teams were second to none. He always seemed confident and knowledgeable no matter which sport he was covering — the hockey game in Calumet or slow-pitch senior softball or any other sport rural Michigan could come up with.

He was also willing to learn new things. He was extremely patient as I helped him clean up the first sports front he laid out while Barry was on vacation.

I didn’t hang out with Jeff all that much, but it was fun tossing back beers with him and Will at Nutini’s or the Downtowner on a Friday night. I remember that his tradition was to enjoy a juicy steak downtown on Sundays. I saw him a couple of times enjoying his steak at Armandos watching the game on the TV.

It’s funny. There’s people that you say farewell to and hope to meet again. Jeff is definitely on that list.