Chip Tracks Down the Dog Owner and the Realtor

I love my routine on the ‘Net, the same as my regular route in newspapers. Saturday I usually look at the Recorder to see if Chip Ainsworth has a column…he did yesterday and it was a beaut. He starts off at a Red Sox spring training game, and mentions all of the people from Franklin County he saw in the stands and around the park. Later he takes us with him as he sits eating alone in a old hotel south of the Everglades called the Clewiston Inn.

He reads the whole paper, even the classifieds, where he sees an ad for a missing bulldog with a $5000 reward. He calls the dog’s owner up and find out the story, that a big ole mean guy named “Thai-Rod had bought the stolen hound, but that the dog’s owner had decided it wasn’t worth the risk of getting beat up or shot by the guy.

He drives on, through a foreclosure-ridden, windswept neighborhood. He finds an empty house with the door wide open, and a rock that somebody threw, breaking a door window. He calls up the local realtor, and finds out that the place is for sale for less than $50,000. He finds out a lot about the blighted area, inquiring how long the man thinks the recession will last–18 months, he thinks.

Few reporters have Chip’s knack for following up interesting leads, and getting the story right. He’s the best writer on the Recorder’s pages, and I enjoyed catching up with him the other day when he phoned my office.