By Don Rush

Mark Kelly, of Independence Township, dead at 63.
The news from friends that our mutual friend, Mark P. Kelly had passed, presumably peacefully in his sleep, shocked me. Like with the passing of any person, it’s not only a loss to loved ones, family and friends. When any person passes the community loses something, too. As long as a person is alive and thinking they have something to offer their community. Their potential is alive as they are.
Mark’s passing is a loss to the Clarkston community. Quietly and without any other motivation than he could, Mark went out of his way to make his community a better place to live and do business in. And, it’s not like he had made his fortune and was now digging into his deep pockets and doling out wads of cash. On the contrary, Mark made a living as a photographer out of his garage. His thing wasn’t money. Mark used his energy, talents, generosity and down right goodness to help any individual, group or community project in need.

Mark Kelly

He touched many lives through the years of donating gallons of blood to Red Cross, delivering food with Meals on Wheels, assisting with Clarkston’s Team RUSH Robotics; every winter he helped Clarkston Rotary with the Shoes for Kids newspaper sales. He took family pictures during Taste of Clarkston for like 10 bucks each, and then donated the funds raised to different area charities. He officiated high school sports. He even contributed to Clarkston Cultural Arts with his photography. He just seemed to be everywhere with a humble smile and his camera.
He took headshots of local business people and for the Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce. Popular were his Clarkston High School team photos.
He helped start the Clarkston Coffee Club for small businesses — faithfully, each week for the past 10 or so years he led the group. Never asking for money, this networking group was free. Show up, be nice and make some friends.
I am sure all these activities did help his business, but think he genuinely enjoyed helping people.
He was a friend. A special man and maybe some group in town could do him a solid — maybe come up with a Mark Kelly award for community volunteerism or something. I don’t know. Just an idea.
* * *
I went to my first school board meeting as a reporter in probably 30 years, last week. Yup, the other Tuesday night I got to the Oxford School Board meeting at about 6 p.m. for the 6:30 start. Since I haven’t been a reporter in a long time, I sat in the front row so as not to miss anything. After the Pledge of Allegiance, the board went into a Closed Session. The minutes ticked-away. Soon, with nothing to do I lowered my ball cap down in front, closed my eyes and listened. Gee. I forgot how good my hearing is! I heard lots of things behind me. Some small children laughed. There were some coughs. I even heard hushed conversations about personal issues that I wish I hadn’t heard. The closed session lasted for an hour and 10 minutes.
* * *
As a highly decorated, venerable old, ink-stained and wretched newsscribe, I actually like to read newspapers. And, on Saturday mornings I purchase both a copy of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Over breakfast and a coffee at an Ortonville diner, I read said newspapers. On Saturday, Feb. 5, I was saddened by what I read.
It wasn’t any article about a tragic event. Nope, nothing like that. In each paper was an article written by Jill Colvin of the Associated Press. On Page 1 of The Freep the headline read, Pence rebuts Trump on election. On Page 11, the Detroit News’ headline was Pence: Trump ‘wrong’ about election.
Those were fine. What saddened me, and what I think is driving folks not to trust news media these days, is the editorializing in news articles. In the same article, written by the same writer were three differences based on bias.
The Freep published: . . . Pence . . . rebutted Trump’s claims . . . The News published: . . . Pence . . . rebutted Trump’s false claims . . .
The Freep published: . . . Trump’s intensifying efforts this week to advance the narrative . . . The News published: . . . Trump’s intensifying efforts this week to advance the false narrative . . .
The Freep published: And on Sunday, he criticized Pence, declaring “he could have overturned the election.” The News published: And on Sunday he blasted Pence, falsely declaring that “he could have overturned the election.”
I think news editors and news reporters would do themselves and our industry a favor by leaving the opinions for the editorial pages and out of their news stories.

See, I wasn’t lying to you.

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