Editor's View: Slinging ink while carrying a baby, notepad

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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My kids are bright spots in my life. From their energy, enthusiasm and curiosity, they do their best to keep me young. I have the range of ages as the father of five. My youngest, baby Deirdre, is in diapers and not quite walking yet at 15 months old. My oldest, Madison, is 19 and hitting the college text books. Cian, 13, and Parker, 12, frequently accompany me to local theatrical productions as my “co-reviewers.” They’ve also pitched in to help clean-up the ghost town of Clarksville (in El Dorado Hills) for that town’s big celebration (this year happening May 5). Mr. Personality, 3-year-old Liam, is a pistol. During the April 14 Folsom public plaza grand opening celebration, he kept trying to run out and hug the Chinese lion dancers during their performance. While shopping for groceries a few days later, someone approached me and said they saw me and Liam on TV. My guess is it had to do with me chasing him away from those dancing dragons. It was a great turnout that day and I spotted plenty of locals including Cindy Baker, Allen Schmeltz, Kenn Serrano, Ed Loomis (father of Folsom’s Torrey Loomis), Bill Anderson and too many others to list. One resident, who identified himself as Bob, had some criticism of the event, which also kicked off Folsom’s Second Saturday Art Walk. He phoned me late last week, trying to get in touch with the Folsom Historic District Association. “Why were there no food vendors on the street?” he asked. “I was there with my small children and the restaurants were crowded, which was good for their businesses. … Food vendors would have done very well at this event.” He does have a point but as I told him, events like this are meant to showcase the district and what it has to offer, so competing food vendors can be seen as taking business away from the restaurants. What I have seen many other towns do with events like this is to offer street booths to the restaurants. That way, if Hop Sing and Black Rooster are too full, there is still the opportunity for the restaurant to make extra moolah while keeping the public happy. It’s a model that is already put in place by a few eateries such as Chicago Fire and Hacienda during big events. Consider it food for thought. Being in this business, which is more than a full time job in itself, can become even more complicated when children are thrown into the mix. KIDS AND THE NEWS BIZ My older kids are very familiar with my work. They’ve grown up watching Papa pull out a notepad and camera, approach a stranger, and start asking questions. Parker’s frequent questions are, “Do we have any events this weekend?” and, “Are we attending for fun or work?” As a teenager, I recall hanging out with my dad on weekends during K9 training. He was a police officer and was one of Merced Police Department’s first K9 officers (before an injury caused him to lose the dog to another officer). He kept up with the program to help with training and videotaping those training sessions. I thought it was pretty nifty watching the police dogs take a bite out of those arm pads during various training scenarios. My dad talks about helping his father on the ranch. Grandpa was a ranch foreman in Dos Palos up until just a few years before he died. I suppose it’s simply been ingrained in me to include my kids in my work. As a parent, I try to strike a balance. I certainly wouldn’t drag my poor kids to a Folsom City Council meeting or a house fire. If there is something fun happening that’s also family friendly, such as the El Dorado County Fair, Town Center’s Summer Concerts or Second Saturday on Sutter Street, I’ll happily bring my kids along to combine work with play. I guess it’s a family tradition. Telegraph Managing Editor Don Chaddock’s column publishes every week. Follow him on Twitter @anewsguy or e-mail him at