Oka’ Water Sustainability Conference explores economic value of H2O

From left: Ken Wagner, State Environment Sec.; Speaker of the House Charles McCall; & Brent Kisling, Exec. Director of OK Dept. of Commerce. ⁦

By Jim Stafford

Editor’s note: I recently attended the Oka’ Water Sustainability Conference at the invitation of my friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). Here is what I learned from the conference:

ADA – At the recent 2019 Oka’ Water Sustainability Conference here on the campus of East Central University, the economic value of water bubbled to the surface.

Water is an economic driver for the state of Oklahoma, said Susan Paddack, executive director Oka’, the Water Institute at East Center University, which presented the fourth annual Sustainability Conference.

“We talk about quality and we talk about the quantity, but we don’t often talk about the value of water,” Paddack said. “When you think about water, it is either an economic stimulator or it is a limiter. We cannot grow or prosper as a state or rural communities and water districts if we don’t have a sustainable water future.”

Oka’ is the Chickasaw word for water, and the Oka’ Institute was created in 2016 with support from the Chickasaw Nation, the Ada Jobs Foundation and the City of Ada.

The conference focused on innovators and technologies that are creating new ways to remediate and recycle polluted water, the importance of soil health and ways to protect key water resources such as the Arbuckle-Simpson aquifer and Blue River.

But this year’s conference also tackled the issue of Water as an Economic Driver with a panel discussion that featured a trio of state legislative, environmental and economic development leaders brought their perspectives to the topic.

Katricia Pierson, Ph.D., East Central University president, moderated the panel, which featured Ken Wagner, State Environment Sec.; Speaker of the House Charles McCall; & Brent Kisling, Exec. Director of OK Dept. of Commerce.

“If you don’t recognize water as the most valuable resources we have in this state, you need to reconsider your position,” McCall told the audience. “Water will always be an economic driver in the sate of Oklahoma. We have been very blessed with it and we have to be very careful not to squander it.”

Kisling hails from the northwest Oklahoma community of Burlington, an area of the state where the scarcity of rainfall makes water conservation a critical ongoing issue. As the former economic development director of the city of Enid, he organized a consortium of neighboring communities to tackle water issues through a coordinated water plan.

“We have to all work together, especially in a watershed, to make sure we are maintaining our water resources on the quantity side and on the quality side,” Kisling said. “Now there is a consortium of major water users that communicate each month about what’s going on with water in the northwest part of the state.”

Wagner plays a key role in setting policy that ensures the protection of water resources throughout the state, while meeting the water consumption needs of people and businesses alike.

“We have to balance, how do we protect the resource but help these communities sustain their way of life, from creating jobs to ensuring the recreational capacity, making sure that fish and wildlife can thrive, protecting our scenic rivers, protecting our aquifers,” Wagner said, “knowing all the while that we all need water to sustain life.”

The conference was highlighted by a keynote speech by Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, who described the Oka’ Institute as “real positive development” to water sustainability in the south central Oklahoma region.

“The Oka’ Institute has a deep understanding that water issues affect us all and that it will take us all working together to develop viable, long-term solutions to water sustainability,” Anoatubby said. “Health and sustainability of our water is vital to everyone’s future and reasons to work together for the benefit of all.”

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

Oklahoma’s Saab story: a prophecy fulfilled

I hope you saw this story in Monday’s editions of The Oklahoman about the Saab Group, a Swedish Aerospace firm, reportedly passing on Oklahoma as the location to build a new military trainer jet because of workforce concerns.

If you didn’t read it, click this link to catch you up to date: 

The reporting by Oklahoman reporter Dale Denwalt made the words of Oklahoma City businessman Phil Busey seem almost prophetic. The story quoted State Sen. Adam Pugh, who said that the Saab Group decided it would not be able to find enough skilled workers to sustain its workforce at an Oklahoma location.

Saab reportedly wanted to know if it could find people to work at the plant. ‘In the end, they decided they couldn’t, and so they’re taking their business somewhere else,’ state Sen. Adam Pugh told members of Leadership Oklahoma at a recent aerospace forum.

Busey is founder and CEO of a company called Delaware Resource Group (DRG), minority-owned aerospace industry federal defense contractor. DRG employs upwards of 700 people, including software engineers, worldwide who support contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as major aerospace companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Busey along with Debbie Cox, my colleague from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). Our interview was the basis for an OCAST video and a column I wrote on behalf of the agency. You can read it and watch the video interview here. 

We were surprised by the urgency that Busey showed in advocating for an improvement in public education and workforce development across our state.

Phil Busey

“Our challenges really come back to the issues of workforce development,” Busey told us. “Public education is the No. 1 challenging issue we see here in Oklahoma.”

Thousands of aerospace positions in the state remain unfilled because there aren’t enough Oklahomans equipped with STEM skills – science, technology, education and mathematics, Busey said.

That means that we need to build a deeper pool of young Oklahomans equipped with STEM skills that are critical to the sustainability of the state’s aerospace industry.

But it goes beyond workforce development, he said. It’s also about the image of our state that is reflected in legislation like the recent open carry law that allows virtually anyone in Oklahoma to carry a gun without a license or shooter education.

“The challenge is that we are having to rebrand ourselves,” Busey said. “The social legislation issues, the open carry issues and the public education issues all have to be addressed. Because people really don’t understand who we are … We have to talk to them about what our culture is really like, who we are, what kind of values we have, that we are inclusive, that we have all types of development going on with MAPS and the successes we have had downtown.”

The bottom line is that there are currently between 1,500 and 2,000 open positions here in Oklahoma in the high paying aerospace industry. We have to fill that pipeline.

Busey has organized his own working group of community, education and business leaders to brainstorm ways to enhance Oklahoma’s workforce development and improve our image.

“We’re trying to develop pipelines with our universities,” Busey said. “And then be able to talk with people who we need to recruit from outside Oklahoma that it is a good place to live. We all don’t walk around with 45s on our hips. Public education, we have to do something to improve that. It is a deal breaker.”

What is Blockchain for Business? OKC conference provides some context

Alan Dickman, IBM Blockchain Architect, delivers a primer on Blockchain for Business to an audience of OKC business leaders.

Editor’s note: I was invited by my friends at OCAST to attend the recent Blockchain for Business conference here in OKC. This is what I wrote about the experience and what I learned from the event about a subject that I know very little about.

By Jim Stafford

There is a huge gulf between the emerging blockchain-for-business technology and the cryptocurrency world, a group of 150 Oklahoma business leaders learned at the recent Blockchain for Business conference at the Baker Hughes/GE Energy Innovation Center.

The blockchain primer delivered to the Oklahoma audience by Alan Dickman, IBM Blockchain Architect, contrasted the two computing networks that are often confused for one another.

“Blockchain is really just a shared, distributed ledger that helps record transactions,” Dickman said in his keynote presentation. “Blockchain facilitates business processes that are shared among a network that is using the same ledger.”

What blockchain-for-business is not is a giant, worldwide computing network that requires every member of the network, or peer, to update their blockchain file with each transaction, Dickman said.

“That sounds like Bitcoin, where there are lots and lots of peers around the world, and what you are doing is updating each ledger,” he said. “Only a small number of blockchains have that infrastructure.”

Blockchain-for-business can limit the number of peers, and requires that each participant be identified and invited to the network. Transactions are recorded as an “immutable” record that can never be altered.

In contrast, Cryptocurrency networks are known as “permission-less,” which means that participation is unlimited. Participants can remain anonymous. The “permission-less” networks can grow unwieldy and consume large amounts of energy as each transaction is updated.

“You can have permission blockchains where you put up your own private networks,” Dickman said. “So, it depends on the use case and depends on the technology and whether you are using a permission or permission-less blockchain.”

The Blockchain for Business conference was presented by OG&E and IBM, with support from the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber; the Oklahoma Department of Commerce; the Oklahoma City Innovation District; the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST); the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma; Baker Hughes, a GE Company, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance; Zilker Technology LLC.; and the Energy Web Foundation.

“From OG&E’s perspective, the business purpose of this conference was two-fold,” said Richard Cornelison, economic development manager for OG&E. “We wanted to bring a better understanding of technology, and ways to communicate to the communities we serve and into the companies we serve.”

The conference featured breakout sessions for energy industry users, government, health care and supply chain, and oil and gas.

“Blockchain is one of those emerging, potentially enabling technologies that has the capability of impacting our economy,” said Mark Ballard, programs officer with OCAST. “We’re interested in this technology because it can give businesses another opportunity to compete more effectively in the economy.”

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

Plumbing the limits of home repair Sticker Shock

The Hi-Tech Plumbing & Leak Detect truck parked in front of my house is a familiar site.

We had Hi-Tech Plumbing & Leak Detect out at our house (again) today to replace our kitchen sink and faucet, as well as repair a leak in the drain beneath the sink.  I almost choked when they told me what the cost would be to do the work.  

But I told them to go ahead, because, well, what else are we going to do?

We’ve had Hi-Tech out many times over the years, in part because of the awful polybutylene piping used on this house when it was built in 1989.  We sprang so many leaks over the years that we finally had all the hot-water run through the attic, bypassing the polybutylene pipes beneath the foundation. 

We used Hi-Tech on that project, of course, and it cost several thousand dollars.  Same thing on a recent hot water heater install.

You might ask why I keep going back to Hi-Tech if they are so expensive.  The reason is that we know that they will do a thorough job with nothing left incomplete.  Not once have we had to call them back out to redo a job.   

But the price we pay is still so embarrassingly high. While I do have confidence in Hi-Tech, I feel as though I’m being ripped off in the process. 

I think it’s called buyer’s remorse.

My question for readers is what has been your experience with plumbers and what are my alternatives for future issues?  

 

 

OK-WISE panel: Internships provide entry into Aerospace industry for young women

Panelists in a Women Impacting Aerospace discussion are (from left): Heather McDowell, OCAST, Alexis Higgins, CEO of the Tulsa International Airport; Brenda Rolls, Ph.D., CEO of Frontier Electronic Systems; Sara Shmalo, material and process engineer at Spirit Aerosystems; and Haley Marie Keith, CEO of MITO Material Solutions

 

Editor’s note: I was invited by my friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology to attend the recent OK-WISE conference in Tulsa, where I sat in on a couple of panel discussions.  The topic of internships as a way to gain experience and an entry into the Aerospace industry (and others!) caught my attention.  So, I filed this report.

TULSA – Heather McDowell shared some bleak industry employment numbers as moderator during a panel discussion entitled Women Impacting Aerospace at the recent 2019 OK-WISE conference at the Hyatt Regency Tulsa.

The conference focused on helping women advance their careers in STEM fields such as cybersecurity, manufacturing, technology and economic empowerment.

“We see statistics all the time about STEM industry and how women are under represented in this field,” said McDowell, associate director of Programs at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

“Overall, about 25 percent of our workforce are women, but particularly in aerospace only about 10 percent of the workforce are women,” she said. “How can we get more women involved in aerospace?”

The OK-WISE – Women Impacting STEM & Entrepreneurship – conference was produced by the Oklahoma Catalyst Programs that is headquartered at the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma. Organizers sought to inspire and encourage an audience of about 300 women aspiring to STEM careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or entrepreneurship.

So, how did the panel of female aerospace professionals answer McDowell’s questions of bringing more women into the industry?  

Internships can be an important component to bringing more women into aerospace – and any STEM profession — panelists suggested.

And that can begin with high school, students, said Sara Shmalo, material and process engineer at Spirit Aerosystems in Tulsa.

“One of the things that Spirit does is we partner with high schools and started bringing in high school students who have a passion for aviation,” Shmalo said. “They can watch the processes in place, and some of them have come up with great ideas that have saved time, and they are offered jobs out of high school. We train them to work there.”

Seated next to Shmalo on the panel was Brenda Rolls, Ph.D., CEO of Stillwater’s Frontier Electronic Systems, a company that manufactures sophisticated electronic components for advanced military aircraft and for the U.S. space industry. Frontier employs more than 50 engineers among its workforce of about 120 people.

Potential interns are recruited and evaluated for the positions as if they were being hired for full-time Frontier Electronic positions, Rolls said.

“We try to give the interns real hands-on experience of what it would be like to work in an aerospace company like ours,” Rolls said. “We have had a number of female interns, and one of the great things that happens is there have been a number of interns who have stayed with us after they graduated. So, we have three women that have continued with us as full-time employees, and we have a number of men.”

OCAST manages a statewide cost-share Intern Partnership program that places college students in real world work environments like Frontier Electronic Systems across Oklahoma.

“I think Oklahoma is trying really, really hard to improve the hands-on learning opportunities for students at all levels,” Rolls said.

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

Take me out to the ‘Botball’ game: Robotics competition fuels STEM interests

The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics (KIPR) unleashed hundreds of robots in Norman at the recent Global Conference on Educational Robotics.

The event brought 700 school aged software engineers to Oklahoma from around the world.

Students from elementary age to high school competed in an international robotics competition called “Botball,” in which autonomous robots they designed, built and programmed attempted to tackle the task of cleaning up a virtual “city” that had been ravaged by flooding.

I was there at the invitation of my friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) for the opportunity to see some student-built robots in action.

A student team makes last-second adjustments to their robot before the Botball tournament begins.

While students saw Botball as a fun and challenging competition, the KIPR Institute describes it as a “standards-based” STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education program.

“What is awesome about Botball, I have students that are writing code and doing all of this in the third grade,” said Steve Goodgame, executive director of the KIPR Institute. “I had a college student who came in earlier and said he was working with the elementary students and ‘my gosh, that’s what I was doing as a freshman in college and these third graders are doing it.’”

The KIPR Institute hosts STEM events throughout the year and regional Botball competitions from which top teams qualify for the International competition.

The Institute has a mission to improve the public’s understanding of STEM and “develop the skills, character and aspirations of students” while contributing to the enrichment of schools and the community.

Teams from Canada, Mexico, Qatar, Kuwait, China, Poland, Austria, Africa, Taiwan and across the United States came to Norman for this year’s event, which also included an aerial drone competition and international keynote speakers.

Of course, there’s a bottom line to all the Botball fun. And that’s the acquisition of STEM skills that help create a workforce prepared for the career demands of the future.

“We are teaching a bunch of skills they can put in their tool box that they can use when they start innovating new companies, new ideas and new technologies,” Goodgame said. “It’s imperative that we as a state prepare our younger students as they age up and get these skills so we have a talented workforce that understands computer science.”

For Gillian Melendez, a 16-year-old junior-to-be from Xavier College Prep in Coachella Valley, Calif., the International Botball experience provided the opportunity to meet like-minded students from around the world and pursue her interest in software coding.

“I started when I was in 6th grade and I fell in love with it,” Melendez said. “Most girls aren’t into robotics because it’s nerdy, but I fell in love.  I love to code.”

Melendez was one of two girls on the six-person “G-Force” team from Coachilla Valley.

Norman native Braden McDorman is Exhibit A that Botball is an effective strategy for building STEM skills.

Braden McDorman is an entrepreneur who learned coding from his Botball experience

McDorman began competing in Botball in middle school, and today is co-founder and chief technology officer of a robotics software startup called Semio.

“I started Botball in sixth grade at Whittier Middle School and did it all through high school,” McDorman said. “Then I got an internship at KIPR working on software in high school and continued while I was working on my undergraduate degree at OU.”

McDorman’s path took him to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in high school and then on to a computer science degree at the University of Oklahoma. He also serves as a KIPR instructor for regional Botball competitions in Southern California, and co-founded Los Angeles-based Semio with another Botball alumnus.

“I’m working on a startup all because of Botball, actually,” McDorman said. “It’s a game that teaches everything you need to know to do real science, real programming. It’s the perfect way to prepare for a career in STEM.”

(Full disclosure: I write about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

A typo and a Confederacy of Dunces — 2019

We needed to change a single letter in a name. A typo. We wanted to change an “A” to an “O,” correcting the misspelling “Soloman” to “Solomon” on a birth certificate and Social Security card issued to my newborn grandson, Solomon James Stafford.

The bureaucracy conspired against our efforts to make it happen. We had to make five separate trips to state and federal offices to get it corrected.

Let me start at the beginning.

rejectedMy daughter gave birth to a baby on May 29, a boy who was born two months premature. The hospital sent a person around to inquire about the name shortly after he was born. Both my daughter and my wife told her that he was to be Solomon James Stafford and spelled it out.

S-O-L-O-M-O-N.

Somehow, Solomon became Soloman before it was turned into the state for an official birth certificate. That misspelling was picked up by the Social Security Administration, which promptly printed out a new SS card in the wrong name and mailed it to us.

The effort to correct the spelling turned into an odyssey that began with our initial trip to the records department at the Oklahoma Health Department and ended up with four trips to the Social Security office before the “a” could be corrected to an “o.”

Here’s how it happened.

At the state records office, my daughter filled out the form requesting a corrected birth certificate, and we paid our $30 for two copies and then went to the window to obtain the documents.

After a short wait of just a few minutes, the woman behind the glass gave the new birth certificates to my daughter and we were off! As we walked out, I told Sarah that she should check the spelling just to make sure that it was correct on the corrected version.

She opened the folder and then stopped dead in her tracks. I looked. It read “Soloman James Stafford.”

I looked back and no one was at the window yet, so I ran back and told the attendant that the new birth certificate we received had the same misspelling. When my daughter walked up, she was told to go pay the fee once again, then get back in line.

Sarah fought back tears and an urge to scream at someone, went back and paid a new fee for corrected birth certificates, then got back in line, which had grown considerably. Turns out, this time the wait was about 35 minutes, but we ended up with two birth certificates with the correct spelling of Solomon James Stafford.

Then we headed to the Social Security office. Bad news. Sarah was told that a birth certificate is not acceptable to change a name. We needed an official document from the hospital.

So, we drove back to Mercy Hospital and asked for an official document with a doctor’s signature as proof of birth. A nurse gave us a certificate that had the doctor’s signature, the seal of the hospital and included Solomon’s footprints.

Nailed it! Or so we thought. We were rejected for a second time at the Social Security office because the document the hospital gave us was a “souvenir,” as the attendant described it. “That’s not an acceptable federal document,” he told us.

Back to the hospital, where we went straight to the health records office and asked for something – anything – that the Social Security Administration would accept. I was given a couple of printouts that included the doctor’s notes from the birth and an immunization record. The doctor’s signature was electronic and the document did not have a name or hospital seal on it.

But that’s what we received. By now, I had gone out of town on a trip, so my wife took over and went with Sarah back to the Social Security office.

Of course, the documents were rejected again.

This time, Paula went straight to the hospital and requested to talk to an administrator. She told them about our plight and the need for a signature and an official hospital seal with Solomon’s name on it. The hospital had to create such a document and did.

Paula took that back to the Social Security office and it was finally accepted as official. I was still on my trip out of town when my daughter texted me the words “FIFTH TIME IS A CHARM!” I called her back and learned that baby Solomon (allegedly) would soon be receiving a new Social Security card with the correct spelling of his name.

I’ll call this lunacy a Confederacy of Dunces after my favorite book, because the system set us up for failure time after time.  

Baby Solomon, it will be years before you realize the challenges that we faced to correct a random typo of a single letter in your name. But we got it done. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

When Oklahoma City invested in itself

 

I’ve been reading about the ongoing debate over the upcoming vote on a temporary, 1-cent sales tax that the citizens of my home town in Fort Smith, Ark., are considering imposing on themselves.

The tax, which as I understand it would be effective for only nine months, would be used to complete the U.S. Marshals Museum, which is under construction along the Arkansas River in Fort Smith.

To me, a “yes” vote on the tax would be a no-brainer. The community would be investing in itself for a facility that would enhance it as a go-to destination for visitors from around the nation and the world. 

But many don’t see the possibilities, and only see the extra penny tax they would have to pay. You can read about the debate here from the Talk Business and Politics website.

I would offer Oklahoma City’s experience in investing itself as a template for what is possible.

Since we voted “yes” to our MAPS projects in 1993, OKC has been transformed into one of the nation’s premier go-to destinations not only for visitors, but for new businesses and residents. We built a new ballpark, arenas, a canal, a library and transformed a neglected and almost empty river that runs just south of downtown.

Now we have one of the NBA’s premier franchises, a downtown streetcar system and are building a fantastic new “central park” and massive convention center. Our population is blossoming, and many of those are the young, educated “creative class,” who are choosing to stay here rather than take jobs out of state after graduating college.

All because of MAPS, a temporary, 1-cent sales tax.

Sure there were naysayers who could not or would not see the vision. I’m so glad that the majority of voters bought into the concept of MAPS in 1993 and in subsequent votes in the years to follow.  We’re so far removed from the city we were in 1993.

I’m hopeful that the folks in my hometown of Fort Smith can see the vision of what is possible for their community and vote “yes” for the temporary sales tax to fund the Marshals Museum.

 

 

 

Setting it straight; digital newspaper subscriber responds

I recently shared my thoughts in this blog on the current struggles of the newspaper industry and frustrations that I have little to offer as far as solutions to reverse the trend.

I used my friend Casey as an example of smart young potential readers who have found their news sources elsewhere.

After the blog post was published, I discovered that I did Casey a disservice.  

Turns out, even though he’s great with snarky one-liners about the newspaper industry (for my benefit as an old newspaper guy), he still reads the daily newspaper online.

Casey told me that he is a newsok.com “pro” subscriber to the online version of The Oklahoman.  And he comes from a family of longtime newspaper readers and subscribers.

So, I asked him to share his thoughts on what type of content the newspaper should offer readers.  Here is what he said:

“I go to the newspaper when I want a more in-depth, more trustworthy source. Instead of instant alerts, I think they need to slow their content even more; give me more detail and deeper journalism. Heavily researched.  Articles more like what you would find in a magazine, almost.”

Casey was responding to what I wrote about young people seeking only online news alerts and instant headlines instead of deeper newspaper coverage.  

Of course, newspapers continue to struggle, despite the support of individuals like Casey.  The Oklahoman announced in its Dec. 27 editions that it was trimming its circulation area and eliminating street sales. 

Casey broke my stereotype of the typical young American who only learns what’s happening in the world (or their local community) through social media interactions.

And he likes the paper.  He really, really likes it.

“For my money, real reporters work for the newspaper,” he told me.

Wow. Casey, I salute you.  And I promise not to throw you under the bus again, even if you zing me with a snarky one-liner.  

 

 

I wish I had a magic potion to restore fading newspaper glory

My friend Casey recently told me that the newspaper is great for when you want to know what happened 24 hours ago. 

Ouch!

As a former newspaper guy who started his career on a manual typewriter back in 1978, Casey’s honest truth really hurt.  

No one is wanting the newspaper — all of them — to succeed more than me. But I see what’s happening all over the country (and world, I guess). People are seeking their news sources online with instant alerts for which they aren’t likely to pay a dime.

There’s nothing earthshaking in that news. It’s a reality that we all know. How many people under the age of 30, no, 40, no, 50 are newspaper subscribers? A handful; 5 percent? 1 percent? 

In fact, Pew Research recently released results of a survey that showed more people now get their news content via social media than the newspaper.

My friend Casey is roughly 30 years old. He prefers instant updates and free content.

Some of my former newspaper colleagues are discouraged because they are convinced that if the paper would just (insert remedy of choice), subscribers would come back. I’m afraid that ain’t happening.

Subscribing to a newspaper takes commitment, financially and in time.  It’s the model from, oh, 1990 and earlier. Young people aren’t buying it, literally. You know why? They were never newspaper subscribers in the first place.

I wish I had a magic potion.  

My ideas tend to run toward things like a cool app similar to that of Starbucks where I can put money on my account ahead of time and draw it down as I consume coffee (or, newspaper content). 

More analysis and less breaking news from 24 hours ago might help. But there’s always that obstacle of free content.

So what’s the answer?  The papers (all of them collectively) are going to have to figure out a way to make their online content so alluring that folks like Casey would be willing to make a small monthly investment. 

That’s the model that The Athletic sports site is pursuing, although I think it’s too early to call it a success. 

That still doesn’t keep the presses running.  

Meanwhile, I’ll just fetch the latest edition of the paper off my driveway for as long as it lasts. I don’t want the physical newspaper to disappear, even though I can access it online. 

I’m from Generation Past.

Once upon a time, virtually every house on my block had a paper out in the driveway before daylight.  Now it’s only on my driveway and one or two others.

Recently, I was at a local hospital waiting on my daughter’s appointment when a nurse came by. I was reading my paper.

“Ooh, we don’t see many of those around here these days,” she said. “Where did you get it?”

I had some breaking news for her.

“Off my driveway this morning,” I said.

Then there is my friend Casey, who assures me he loves the newspaper and always has. “Just not enough to subscribe to it,” he said.

Ouch.