PHIL IN THE BLANK: Drama at the theatre

It’s supposed to be bad luck to wish actors “good luck” on their upcoming performances, so instead you’re supposed to say “break a leg.” Most don’t actually intend harm to come to anyone, certainly not to members of the audience. I’ve been doing the community-theatre acting thing for just a few years, but know enough […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Christmas time

I hope everyone is having an excellent Christmas season this year. Mine is good. My house doesn’t look very Christmasy, though. I haven’t been putting up a Christmas tree at my place for the past couple years. The season goes by way too fast. And I have cats. I’ve been busy learning my lines and […]


We keep things local here at The Clarkston News, but I usually grant some leeway to letter writers to the editor. Readers can mostly write about whatever they like, including national issues like President Donald Trump. That doesn’t sit well with some. One wrote to ask us not to print any more political letters at […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Stop the loss

Over the last few years I’ve been concerned with the rate of suicide amongst veterans, about 20 per day from what I’ve heard most say. This Veterans Day, I decided to look it up with the most official source I could think of, the Veterans Administration. Their statistics listed 6,139 veteran suicides nationwide in 2017. […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: 20’s to roar again

In 10 weeks it will be the twenties once more, and I’ll be glad to be able to name the decade again. After the nineties, what decade were we in? The aughts, naughts, the ohs? And then that decade was followed by what, the tens? The teens? None of these labels seemed to have caught […]


Suicide is tragic, perhaps more so when involving a young person. For me, the loss of Jack Lehman hurts more because I know his parents — we’re friends through the Clarkston Village Players. The Clarkston schools superintendent, high school principal, teacher, and pastor have better words about how to deal with this than I do, […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Looking for health

A trip to Ford Field is in order for me. That became clear as I interviewed Frank Miglione for a story about his experience losing 135 pounds in two years. He was helping plug the upcoming Men’s Health Event in Detroit on Sept. 21. Info provided by the organizers was also a gut check. “Based […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Back to school

Thanks to a faulty memory and fondness for booking nonrefundable hotel room, I’m spending two weekends in a row in Columbus, Ohio, this month. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, so it’s almost my hometown. It’s the home of my alma mater, the Ohio State University. I’m also a Wolverine grad and have lived here […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Where to go

I’m now in my 50s, but I’m still up for more technology and automation. Directionally challenged my whole life, I used to pore over map books and painstakingly write down directions turn by turn. I’d scout new places, a couple dry runs so I’d know how to get somewhere before I had to be there. […]

PHIL IN THE BLANK: Not lost in Pontiac

I’ve spent some time in downtown Pontiac and gotten to know the city to our south a little bit, enough to get around without getting lost at least. I’ve lived in Michigan for the past 25 years, but up in Flint. Everything south of Clarkston seems like one confusing mass of urban sprawl to me. […]

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