Looking forward to another year of publishing following a great 2013

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

What a year it has been. We have had a great time publishing The Bulletin in 2013, and I hope our readers have enjoyed the paper as much as we have enjoyed producing it each week.

The price is right, and the content is good. This is our 20th year, which makes me a senior publisher in Brazoria County. I don’t know how much I like that title, but it happens when you stick around for a long enough.

I am very lucky to be in this situation. Back in 1994, my wife, Sharon, and I decided to put out a weekly paper and see what would happen. Both of us have sales backgrounds and journalism degrees. The question was, would the concept we had in mind work?

We have changed the editorial direction of the paper a couple of times to make it a better fit for our readers. The last change we made more than a decade ago is the concept we now use.

It came from my background as a child, reading a couple of weekly magazines in another country. We added a local concept, and it has taken off nicely.

The paper is a pleasure to put together each week. We enjoy every step of the process. There is no better way I’d like to spend a weeknight than pushing deadline. It’s still exciting.

And, I love to write these columns weekly. Sometimes I run out of time, and I can tell when I read the printed version that I was rushing it. At other times, it reads pretty good.

I got the column style idea from Bill Billingsley, who published the Brazorian News in Lake Jackson for many years. Bill died a long time ago. He was a good friend of mine.

Bill wrote a weekly column he labeled “Ramblings.” I read each one of them. When I decided to write a weekly column, I decided to call it “Roundabout.” That’s from an old Yes song, but it fits the bill.

You never knew what Bill was going to write about next. He kind of rambled on. That’s sort of what I do.

As 2013 wraps up, I’d like to reflect on one very special event that took place this year.

My younger son, Bobby, has left the Air Force with an honorable discharge after six years and two missions to Afghanistan, and is going to be a University of Houston student studying business. I remember the day I delivered him to the Air Force, when he finished basic training, and every step along the way.

I remember how worried we were when he served in a war zone, and how happy we were when he flew out of there, only to be called back again later. It was a great feeling when he flew out of there for a second time, and even a better feeling when he told us recently that he’ll stay with us for a while.

His classes start too soon after being discharged, and he ran out of time to find a place to live closer to school.

And, there is one more memorable event I’d like to share with all of you.

With all the controversy over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), I have to weigh in with a year-end true story.

I have always had health insurance for my family, but the plans have been limited. We have had good luck with them, but we knew when we bought them that there were limitations.

We realized that buying health insurance for the family on an individual basis was not going to land us a great deal, and we had to work within that framework.

After hours of researching the privately offered health insurance policies on healthcare.gov, my wife and I agreed to buy into a Cigna plan that fits our needs at our age.

It took a lot of reading and comparing, but I do the same thing whenever I buy anything. I always compare the products and shop around before buying.

The experience was boring and tedious, but there were no glitches. The site never froze up, and I even chatted with someone about a definition concerning one of the plans that I wanted to clarify. Once we made our decision, the process only took a few more minutes to complete.

I’m still many years from Medicare, but no spring chicken,either. So, it was great to be able to land a plan that covers our needs.

Whatever one’s views are on this hotly debated political issue, the bottom line is that I got a very good policy for a very good price from a private insurance company competing for my business.
And, that is my last take of the year.

So, dear reader, I’ll leave you with these thoughts for 2013. I hope you all had a great year, and that next year will be even better.

Have a safe and great New Year’s Eve and a Happy New Year.