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I want to thank our school reporter Paul Clark, who knows everything known to man, and Alex Jakubsen, who is new here but learning The Rhino ropes at a very fast pace.
Did I say I need to thank a few people. Because God forbid that I forget to thank all the office dogs and cats over the years, because they are what make this office such a serene environment that's the perfect place to laser-focus your thought on the writing task in front of you without any disruption in thought. So thanks Grace and JJ and Butler and Mina and on and on.
A big thanks to Lisa Bouchey, who did so much for this publication when she was here over the years, and to Sandy Groover, who takes such great photos for us.
I wouldn't dare leave out Geof Brooks who draws the comics in the back of The Rhino each week but who also does so much more for us than that. I have been working with Geof to make his cartoons a little less mean-spirited, but, other than that, he does a fine job.
Also Melissa Smith and Johnny Smith (no relation), and Marianne Rowe, who all sell ads – without those three, no one here gets paid a dime. They are, in the end, the people who put food on my table.
I would also sincerely like to thank Conference Room and Fax – oh, wait, those two are listed on the employee phone list that I'm using as a cheat sheet, but I don't guess I really need to thank them.
And what can I say about Anthony Council – aka DJ AC? Other than to say that he is an absolute pure and utter musical, graphical and visual genius who is the main reason the images in the paper are such a joy to look at.
I really want to thank former sales manager Sherry Stevenson, the third most beautiful woman I know, who's now starting a successful career with Allen Tate Realtors, and who has always been so pretty in the Christmas Scott's Night Out each year.
And I should thank the also beautiful Julie Wilson, who is a close fourth behind Sherry – not to mention the world's only perfect woman. Julie went on to start her highly successful and national Hot Rawks business – but only after she sold many, many ads for The Rhinoceros Times over the years.
I want to thank every corrupt city, county and school official through the years who have done the outrageous and corrupt acts that have given all of the writers here, myself included, such great material to work with.
I need to thank the people at the Natural Science Center in charge of the penguins who let me hold the penguins while hundreds of school children looked on and wondered what was so special about me, that I got to have actual face time with the penguins while they only got to watch through a glass darkly.
Also there is Hannah Hammer, who, over the years, has taught me a lot about God (not to mention about the devil), and William Hammer, who ran the business side of The Rhino for years and who has taught me a lot about photographing beautiful women.
Speaking of beautiful women, I want to thank every single woman who has graced the pages of The Rhino in Scott's Night Out over the years, and I want everyone to know that I forgive all the Rhino readers in the area who think Scott's Night Out is the one and only thing I do here each week.
I need to thank the News & Record county beat reporters past and present. Like Alex Wayne, Nate DeGraff and Joe Killian and the other people at the News & Record who are usually very good sports when I make fun of them. Merry Christmas this week and next week I will go back to making fun of all of you again.
I also want to thank The Rhino Times delivery people because one year I forgot to thank them at a Christmas party but they are vital and without them there would be no Rhinos to be found anywhere.
And I certainly want to thank the advertisers who keep us going. As long as I live, I'll never get over the person who wrote in complaining that he liked The Rhinoceros Times but who went on to say that we had too many ads. I remember thinking: Well, mister, that's why it's free.
And there simply are not enough good things in the world that I, or anyone else, can say about Elaine Hammer, who does so much for The Rhino. All I can say about Elaine is that she is one miracle away from being a saint.
And I certainly, certainly want to thank John Hammer, the creative and driving force behind this publication and the one who, along with his brother, created and grew a highly unusual family-run weekly newspaper that has helped make this entire county a better place to live than it would have been otherwise. How many people can you say that about.
I also want to thank God for shutting down my former paper and forcing me to take this job against my will: His ways are not man's ways, but in the end, He really seems to have a handle on what He's doing.