Week in review: Crypts and chips

Two of the stories I wrote this week were ones I especially enjoyed for very different reasons. One pulled at the heartstrings; the other poked at the funny bone.

The first, about volunteer teenage pallbearers, reminded me how extraordinary this job is and how I get to glimpse events that would otherwise go unnoticed — much like the unclaimed remains of the 10 men and women these boys escorted to a crypt on Thursday. Catholic schools across the country have started pallbearer groups to bury those who die poor and alone. An all-boys Jesuit high school in Cleveland formed the first St. Joseph of Arimathea Pallbearers Society in 2002, and boys at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo have been doing this work since 2014. On Thursday, I accompanied them to a local cemetery to entomb 10 of Toledo’s indigent dead.

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On a sprawling education beat that includes universities, colleges, and local K-12 school districts, it’s difficult to find time for features, let alone ones that aren’t classroom-related. I’m glad I had time to do this one, and so were readers. About a dozen people called to thank the newspaper for telling this story.

Another story I wrote this week, about a young mayor celebrating his successful Twitter crusade to bring a Chipotle to his city, was one of those quirky bits that when written with the appropriate amount of irreverence can amount to something more than the sum of its parts: Small town + guacamole-loving constituents + social media savvy mayor = kind of hilarious story that illuminates how to govern in modern times. If the people want burritos the size of a child’s arm, they shall have them. At least, in Tiffin, Ohio.

Here’s the tweet from the mayor that launched a thousand burritos:

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