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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Belleville dog is Numero Uno

Uno front pageThe world's second-most famous beagle -- sorry, Snoopy remains No. 1 -- was bred and born right here in Belleville, Ill.

Tuesday night, Uno won Best of Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.

"We knew from the very beginning that he is a special one," Uno's breeder and owner, Kathy Weichert of Belleville, told the Belleville News-Democrat before the win. Weichert owns K-Run Kennels in Belleville. "He is the kind of dog every breeder dreams of producing. There is no other way to put it. He is what you strive for."

The Page A1 I designed for the News-Democrat was a bit of a headache because the award wasn't given until about 10 p.m. CST Tuesday. I'm supposed to have our first edition Page A1 out by 11:30 p.m. Plenty of time, right?

Not really.

We had one picture taken Monday already in the slot, but I was hoping for a photo from that evening to put in there. The photos from The Associated Press didn't start trickling in until about 10:15. I had picked one of Uno howling after his victory, but I was hoping for something better.

The photo we ended up using came about 10:40, but there were a few problems. One, the original photo was a horizontal photo, and the photo had to be a vertical because I had no time to do a completely new layout. Two, Uno's genitalia were clearly showing. Three, Uno's handler had one of his hands very close to Uno's crotch.

I took a few moments to crop the photo to what I needed and rushed it to our pre-press department for toning to make sure it reproduces correctly on our printing press. Many thanks to Jill Beiter for taking the late photo and working so quickly to get it right.

It took a few more minutes to make final crops to the photos and cuts to the stories to make everything fit. It was 11:05 p.m. before I could print proofs for my copy desk colleagues for our last chance to catch mistakes before they go to print. There were other deadline pages that also needed to be proofed, so I did let go of the page until 11:34, four minutes late.

After deadline, several of us had a late drink at the Blue Agave club in downtown Belleville. One of my colleagues, Dale Parker, seemed really excited about the beagle's victory.

"They ought to put a statue of the beagle on the Public Square!" Dale exclaimed. "They should have a parade for the beagle!"

Given that it doesn't take much for Belleville to have a parade and that they're well-attended by the public -- people chain lawnchairs to sign posts more than seven hours in advance of the city's annual Shrine Circus Parade in June -- I would not be surprised to see Uno atop a Belleville firetruck cruising down Main Street.

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