Having ended a six-year stint in May as your newsletter editor, I passed the torch back to Wally Hartshorn, who first edited The REALL News when he, Chairman David and I formed REALL. Despite the many deadline crunches and lack-of-sleep-due-to-late-night-editing/typesetting marathons, I have been proud of the fact that we cooperatively managed to produce 8- to 12-page newsletters monthly (with two double issues) a feat that few, if any, local skeptic groups have matched.
Through the years, we've brought you many fascinating articles on alien phenomena by the prolific Martin Kottmeyer, and one of them was reproduced in CSICOP's "Skeptical Briefs" newsletter. There was the ongoing controversies with therapeutic touch and false memories. Feature articles on most skeptic topics from alien abductions to urban legends have appeared. Chairman David has brought us memorable "REALLity Checks" that praised and skewered various media for their reporting on paranormal and pseudoscientific subjects. Book reviews, weird Web sites, even a three-part series on tabloid coverage of these subjects by yours truly have filled the pages of The REALL News, all in support of REALL's mission to enhance critical thinking in Central Illinois. The newsletter, along with the monthly meetings, unofficial Web site and contacts with other skeptic organizations and conferences have helped all of us become a little wiser.
My only real disappointment has been the lack of feedback from our readers, members and supporters. I suppose that I could look at the near absence of feedback as an indication that our readers are happy with our efforts. That may be, but voluntarily producing monthly newsletters and meetings in our spare time outside of jobs and family life is exhausting. We are always open to article suggestions, articles written by our members, letters to the editor, newspaper clippings, suggestions for speakers or activities, and volunteers to help make those activities a reality. Alas, only a handful have ever done the real physical work needed to make REALL an active organization.
That said, I am nevertheless quite grateful for the continuing financial support provided by our members. Many of you renew year after year, and many live outside the Central Illinois area. So I do understand that the only support you can give is financial. For that support, many thanks.
As Wally continues to edit the newsletter into the future, do consider providing any additional help or suggestions that come to mind. It's been a great start, and I look forward to working with you to fight the ongoing battles against irrational thinking, superstitions, and unfounded paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs that have no place in a rational future.
Bob Ladendorf is the secretary-treasurer of REALL.