Editor’s note: The monthly milestone column, which appears on the second day of each month – the anniversary of The Ann Arbor Chronicle’s launch – is an opportunity for either the publisher or the editor of The Chronicle to touch base with readers on topics related to this publication.
The appearance of this monthly column does not mark any particular quantifiable achievement, but rather the simple passage of time. It’s just an occasion to note that another month is in the books for The Chronicle.
It’s a measurement of survival.
Other kinds of milestones are easy enough to contemplate as well. Among those are the finer-grained milestones – the odd statistics that reflect the actual activity that goes into the survival of a publication. For example, a query of the Chronicle’s database shows 540 government meeting reports filed in a little over three years. Included in 141 of those reports is the public commentary of Thomas Partridge. The database also contains 2,832 Stopped.Watched. observations. Of those, 614 were made along Liberty Street.
These smaller kinds of incremental milestones are important, too, because they reflect not the passage of time, but the actual stuff out of which survival is made. I was reminded of this by news of an upcoming event, sponsored by Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (A2A3), which continues that organization’s effort to ensure survival for patients with ALS – a neurological disorder commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
The event itself will take place next summer. It’s a six-woman relay swim across the English Channel, in both directions. That’s 42 miles of swimming. As part of the fundraising effort, A2A3 is inviting people to do their own swims (or runs) locally. They’ve computed a running-miles equivalent of 73.5 miles for a one-way channel swim. The six-woman relay hopes to break the world record for such a channel swim of 18 hours 59 minutes.
Thinking about people who want to participate in the event locally, most of them would not be able to hop into Half Moon Lake and swim for 19 hours. And most local runners would not be able to lace up a pair of shoes and hit the pavement, knocking out 73.5 miles all in one go.
So A2A3 is providing a log sheet for those who register to participate. That way people can keep track of their miles over a longer period of time. There’s no requirement that people complete their miles at the same time the channel swim takes place, in the summer of 2012. You can start right now.
Those log sheets will measure milestones that aren’t counted with a calendar. And those are the kind of milestones I want to think about this month.