By MARGIE NETZEL - firstname.lastname@example.org
“Folks, it’s Tuesday night — time for headlines.”
A front page of the Ashtabula Star Beacon was featured Tuesday by late night talk show host Jay Leno during the ‘headlines’ portion of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Leno, who routinely points out comical mistakes, misspellings and odd situations printed in newspapers from across the country, poked fun at the Star Beacon’s headline “Park Haven on block.” The story, which made news nationwide, refers to the real estate auction of Park Haven Nursing Home, which caught fire more than a year ago when a methamphetamine laboratory exploded.
Leno pointed out the story’s sub-headline, which reads “Nursing home with meth lab will be auctioned March 21.”
“It’s hard to believe they are selling this place,” he joked. “You’d think they could make money on a nursing home with a meth lab.”
Staff writer Shelly Terry, who penned the story for the Feb. 1 edition of the paper, was all smiles about her brush with late night fame Wednesday afternoon.
Terry learned her story was featured on Leno’s show when former co-worker Megan Poinski posted it on Facebook.
“This was a very fun thing to have happen to me,” she said. “Megan even said that of all her former co-workers, I’d be the one to be on Jay Leno!”
Terry, who has reported on everything from fires, council meetings and UFO sightings in her 12-year career at the Star Beacon, is known for her quick wit and sense of humor around the office and around the community. She was even voted “Class Clown” of the Jefferson High School Class of 1975.
She said there is never a dull moment in reporting the news in Ashtabula County.
“I have to say, there’s something different every day,” she said.
Terry said she wasn’t surprised that one of her stories about the Park Haven fire would make it to national television.
“I had actually thought that the story might make Leno, just because the story was so unusual and because it went to newspapers and news stations nationally,” she said.
This isn’t the first time the Star Beacon was featured on Leno’s show. Several years ago staff writer Mark Todd’s story about a North Kingsville robbery was the focus of Leno’s comedy.
The story and headline were safe — it was the composite sketch of the suspect that was funny, as the drawing made the suspect look like he was wearing a beekeeper’s outfit.
As for the Park Haven story, Leno seems to think the two-for-one deal of nursing home and meth lab should increase the Park Avenue building’s re-sale value.
“What a perfect combination!” he said.