A “Neighbors” item about weekly newspapers was appreciated by this woman, because she has a family connection with those publications.

Lola Patnoude, of Breckenridge, Minn., writes that her mother, Mrs. W.A. (Ann) Murray, once was a correspondent for the weekly Devils Lake (N.D.) World as well as the Devils Lake Daily Journal.

“She wrote the news about her Dry Lake community (15 miles northwest of Devils Lake) for many years,” Lola tells “Neighbors.”

“Each Monday she would do her calling, then write it on Tuesday (handwritten), choosing the lead items, such as when one of the community organizations met, someone had company from afar or there was a special event. The remainder of her ‘news’ was about the usual visiting people did.

“Mother had graduated from Crary (N.D.) High School, attended Mayville (N.D.) State Normal School one summer, and taught in one-room country schools six years until she and her husband began 44 years of farming in Dry Lake Township. Then they retired and moved into Devils Lake, where they resided 20 more years.

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“I guess I’ve followed in my mother’s footsteps,” Lola writes, “as I’ve been sending items to the Wahpeton-Breckenridge Daily News regularly, too.”

Yes, those community correspondents have always been important contributors to their newspapers in telling of who-visited-who and other such news, right, neighbors?

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Here, for the first time...

And here’s an email from Shawna Schuler, Fergus Falls, Minn., who writes she chuckled over a column about strange wording that is commonly used.

“A phrase I dislike is, ‘first time since,’” Shawna says. ”It’s often used by sports announcers.

“There can only be one ‘first time,'" she notes.

She adds that her daughters-in-law and son-in-law who are from different parts of the country “love to point out the funny phrases I use. We’ve had a lot of laughs at my expense! Uffda!”

Uffda indeed. And now Myrna Lyng, Mayville, N.D., contributes several more strange wordings, such as “is currently.” “How about just ‘is’?” she asks.

“Former graduate” or “former alumnus.” “Being an alumnus or graduate is sort of like being pregnant; you either are or you aren’t,” she says.

Here are more odd wordings Myrna sent “Neighbors,” along with her comments:

“‘Where is it at?’ ‘Where’ says it all. No need to be redundant by adding an ‘at.’

“‘Would of.’ I think this came about because people heard the contraction for ‘would have’ but never saw it written (would’ve).

“‘Formally’ instead of ‘formerly.’ I sometimes see this misuse in obituaries: ‘Joe MuFraw, formally of West Overshoe, Mont., died.’ Does the person ‘informally’ live elsewhere?

“‘Out of bounce.’ Even experienced sportscasters use this term for ‘out of bounds.’ I think ‘out of bounce’ means that somebody should buy a new ball.

“Also often heard in the sports realm is ‘untracked’ when the person means ‘on track.’ ‘Untracked’ means the opposite of ‘on track,’ and the incorrect usage means that the person is really sending the wrong message.

“‘Camradry’ instead of ‘camaraderie.’

“‘Real’ versus ‘very.’ We hear a person say he knows another ‘real well.’ I was once told that the way to remember when to use each is to think of looking at a string of pearls and ask, ‘Are these real or very pearls?’

“As a matter of fact, I went to the English handbook I used at Walhalla, N.D., High School to see what it had to say about ‘real’ and ‘very.’ Long story short, a note following the explanation said that the adverb ‘very’ is so much overused it has little meaning. Man, if it was overused in the 1950s, think how that misuse has increased exponentially since.

“My last item (and I’m sure you’re aware of this),” Myrna concludes, “is that punctuation saves lives. I refer specifically to the inclusion or the exclusion of our friend, the comma.

“I have a T-shirt that says, ‘Let’s eat Grandma.’

“Grandma will still be alive if her grandkids insert a comma.”

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email blind@forumcomm.com.