We had a story online yesterday and in The Gazette today about a company-wide re-organization.
I won’t go into many details here, as the particulars have been covered by Steve Buttry and Lyle Muller, but I have updated the list of newsroom people using Twitter to reflect the new, lower staffing levels.
The future of this blog is uncertain. My position as social media guide will have less to do with putting out the daily paper and online edition than it has so far and more to do with training reporters and connecting with the community in other ways.
So my question to you all is: Is this blog useful at all? I realize that other than the daily story lineups, the posting on here has been spotty. Do you want to see something like this blog continue, no matter who’s writing it?
As always, you can leave comments or shoot me an e-mail.

We’re working on a story about how the economy is affecting people and the changes they’re making.
What we want to know is how the economic downturn is changing your life, if at all, what you’re willing to give up to save money and what you refuse to do without.
If you’re interested in talking with us, you can leave a comment, e-mail me or e-mail the reporter, Carla Keppler.

It’s harder than it used to be to find free air to inflate your tires at gas stations.
What used to be a courtesy service for customers is either gone or now costs 50 or 75 cents.
So a question for all of you: do you drive around looking for free air at gas stations? Or are you willing to pay for it? If you know where to get free air, where do you go?
As always, you can leave your comments or e-mail me.

Sorry there were no posts yesterday, I went home with the flu and the front page stories never made it up.
But talking about the flu got us thinking: everyone has their own remedy for a winter cold or the flu.
So what is your sure-fire cure for a winter bug? My grandmother recommended a drop of rye whiskey in a cup of tea with honey and lemon.
Share your ideas with us, and we’ll highlight some in an upcoming story. You can leave a comment, or e-mail me.

By Cindy Hadish
The Gazette
For many Americans, losing a job means losing health insurance.
A new report shows why most workers who are laid off are destined to join the ranks of the uninsured despite the availability of extended health insurance coverage.
High costs are to blame.
The report by the consumer health organization, Families USA, points to the unaffordability of COBRA coverage, under which laid-off workers can retain their employer-sponsored insurance if those workers pay the full cost.
In 41 states, COBRA family premiums, on average, consume more than three-fourths of average unemployment benefits, according to the report.
Iowa is no exception.
Family premiums in Iowa average $991, or 76.8 percent of the $1,290 in average unemployment benefits.
Singles fare better, with premiums averaging $369, or 28.6 percent of the $1,290 average monthly unemployment benefit.
Have you encountered difficulties affording COBRA health coverage? Contact reporter Cindy Hadish at (319) 398-8428 or cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

A lot of people — Eastern Iowans included — are excited for Jan. 20 as a new era in politics with the inauguration of Barack Obama.
So please share with us your hopes and dreams for the Obama presidency.
Selected submissions will be published Jan. 20 in a special inauguration edition.
E-mail submissions to Mary Sharp and please attach your picture. Submissions can be mailed to Mary Sharp, The Gazette, P.O. Box 511, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406; please include your picture, if available.

Monument at Crash Site, September 16, 2003.

And we’re wondering if you still remember.

Feb. 3, 2009 is the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, popularly known as The Day the Music Died.

The trio were taking a plane from Clear Lake to a show in Minnesota.

The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, the site of the Trio’s last show, is holding a celebration of their music, and The Gazette is writing about it. Arts and Entertainment writer Eric Clark is looking for people who were either at the show or know someone who was. You can reach Eric at (319) 368-8809 or by e-mail.

2789333-las-obama-02_10_2007-181544The inauguration is 15 days away, and we want to see your stories and pictures from Barack Obama’s campaign in Iowa.
One of his first events after announcing his candidacy was at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, and we have photos from his travels around Eastern Iowa.
Maybe you do, too.
If you do, we’d like you to share them with us. Were you there on Feb. 10, 2007, when he visited Kennedy? At one of the other events?
If you have a picture of yourself with him, or have a story you’d like to tell, e-mail me at jamie.kelly@gazcomm.com

I’m working on a story about New Year’s Resolutions, and I’m curious to see if anyone has started thinking about theirs for 2009.
If you’re interested in sharing your resolution, you can either leave a comment or send me an e-mail. We’re going to run some of the most interesting on the front page Dec. 31.

The Cedar Rapids City Council is looking at the possibility of red-light cameras at crash-prone intersections.
The comments fall into two categories: don’t run red lights and you have nothing to worry about and outrage about the invasion of privacy.
Where do you fall on that issue? You can vote below, or you can leave a comment. And, of course, you can e-mail ne