Saturday, April 08, 2006

Des Moines Register's Tom Witosky, a.k.a. 'The Shovel,' Can't Stay Out Of the News Even When He's Not the Guy Doing the Digging

My column yesterday about Tom Witosky, an investigative reporter at the Des Moines Register, is already bringing in comments from readers.

Witosky, who is known as "The Shovel" in newspaper circles because of the constant digging he does to get to the bottom of controversy, is one of six candidates for a teaching job at Penn State.

Judging by one e-mail I received, Pennsylvania will be a great place for Witosky to be living.

This message came from "Hawkeye In Harlan," not his real name and not his real hometown:

"Bump Elliott dislikes few people, but Witosky is one of them. Loren Tate is another because of what he did to Pete."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Bump Elliott is a former Iowa athletic director and assistant football coach. He was so well-liked in Iowa City that a street was named after him. It doesn't get much better than that for an athletic director. Pete Elliott, Bump's brother, won 12 letters as an athlete at Michigan. Among the places Pete coached were Illinois, California and Nebraska. Bump and Pete are pictured together at the upper right. Bump had plenty of dealings with Witosky when he was in charge of the Hawkeyes' athletic department. Loren Tate [upper left] is a longtime sports columnist at the Champaign [Ill.] News-Gazette who has been at odds with Iowa fans for many years].

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However, "Ethel from Estherville," another of my readers, wants Witosky to hang around a while longer.

Here's her e-mail:

"I wish that Witosky would stay long enough to really dig into this mess with the overpaid state employees. People should have to pay back money, not be slapped on the wrist and given community service."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Well, all of us will miss some of The Shovel's work if and when he gets that teaching job. Not all of the work, but some of it. However, The Shovel will be old enough to check into a nursing home if he sticks around long enough to get to the bottom of all the corruption in Des Moines].

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Evidently, Drake women's basketball coach Amy Stephens [lower right] hasn't won everyone over.

After I forwarded a story from Drake that said Stephens' contract had been extended, a season-ticketholder e-mailed me with this message:

"Thanks, Ron. I'm not sure if that is good news or not."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: What's this? You mean you're not impressed with Stephens' 47-42 record so far?]

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Speaking of being unimpressed,George Wine was less-than-enchanted with something Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register wrote.

Here's the message Wine sent to Clayworth:

To: Jason Clayworth, D.M. Register

"If the city manager got an 'anonymous' letter, as you say in your lead [Friday], how can you then tell your readers the letter came from a 'taxpayer?'

"I've been scratching my head over that one."

George Wine
Coralville, Iowa

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Something tells me it's been a confusing time on the fourth floor at 8th and Locust].

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[Ron Maly is a four-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year and also is the best-selling author of "Tales from the Iowa Sidelines," which is in its second printing as both a hardback and softback book. The book is about the rich football tradition at the University of Iowa. Maly has a heck of a lot of fun doing what he's doing. Ron's columns about sports, newspapers, his family, medicine, travel, the people he knows, the people he doesn't know, a few people he'd like to know better, a few people he once knew and is trying to forget, a few people he has already forgotten, and anything else that trips his trigger appear regularly at and When you call 515-201-5495, either Maly or the person who recorded the message on his answering machine will respond].