Nov 18, 2016 - Margie Rowell, LanderEditor:
I was sickened upon reading your most recent story about the accidental death of my husband, Ryck Pedersen. The headline was the height of sensationalism not only that, the story was inaccurate.
We live in a small community where people like Ryck can have an impact on hundreds of people, and Ryck did that. He had lived here since 1979. Ryck mentored two generations of students at Lander Valley High School as an auto mechanics teacher and was beloved by his students and his fellow teachers. Since his death, several former students have gone out of their way to tell me what he meant to them and the impact he had on their lives. One told me that he owned a business because of the skills he learned from classes that Ryck taught; one told me that the reason he did not drop out of school was because of Ryck; and a parent of a former student told me that the only reason his child got out of bed and went to school was because of Ryck's class.
The coroner's report, which the paper got a copy of, said that alcohol was "not relevant," yet your headline made it sound as if it was. Your suggestion to the contrary was nothing more than a crass attempt to sensationalize his death. Your article was insensitive, not only to Ryck's family but to the community and all the people whose lives he touched. I hope in the future that you will remember that you are writing about real people, who have families and friends and in some cases, deep roots in the community. You owe us all an apology.
Editor's note: This letter refers to a story in The Lander Journal
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