Nothing gets the attention of newspaper readers across the country like sex or murder. Statistics show throughout the decades that give the public a story about either, or in some cases both, readership soars everywhere.

While some may argue that the scenario provides a sad commentary on our country, that’s the reality of it. How else can one explain the through-the-roof popularity of afternoon soaps and grocery store tabloids?

The soaps don’t offer prize-winning acting, and the tabloids have little journalistic integrity, but both nevertheless are staples for many American viewers and readers. If you don’t believe it, check the ratings and the circulation statistics.

We’ve got all of that, plus money and more, in our local case involving the murder of Hermitage urologist Dr. Gulam Moonda and the story as it swirls around his wife, Donna, and her former lover, Damian Bradford of Beaver County.

As everyone knows, Bradford admitted to killing Dr. Moonda in May 2005 along the Ohio Turnpike. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison in exchange for his testimony that prosecutors say implicates Mrs. Moonda in the slaying.

She’s in an Ohio jail and facing charges, that if she’s found guilty, could lead to life in prison or the death penalty. While she awaits a hearing, the big question that will be answered Tuesday is whether she’ll be permitted to post bail or be kept in the clink.

Both sides are getting their ducks in order. The defense maintains all of her money from IRAs to personal belongings will be spent on her defense and that she poses no threat to flee or to harm others. Prosecutors are on the other side of that fence, and it all falls into the lap of Senior Judge David Dowd.

It’s a sad story because it involves the horrific death of a terrific local doctor, but nevertheless, a story that needs to be told. When and how it will end hangs in the balance, and when it finally does, you can bet that a TV movie about the tragedy will follow.

How much has technology played a part in this story? Police say Mrs. Moonda and Bradford plotted much of the scheme via text-messages by cell phone. A reader of The Herald called me last week, thanking us for what she described as “great coverage,” and for our expanded role on the Internet.

“I’m still reading the paper, but I’ve been calling up The Herald homepage on my cell phone for the updates you’ve been giving.” I guess you can say that’s the bad and the good of our ability to communicate in the 21st Century.

Blue Streak still has it

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I never know when my latest ride on the Blue Streak at Conneaut Lake Park will be my last because of the park’s annual financial struggles to stay open. So here it is, one more time.

I went to the park on July 23 after being invited to the summer picnic hosted by Muscarella’s Café Italia, primarily for its employees. It’s always a great time, but more importantly, it shows how much the Patton family that owns the business appreciates its staff.

One of the highlights on any trip to the park is a ride on the Blue Streak. Every year, after riding it hundreds of times in my life, I wonder if it’ll lose the pop that makes it one of the best wooden coasters anywhere. Of course, it hasn’t.

From the first hill to the dynamic curve as the train gives its riders a fleeting glimpse of Camperland near the main entrance of the park, the Blue Streak — despite tons of competition throughout the country — remains one of the best and thrilling coasters anywhere.

The editor’s mailbag

The following is one of the many calls and messages that have come across my desk concerning the school crossing guards story in Sharon: “I read your opinion column and I can’t understand why school crossing guards have to be paid. At UPMC Hospital in Greenville, they have Red Jackets. These Red Jackets, or people who wear them are all volunteers. So why can’t people who really care about kids’ safety volunteer? Good question, isn’t it?

“Is this a good way to keep taxes down or not? I’m sure some senior citizens out there, who have nothing else to do, wouldn’t mind doing the job. Otherwise, sorry kids, you’ll just have to take your chances crossing the street.

“Also, there are places I have seen in school areas in the morning and again when school lets out that have flashing yellow lights with a 15 or 20 mph speed limit.”

Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays. His e-mail is


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