If you are involved at all with high school or recreation-level sports in Howard County, you likely know the name Stan Ber.
For more than four decades, Stan's Bits and Pieces column has been a fixture on the sports pages of the Columbia Flier and the Howard County Times. For many years, Stan was also the full-time editor of those sports sections as well. Stan was the voice for the athletes in our communities, supporting their efforts through his writing by pointing out their athletic accomplishments, but also encouraging strong academics for the student athletes as well.
So it's with this in mind that we have a tough job in saying goodbye to Stan who is retiring after this week.
Stan, along with former sports editors Karen Brelsford and Carol Gralia, set a standard for covering local sports. And they were among the first in the nation to give women's sports equal treatment, a philosophy that we try to maintain in our current coverage every week. He was a fixture at games and, in the early years of Columbia, his coverage helped sports organizations gain legitimacy as Columbia grew from a few villages to the small city it is today. In 2009, he was inducted into the Howard County sports hall of fame.
Above all, those of us who were his colleagues appreciate Stan because he did what we try to do every day. He developed a strong connection with the community we serve by telling the stories that need to be told, highlighting those who deserve the spotlight and pointing out the ways we as a community could be better. Over the years, no one has done that any better than Stan Ber.