Story ideas can come from anywhere.
They can be phoned in by a tipster, generated during local government coverage or plucked from the study of societal trends.
And sometimes they crawl across your neck.
A few weeks ago, I took a walk through a local state forest to look for deer tracks, scrapes and rubs. It was a nice little walk, although I didn't see much in the way of deer sign.
A few hours later, while watching television at home, I felt a tickle on my neck. Reaching up, I pulled off a deer tick.
Deer ticks are the primary vector for Lyme disease. But the last time I had looked into the issue of Lyme disease, I had noted that Otsego County did not have a very high incident rate. I remembered also hearing something about how deer ticks weren't too prevalent in the area.
The next day, we received a media release from the State University College at Oneonta Biological Field Station. The subject: a suspected increase in prevalence of deer ticks on state forests in Otsego County.
The result was a combination story on the increase Lyme disease in Otsego County and the prevalence of deer ticks.
Fortunately, I was not on that deer tick's menu.
This will be the fifth Christmas I have spent in Oneonta, and the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has become a tradition in my family.
There is just something really neat about an old-fashioned train decorated for the holidays traveling across North America. The musicians are pretty good, too.
It's tough to complain about a free concert, especially one designed to help raise money to help feed struggling families over the holidays.
But the one thing I heard people take note of is how short the 30-minute shows seem, especially this year's edition, which started and ended a few minutes early.