For a newspaper that seldom sends a reporter so far as Mountain Home, this was a first. After Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter announced he was taking a trip to the rogue island nation of Cuba to talk about potatoes and Communism, we were intrigued. But with every other newspaper and media outlet in Idaho getting told to fuggeddaboudit, we weren't so sure it would even be possible, let alone legal, to send someone to Castro Country. So when BW freelancer Nathaniel Hoffman said he might be able to pull it off, BW Editor Shea Andersen said, "Sure!" thinking he wouldn't really have to worry about it. Then we got word back: Hoffman had gotten in, the Cuban government would give him a visa, and we were about to launch our first foreign reporting escapade, the only Idaho paper to do so in Cuba. We just wish we could have been there when Otter and his entourage walked into the lobby of the Hotel Nacional in Havana and saw Hoffman, representing BW, waiting for them. For the next several days, Hoffman beat the streets of Havana, toured the countryside with the sunburned Idahoans and reported it all back for BW's pages. Soon enough, Andersen was getting calls from local media outlets who wanted to know how it was that he was so smart. And what do you know, he didn't work really hard to correct those notions. In the end, we got great stories, Hoffman picked up a few new stamps in his passport, and Otter just might have become a reader, for at least one issue.
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