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When does a national story reach the point where it matters enough to put it into the Independent?

We don't have to ask ourselves that question very often, because most of our cover stories automatically have a local focus. Granted, a presidential election might be different, yet even then we'd look for ways to localize it.

But when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and environmental crisis continued this long, with no hope for a short-term solution, it had to find its way onto our pages. To make that happen, we chose a piece by Daniela Perdomo, a writer for Alternet (or, if you prefer, alternet.org). Her angle, exploring 10 things you'd rather not know about the BP oil spill (starting here), was timeless. To illustrate it, several recent works by Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker did the job as well as photos ever could.

Still, we wanted at least a loose local tie. Then I thought about living in Northwest Florida, where those oil globs will begin making landfall any moment now, and that led to this week's Between the Lines, a companion piece for the cover story. I'd rather not write about myself, but since we were allowing other exceptions, this one made too much sense.

And if you've ever had that brilliant white sand between your toes, you understand.

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