July 30, 2014 - At then end of June I asked folks to submit wee-little essays on the role of community newspapers here in our community. This was to showcase Community Paper Month. I sweetened the pot and said I would throw in $50 for my favorite essay.
And, wouldn't you know it -- hotdamn -- a number of your wrote! Thank you all, and here are some of your responses.
Bill Kalmar, chimed in: "What would this community be like if it didn't have a community paper?
"I would have to get my information by sitting in the heated sauna at the athletic club while talking to other male members. That would only give me a one-sided viewpoint because no women are allowed. And after an hour or so in the sauna my body would become wrinkled and clammy and thus I would quickly forget all the information and scuttlebutt that I learned as I try to unwrinkle myself! So a community paper is a better alternative unless women could join us in the sauna!"
Bill didn't win. But, he made me smile.
Melissa Morrison wrote of community papers, "Local newspapers like yours are the glue that hold the fabric of local communities together and make neighbors feel more like family."
Short, to the point. I like it. But, I'm not giving Melissa the nod.
Shirley Zanoni's closing paragraph summed her thoughts up nicely, "Our community paper is such a positive asset that I cannot imagine a week without my copy. Thank you and all the staff for being there for us all."
Former local, Joe Gretka, in part wrote: "The value and importance of the reporting is centered on details. I rely on the acommunity paper to pursue an issue until a resolution is reached. So often the larger papers make an initial report and that's the last you hear of the story. "
Cathi Dine, in part, wrote: "Community newspapers report on the activities of both local government and the community. Despite what appears to be the prevailing attitude that the Federal government is all important so I only vote in the Presidential elections, the local community is the most important entity in politics. It is activities at the local level that impact our daily lives, and it is community newspapers who report most completely on those activities.
"To be sure, community newspapers report on the happenings and doings of our local government, and I appreciate that I can get information about what is happening without having to attend every meeting of my community government. Even more important, in my mind, is the coverage of local activities. I very much enjoy seeing the photographs from events . . .
"The local Public Safety column gives me an idea about what not-so-savory activities are happening in town . . .
"And what about the advertisements? I believe most of us like to buy close to home. Having local ads available weekly is a great service, as are the Classifieds. The Obituaries serve as a way to get the word out to acquaintance . . . Simply stated, my Community Newspaper keeps me up on the pulse of the local community and I would very much miss it if it was gone. I would almost feel adrift without a source of information without it."
Another good one, but my money is gong with the next person's essay. Diane DeClerck wrote:
"Well Don, I would miss the news of the town if I couldn't read the community paper! It's sorta like going into the local grocery after church on Sunday morning and running into a bunch of people that you know. It takes forever to get outta there because you're catching up on everything.
"I'd miss the view points with ongoing dialogs where you learn people's political views or just what is bothering them of late. Sometimes this can go on and on and on where people pour their hearts out. It's kinda neat if you know them and still neater because sometimes that's how you get to know them. Sometimes you look forward to the bickering and sometimes you tire of it, especially if it's political . . .
" . . . I'd miss the crime line and chuckling over all the little details of someone's domestic dispute. The argument is broadcast to all readers and where the party lives. This is how you get to decide what areas of the township you don't want to frequent.
"I'd miss the births, deaths, engagements, weddings, and announcements. You never know when it could be someone you know or their uncle, cousin, parent, or whoever! It may help if you're into sending them a card, condolence, or congratulations.
"Oh, and the ads I would miss! I may need to save money on dog food or buying a used vehicle or getting my teeth cleaned. You never know! The public notices are important, too, since it might involve your neighbor wanting to build a shed which would block your view of their bathroom window. The classified ads have everything from firewood to tutoring to rec. equipment, and all within a short driving distance . . ."
And, now for the deciding factor in her winning:
"Then there is the Don't Rush Me column which is informative and comical at the same time, although not always written about something that important. I look forward to reading the paper every week!"
Like I've said, I'm not at all opposed to brown-nosing! I wish I woulda had more room to expand, but space is money and there's only so much to spare.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org