Celebrating Two Years in the Community

This month we celebrate the 24th edition of The Observer of Clarke County.

We are still a work in progress, and expect that will always be the case. We’ll always try to improve and keep things fresh while honoring the history and special character of the community.

But one thing that will never change is our core vision of what we are trying to create and maintain as your community paper. While it’s partly about telling the stories of the community, of getting a snapshot of a moment in time, for us it’s also about inviting the community to participate in telling those stories.

Whether it’s news about charity events or art openings, a sensitive issue about school funding or disagreement over regulation—like a story covered in this edition—the community is both the story and the storytellers.

We hear folks say that they feel like the Observer belongs to them. And that’s the way we feel, too. That is our goal.

Already, a lot of people pitch in. In this edition, for example, there is a photo by Michael Hobert in the story about water regulation. He had emailed about something else while I was frantically looking for a photo, so I shot back, “Hey, can I use one of your farm photos? I’m doing a story about Waters of the U.S.” A short while later there were several choices in my email box.

That’s how some of Pam Lettie’s wonderful pictures have also appeared in the Observer; she pitched in to help illustrate a community story.

That’s the way a lot of the stories come to us, too—from a telephone call or an email pointing out a story that the community might want to know about.

Sometimes it’s like being the telephone operator on the Andy Griffith show, like when someone called a few weeks ago to inquire about the whereabouts of our writer Jennifer Lee—“haven’t seen her lately.” I assured the caller Jennifer was okay; she is working on the American Conservation Film Festival over in Shepherdstown (which, by the way takes place the last weekend of the month).

Ultimately, we couldn’t tell community stories without the support of our advertisers. They are partners in this community venture. Without them we couldn’t do it. When your Observer arrives each month, we hope that you take the time to notice each advertisement and support the businesses that help keep us coming. Especially as the holidays approach, look to shop locally.

You can support the Observer by supporting our advertisers. While you are there, thank them for bringing you your community paper.

Thanks to everyone for your support and your participation!