This week has gone by incredibly fast. We worked hard to get this paper to press, worked on the March 23 and March 30 paper, and are about to hit send on the Taste of the Peaks Spring edition. Right now that looks like 120 pages of published work, simultaneously, for the last week. No small task, I assure you.
This week also wraps up the Better News Contest submissions (Friday at noon) for the Colorado Press Association. Last year I missed the ball on submitting our entries. This year, I have submitted some of our best work, to honor all of our amazing staff and what they contribute to this publication.
One of my roles is to assign and gather content for all of those pages. Another role is to lay out some of that content. Thankfully, I don’t have to lay out all of it. And, while I did lay out most of this week’s paper (so Cynthia Davis can focus on the Taste of the Peaks), I will not be laying out most of the March 23 or 30 editions. When I do layout, I am reminded how much I love starting with a blank palette. And how awesome it is to try to put all the puzzle pieces together to make the work of art this paper is every week. I am also reminded that while I have done this for over a decade, I am not a pro at design. I merely make it functional. Cynthia turns it into a masterpiece. For that, I am exceptionally grateful.
Another role I have filled for many years is that of advertising sales and marketing coordinator. I am so lucky to have Lenny on staff now to fill that role. He was integral in helping to sell Taste of the Peaks advertising. Check out his bio on page 9. Lenny brings humor to my email inbox every day. He is exceptionally funny and sends things that continuously make me smile. And he has great connections with the business community of Nederland and beyond. Look out Gilpin and northwest Boulder County, he is gonna meet each of you as we move forward.
Other staff roles that are so important to making our process run smoothly each week are having amazing editors. Lynn and Sara have been an incredible part of the team for years. Lynn does first edit on all government stories and a few of the columns. Sara does first edit on all others. Then Lynn does a second edit on the entire paper (and Taste of the Peaks). And Sara does final edits on the paper. I swear these two catch every comma, period and punctuation error, as well as grammatical errors, AP Style changes and more. After that, Cynthia and I make all remaining changes and eventually hit “send” to get it to press. This is no small task. It takes us from Thursday to Wednesday every week. We work most weekends and don’t have many days when we are not online, at least for a while. I’m thankful everything is digital now and we can primarily work from home or the office locations we have around the Peak to Peak.
I’m grateful for Christopher Kelly and Omayra Acevedo, for their tireless work covering the news of the Peak to Peak. Both have stepped into full-time positions after working piecemeal for quite some time. Each contributes about a third of the paper each week. Not to mention John Scarffe, who has worked for the paper for decades and contributes all of our Gilpin and Black Hawk government, as well as Coal Creek and Gilpin features.
I’m grateful to Jamie Lammers for his weekly music column and podcast contributions. And Dango Rose for his podcast production work (Cynthia works on this as well). Aloric Davis is also still behind the scenes here with podcast editing too. And Mindy Leary for her fire department coverage and Central City coverage. Dave Gibson provides wonderful features and sports stories, Curt Halsted covers Gilpin Schools, Kirsten Springer covers business features, Kirk C. Watkins covers Jamestown and northwest Boulder County, Our columnists include Karen Anderson, Denise Boehler, Lorena DeSanta, James DeWalt, Alexander Joseph, John MacKay, Frank Sanders and Amy Skinner. Volunteers include Doug Armitage, Mark Cohen and Derek Ridgley.
I’m grateful for EVERY member of our team. I’ve said it before and I still say it, and mean it, “The Mountain-Ear is made up of close to 40 contributors per month. Each staff member is one spoke in a very large wheel. Without one spoke, the wheel does not turn effectively. We welcome community journalists and homegrown journalism.”
My interns are awesome and Cameron Thomason is working on senior stories for Gilpin (those will start next week). Hayden Hardt-Zeman and Noah Turner will work on Nederland senior stories. And we have Annika Marschke and Ande Hammers as well. Ande handles our social media and Annika submits stories about homeschool and Coal Creek Canyon.
And we couldn’t do any of this without our circulation team. Terri Vernon has been taking on pickup and delivery, as well as labeling since last fall. We are joined each week by Sara Banker, Tanya Unger and Rick Rudstrom for labeling as well. It takes an entire team to make this a reality and get this paper out to you, our readers.
Starting April 3, we will have regular office hours in Central City (so far it’s been by appointment to work around all these staff transitions). We will also have our new Advertising and Marketing Coordinator down there for regular appointments. And in June, we will have office hours in Nederland (also currently by appointment only because of our limited space). The new office is being remodeled and upgraded to offer a beautiful space and will have some exciting news soon about other ideas for the business.
As we prepare to close out the first quarter with our new ownership transition, I am grateful for several things. Beyond the amazing staff I get to work with, I am grateful for the financial support that paper now has, that has been so desperately needed. Having run the paper on a shoestring for over 16 years, I cannot put into words the relief of having a fully funded budget that supports all of these needed positions. And funds the print costs and fees associated with running a newspaper.
We have exciting things happening here, folks. Keep an eye on us as we continue to grow and change to meet your needs as readers.