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This time of year has, historically, not been the best for Carbondale newspapers.

In addition to the editor dying from Spanish Flu on Christmas 1918, there’s the whole matter of The Valley Journal closing with barely a goodbye on Christmas, 2008. I’ve left that to Pat Noel and Becky Young to discuss.

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But the reality is, were it not for those twists of fate, I might never have had the opportunity to usher in the New Year at the helm of Carbondale’s nonprofit community newspaper. And that’s a real privilege, particularly this year.

We have received an unprecedented amount of support, financial and otherwise, from the community in 2018. The Sopris 100 Who Care saw fit to select us as the recipient of their second annual event and we received a significant legacy contribution from Mary Lilly’s estate. Each of our solstice fundraising campaigns met the $10,000 goal, demonstrating widespread support alongside our big donors.

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Advertising has been strong under new salesperson Carol Fabian. The rest of our roster, meanwhile, has remained almost unchanged, so our crack team is really getting a chance to settle into our roles. Far from getting stuck in a rut, however, we challenged ourselves and were awarded for it.

At our first Colorado Press Association Convention, we won first place in our distribution category for our website and both overall portfolio and a specific spread from photographer Jane Bachrach. We also learned a lot and have already put many of those lessons into print.

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Our already close relationship with KDNK has only grown closer with our half-hour radio show at 4 p.m. on Thursdays, and we’re continuing to work on partnerships with other media outlets (you might have noticed us sharing content with the Rio Blanco Herald Times, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, High Country News and Aspen Journalism). We also changed our size to better fit in with the local lineup and let us pack more into every issue.

In an effort to reduce waste, we cut back a bit on how many papers we print, but actually increased the number of locations where we drop them. We also launched an improved website and saw more than 90,000 visits — a third more than in previously record-breaking 2017. Our Instagram is nearing 1,000 followers and we’re kind of hoping to get to 2,018 Facebook likes before the year is out.

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After more than a year of “High Noon” lunches at the Pour House, I’ve decided to try a different time and place. Look for me at Blue Spruce Coffee (formerly Cilundu) in the Third Street Center at 8 a.m. Mondays. I’ll linger for 10 or 15 minutes and, if no one shows up, will continue to be available in our office just around the corner.

While we’ve greatly enjoyed putting on and promoting Classic Movie Night, we’ve decided to take this year off and focus on putting together a big 10th birthday celebration in February — with some other plans in the works for August.

All this is supported by our tireless volunteer board. We’d like to thank Marilyn Murphy and Raleigh Burleigh for agreeing to another year in their roles as president and vice president in 2019, as well as new board members Linda Criswell and Klaus Kocher for stepping into the positions of secretary and treasurer, respectively. A warm welcome to April Spaulding and a fond farewell to Olivia Pevec, Cliff Colia and Debbie Bruell.

Over the next six weeks, I invite you all to remember or imagine Carbondale without a newspaper. Then come celebrate the alternative.

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