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October 24, 2016
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Making ready, making room

Laurie Stuart

A message from the publisher
By Laurie Stuart

The cicadas are on a 17-year cycle. I seem to be on one that is seven. For it was seven years ago that I packed up a few boxes and moved myself to Berkeley, CA for 10 months. That time it was for seminary; this time I am packing for a ministerial internship.

Interestingly, I don’t plan these things.

Similar to the freak snowstorm that stranded me in Tampa, FL on Valentine’s Day 2006 that led to my application to graduate school, the announcement of the 10-month internship in Port Townsend, WA, came on the one-year anniversary of my visit to that very town at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. I was there to spend the day with my older brother following the unexpected and sudden death of our younger brother. While a sad, hard day, I remember the beauty of the water and the hills, the vibrancy of the town, its farmers’ market and Main Street craft store and how it reminded me of the Upper Delaware. And I remember remarking to myself, “I could live here.”

A year later I wondered whether that was a prophetic thought when the Wednesday morning announcement instructed simply: “If you want to hear more, email the minister.”

How could I not? The time was so coincidental; the offer felt like an invitation on behest of my little brother.

Following a pretty quick interview process, I was offered a position to be a part of a three-person clergy team at the Quimper Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship in Port Townsend, WA. It is a lively congregation of 350 members.

I am thrilled and terrified by the prospect of packing up my car on August 10 and driving across the country. Husband Stephen will be accompanying me on the ride, helping me to settle into a one-bedroom B&B unit in the home of one of the congregants, and then flying back home. I will then begin a 10-month internship, complete with learning goals, committee supervision and a supervisory minister. Upon completion, I will have moved myself through yet another UU ministerial ordination requirement.

Here at The River Reporter, we have been making ready for this sabbatical. Each week since winter, we have developed procedures for a leadership team, which will handle all of the day-to-day operations. We’ve been handing off responsibilities, streamlining our systems. It’s been a great process and I am delighted with the enthusiasm and the dedication of the staff and for their vision of the paper in the coming year.

Started by Tom DiGaetani, the first managing director of Lincoln Center, in 1975, one year before he founded the Delaware Arts Center, The River Reporter has always been blessed with very talented and dedicated staff. Journalists and those who want to work on newspapers are a special breed of community workers. They are willing to lend their hearts, bodies and minds working together. They do it for the love of community and the unique service that a newspaper provides to readers. (Newspaper work is hard because it is always changing, the attention to detail is relentless and one deadline rolls right into another. The hours are long and the wages are moderately low.) Still, over the years, many valley residents, either in the long term or the short term, have shared their gifts with The River Reporter and the paper has grown because of it. For all that, I am extremely grateful.

We’re excited for the future as we are expanding our news coverage, our social media presence and overall the breadth of the topics we cover. We’ll be debuting a new parenting section “Nurture” and food feature this month, and adding a focus of sustainability in the August edition of Our Country Home.

We’re loving the growing Facebook community, planning for the return of Amphibian for the 2013-14 school year. We’re building on successful collaborations with organizations such as Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and other publications like Green Door magazine. We continue to provide media sponsorship of arts and community events and we’re excited by the newly emerging consciousness and energy about branding the Upper Delaware.

And we invite everyone to consider how to continue to support and strengthen The River Reporter: to grow our coverage, to create new collaborations, to grow our readership.

We’re all poised for the future together. Thanks to everyone who got us here. Thanks for all your good intentions and hard work going forward.

It truly does take a community to publish a paper. Welcome and thank you.