By: Forrest R. Church, Publisher
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
I am writing on the Saturday morning before Labor Day from the home office. We continue to enjoy some of the nicest weather I can remember in Northwest Ohio. As I enjoy a cup of coffee I am noticing that there are slight hints of Fall as a few trees in the wood line are showing signs of color change. You can certainly now feel a bit of “nip” in the air in the early a.m. hours.
Will we enjoy an Indian Summer? I cannot recall another year in which the grass has grown at this rate in September in my adult life. Usually mowing slows down to every other week this time of year; the grass is growing like it is May which is not good for those of us that have fallen behind on a weekly mow. This makes me wonder what Winter 22-23 will be like?
Though this column will publish after the Labor Day holiday I hope you were able to enjoy the weekend!
CAUGHT MY EYE (POYNTER) – “Gannett CEO Mike Reed told staff in a company wide Q&A session Wednesday that Gannett laid off 3% of its U.S. workforce, or roughly 400 employees, in August, according to three people who attended the meeting. The announcement comes more than two weeks after Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain with more than 200 papers, executed a round of layoffs starting Aug. 12.”
Have I mentioned before how important it is to support your local media whether The Village Reporter and/or any other local newspaper(s)? It is a challenging time in this industry. Just like your local mom and pop shops we (local small businesses) need your support more now than ever. Beyond the obvious reasons, it is important to keep in mind we operate in a low population base area of the country, there are only so many potential customers in our small farm villages.
We have been blessed at The Village Reporter to have grown during these difficult times and are always desiring to expand our local news coverage, thus improving our product. This however is 100% dependant on subscription, counter sale and advertisement revenue support from our faithful readers. Long story short the level of support we receive is placed right back into publishing the news you are about the most … local news.
CAUGHT MY EYE (ELECTRIC VEHICLES) – I have rambled in enough prior columns already on this topic, I probably should not circle back around to this. Recap – in my opinion, forcing Americans towards electric vehicles when our current grid cannot even handle air conditioning usage when it hits the 90’s is insane. Fixing the grid has had support from both political parties since early in the Trump administration, yet nothing has been done by two Presidents / Congress. Dear “powers that be”, fix the grid then circle back around to the electric push in 5-10 years when the grid might be able to handle 100 million or so vehicles charging.
I wonder how many times over we could have fixed the grid from coast to coast in comparison to the COVID monies issued and/or in foreign aid in the last ten years?
I do not have a crystal ball, yet after my last column went out rambling about this topic, news started blasting out of California, which has outlawed future gas powered vehicle sales in a few years. “Breaking: California Power Grid Declares Flex Alert, Urges Residents To Not Charge Electric Vehicles”. Keep in mind in my last column I shared a news story that 1/3 of the power stations for these vehicles in San Francisco were also down.
Can our politicians think outside their agenda? I think my elementary aged children have more common sense on this issue. Note – stating this again, I’m not against electric vehicles if the formula and logic works. #1 – Fix the grid. #2 – Batteries have to be made from minerals that do not destroy the earth (goes against the green movement) from a foreign land at a price the average American family can afford. Note that up to half the cost of an electric vehicle is for batteries and if they go bad there is a chance you cannot replace them leaving your shiny electric vehicle a yard ornament.
But seriously, I should not get started on this topic again or my column will need another page.
THANK YOU MR. BULLFROG – This summer due to health and work issues which I’ve yacked about here in past columns, I have been unable to recreation much with the kiddos. Yup, like so many others, that camper with big plans has never left the driveway. Can I tell you a secret, shhh, don’t tell my wife? I may have become a little grumpy about this. Kids are only small once, life is precious – just look at our obituary pages for example, and though I really fear little in life, I do fear letting the opportunities with our little ones slip away. We have all heard it said, “they are only little once”. I think about this A LOT.
Last Friday night however was a treat, an unplanned life long memory making event. Shortly after dark the little two (5 & 7) wanted to have a campfire and roast some marshmallows. I thought this was a pretty good idea since some large branches came down in a storm last week and I wanted to clean up the yard anyway. Soon after getting the fire going my wife arrived, having picked up our 15 year old from his pizza making job.
Taking a flashlight the 5, 7 and 15 year old decided to venture around the pond and tried to see how many bullfrogs they could catch. As we walked my wife shared how some of her fondest memories was catching frogs in her grandparents’ pond with her cousin as a child and we may have even convinced our little girl that her daddy was a frog until “mommy kissed him to turn him into a prince.” Her follow up questions on this subject matter gives me reason to believe she could be a future journalist.
It might not have been an expensive night at the movies, or a camping trip, but I bet they will remember this simple activity with their parents and siblings when they are old. And you know what, it cost 1/3 of a bag of marshmallows!
The teenager proudly displayed some frogs he caught by hand the size of a small chihuahua. The middle child displayed how brave he is getting while trying to keep up with his older brother. The youngest girl screamed, tried her hand at grabbing Kermit, then screamed again; thinking her dolly was a better option. Sometimes in life it is the little things.
*Disclaimer #1 – no frogs were hurt and were safely returned during the making of these memories and the composition of this column (there is always one in the crowd that will say something).
**Disclaimer #2 – the “teenager” actually approved of allowing his bullfrog photo to appear.
CAUGHT MY EYE – Little did I know after my last column in which I mentioned the difficulties newspapers, especially community newspapers are experiencing, that later that same day the following sad news came out of Hicksville; hopefully they will find a buyer to continue the newspaper. In my last column I mentioned how community newspapers need your support more than ever that in the last few years the Montpelier Leader, Delta Atlas, Morenci Observer (State Line), Hamilton News, Antwerp Bee Argus, Wauseon Reporter, Edon Commercial all closed doors (we merged The Wauseon Reporter and The Edon Commercial into The Village Reporter).
In a Facebook Post: Hicksville Tribune – Publishing a newspaper is a product, like any other; when it ceases to “work”, to be not profitable, something has to change. To this end, the News-Tribune will be undergoing some drastic changes in the upcoming months. Print subscription circulations have fallen over the past two years. Advertising revenues are down, as well, with businesses using alternatives such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, Pinterest or Reddit. Nearly everyone has a website, providing information and offering ways to purchase goods and services. And in times when business is good, there is no need to spend money on advertising. All of these factors have had a huge impact, particularly on small town newspaper companies. The News-Tribune is no exception. While costs for paper, ink, staffing, setup, and mailing have all increased, subscriptions are down, as are advertising revenues. Mary Ann Barth and Michael Barth, owners of the Tribune Printing Company, parent company of the News-Tribune, have announced their decision to discontinue publication of the newspaper. The last issue will be published on December 22, 2022.
This decision has not been made lightly. Both of these individuals have spent lifetimes in the industry and are committed to Hicksville. They greatly appreciate the years of loyalty from the community. The newspaper is being offered for sale, to a credible buyer with newspaper knowledge and experience. The Barths assure readers that subscription rates are already in the process of being adjusted to meet the final date.
It is said that change is the only constant in this world, but with change comes growth. Everyone at the News-Tribune is hopeful that something good will grow from this circumstance. Anyone with questions about the closing may direct them to Mary Ann Barth or Michael Barth at the Tribune Printing office.
I hope to hear of a buyer that can help our friends to the south. Hicksville is a great little town with enough advertisement base that in my opinion a motivated individual could make a go at continuing the newspaper. It will take hard work and a lot of dedication but running a community newspaper can be rewarding when you spotlight small town news and its residents.
READER NOTE – We received a question last week that I thought I would share here as the answer may assist others who subscribe to The Village Reporter. The reader indicated they had a hard time on our website locating where to sign in to read the E-Edition which is published before our print edition hits the mail (no need to wait to read your local news).
The login and “read E-Edition” options are on the side of the website home page AND all news pages. I always recommend when visiting our website to use a computer as frankly mobile devices do not display websites well (though I know the majority that visit do use mobile). Depending on your mobile device the E-Edition and login option might be found below the news content on posts.
As always if you have any questions or difficulties with any website function let us know. As a reminder subscribers receive daily news stories which will make the next edition online as soon as our writers complete them, the emailed E-Edition weekly, along with our traditional mailed weekly print edition. This format brings news as fast (if not faster) than a daily publication but keeps the traditional weekly newspaper format.
SPOILER – Does The Village Reporter have some possible “big news” in the near future? Tired of me placing hints yet …?…
Do you agree or disagree with, as my wife says, long winded comments? Have thoughts? Send a note if you like anytime. Email: email@example.com Mail: 115 Broad Street, Montpelier, Ohio 43543.