On the day they closed on their house, their realtor gave them a poster, illustrated by Charlotte artist Linda Seiffert Reynolds, depicting classic Charlotte scenes—Town Hall, The Old Brick Store, the view from the top of Mt. Philo, among others. At the bottom of the poster the text reads, “The Town of Charlotte, Vermont, 1762-2012. You can get there from here.”
After almost two years behind the wheel of this fiery animal of community spirit, it’s time to hand over the reins. I feel very proud to have served as editor of a paper I grew up reading and writing for, doing my best to capture the essence of what it means to live in Charlotte, Vermont.
The story of Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance crew baffles and awes as much as it does inspire. We can’t claim to have survived the journey of Shackleton’s crew, but we’ve certainly weathered a few difficulties.
As I flip through the weathering pages of the last 11 issues of The Charlotte News, I grin at the memories popping into my head. The last six months of my life take shape in photographs, articles and names. Each page reminds me of a struggle worked through, a realization had or a joke that shook the office with laughter. I sit smiling like a fool on my bedroom floor, sorting through the work of my past that has led to my future.
This gentlemen claimed to own a military jacket that once belonged to Rigapoulos and was interested in “returning” it to the family. A noble deed, I thought. To boot, he seemed to know everything about the jacket and Rigapoulos—what the battle flag meant on the shoulder of the jacket, the plane Rigapoulos jumped from on D-Day, what time he jumped, who jumped with him, what he was doing on the beaches of Normandy once he landed, and how he was later killed in Operation Market Garden.
This year we are very pleased to announce that veteran (recently retired) Burlington Free Press journalist Mike Donoghue will join us at the 2nd Annual Charlotte News Writers Workshop. Mike is an entertaining and informative speaker with heaps of experience. A fellow delegate at the New England Newspaper and Press Association conference put it best when he said something to the effect of: “I’d watch Mike present paint drying. He’d find a way to make it interesting.”
And it’s not just Charlotte with one-horse or ghost races. A quick look at the 2015 town report in Hinesburg shows four vacant seats and all others unopposed. In Shelburne there’s no competition on their ballot either.
Let us know what you think of the paper, pitch an idea, or take a peek at the Archive Project in progress.
All that said, “Scratching the surface,” this year’s first headline, still describes the learning curve well. For what some might perceive to be such a simple town and a simple job, “there’s a lot of ins and out and whathaveyous.”
When I began my tenure last January as editor in chief of our venerated local community paper, Moe Harvey said to me, “You’re going to learn a lot in this post.” At the time it sounded a bit ominous, but it also reminded me of a Pete Seeger song my dad used to sing, “What did you learn in school today?”
This brings us back to the central question—why do our stories matter? Sure, we cover small town stuff, but it matters to someone, right?
When I lived in Russia, my mother sent me a black and white postcard of the East Charlotte Tractor Parade. “See what you’re missing!” she wrote on it. Well, this year, at the 15th annual parade on October 11, I found out.
Seeing anew sumac bushes flash crimson, silver maples glow orange against a fading flora and regal purples pop out of the high hills—it’s like a slow-motion kaleidoscope hypnotizing me into a born-again leaf peeper.
Yup, we’ve done it—we’ve made a brand spankers website.
It’s not perfect yet, but I think you’ll find it looks alright.
We don’t have the archive there and pictures are few,
But heck, we’re making progress, and it’s all for you!
We are getting closer to our fundraising goal, but can’t stop here. We have raised about $14,000 for our basic expenses with a minimum goal of $25,000 before the year’s end. As my father would say, “Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.”
This issue marks my three-year anniversary at The Charlotte News. It also marks my final as a member of its staff. I’ve decided to step away to pursue other opportunities. With these two milestones, I can’t help but reflect on my time here, both as editor in chief and assistant editor.
To make a long, tenuously connected story relatively short, all of the businesses in and around Charlotte help shape our community and build our collective history. Without local business advertising (see list below) and generous donations from locals (donors listed in next issue), The Cha–rlotte News’s nonprofit mission wouldn’t be possible. We are proud to serve our community and hope you will share your support and patronize the local businesses found in our pages.
You are now reading a completely transformed paper. It may not feel that way, but let me explain.
Our front page surely betrays how proud we are to now be an “award-winning paper.” This honor was bestowed upon us at the Vermont Press Association annual meeting on July 16, with Governor Shumlin in attendance along with hard-nosed Vermont journos like Mike Donoghue. We stood proudly among some of the best papers in the state. It was a beautiful moment. Because let’s be honest—no one is in this industry for the money. We all work hard and do the best we can to make stories come alive for our readers. If we are recognized or remembered, that’s what makes it all seem worth it.