We feel good about 10 years

With last week?s edition of the Free Press we have completed a full 10 years of publishing a free community weekly newspaper. It feels good.

We have many people to thank for our longevity. Our first edition on Aug. 12, 1998, included contributions from Natalie Roth, David Hanigar, Diane Steiner, Andy Johnson, Connie Faber, Ellyne Wiebe, partner Don Ratzlaff and me. Tina Groening joined us shortly thereafter and has been with us ever since.

We will post a pdf of that first issue on our Web site this week if you would like to see what was going on back then. The closing of the DFA plant was a huge lead story to get us on our way.

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Many other people have been on board through the years, as well as several behind-the-scenes supporters to whom we will be forever grateful.

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If you?re thinking about starting a newspaper someday you might consider what a typical week might be for the first year or two.

Go to work at 8 a.m. Monday and get home by 5 p.m. Tuesday. At least that?s how Don and I did it. We?d finish the paper by about 3 or 4 a.m. on Tuesday after working through the night. We took time to go home, shower and eat a bite and then we?d head for the printer in Valley Center with the newspaper file stored on a zip disk (before fast Internet).

After the papers were printed and prepared for mailing, we hauled them back to the Hills?boro post office for verification, then loaded them up again for a trip to each of the county post offices, finishing by 5 p.m.

Don then covered ball games and meetings on Tuesday evenings to boot. Thankfully, the schedule has gotten kinder each year from that intense start.

Wednesday was zombie day.

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A majority of the businesses that were advertising in our paper 10 years ago are still in business.

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It has been really quiet around the house since the grandsons went home. We had a great time, and they said they would have stayed at least a week longer if they could have. There?s loose talk about them being here four weeks next summer.

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When they got home they had a big surprise waiting for them. It wasn?t a bunny like they had hoped?it was ?Wolf,? their new dog from the humane society. It?s a mixed breed Corgi/Terrier.

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On a recent walk around downtown I spotted a mouse at the alley on the north side of the building housing Quilts and QuiltRacks.

It tried to jump up the side of the building when it saw me coming, but then took off running west until it got to Main. Then it took a hard left.

I was surprised at how fast?and far?it could run. It had to be traveling at least 4 mph by my calculations.

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I haven?t watched the political circus on TV for the past 21⁄2 weeks and it was really refreshing not to see any of it. Can?t we just get it over with and hope for better choices in 2012?

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The Relay for Life in Marion County was another huge success this year with record donations and a tremendous effort on the part of the volunteers and participants who made it happen. What a contrast in weather, had it been held just one week later.

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