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A little more than a month ago I was sitting at my computer and typing what I though would be the last column of my newspaper career. Little did I know that my prayers would be answered, and our great West Side communities would not lose their newspapers – the two oldest businesses operating in Gustine and Newman. 

I am so grateful that the newspapers will continue to provide a voice for the citizens of our great towns. There is just something to be said about having a community “watch dog,” someone to keep the government agencies in check and someone to have to answer to. 

Just in 2020, over 20 newspapers ceased publication in California alone and over 10,000 newspaper jobs were lost nationwide. To think that our communities were going to join those statistics was causing me a great amount of stress and heartache. How would the cities notify citizens of upcoming changes, how would the local clubs and organizations get publicity about fundraisers and meetings, how would people learn of the passing of dear friends and classmates, how would athletes get their photos taken during a great game and receive the recognition they so deserve…these were just some of the thoughts going through my head. Thank goodness, I don’t have to worry about it anymore!

I am pleased that 209 Multimedia will assume the responsibilities of publishing our great newspapers. If anyone can make it in this industry, in these crazy times in our world, it’s 209. They have a great amount of knowledge of what it will take to keep the newspapers advancing in this ever-changing world. 

Though I won’t be the publisher and a new editor will be in place, the same familiar faces will be behind the scenes working to put the newspaper together and keep the office going. There is something to be said for talking to a familiar person and having them take care of your needs. 

Over the years I truly have been blessed with the best staff. It has been said that a business is only as good as its employees, and I can proudly say that has been the case for me. In all reality, they are more like my family. I have shared in their marriages, babies, babies and more babies, grandbabies, family problems, chicken problems, dog problems, cat problems, and even horse problems and you know what…I wouldn’t change it for the world. We have worked together, cried together, laughed together and even had a feud or two. It all has made us who we are today, and I would like to think we are all better people because of everything that we have gone through together. They have stuck with me through thick and thin and for that, I am eternally grateful. I will miss them all terribly! 

I will also miss all of you, our loyal readers and my many friends. It has been such a great honor to serve you these past 43 years. You have welcomed our newspapers into your homes, week after week and passed on some of the same great traditions to your family members as well. Much like my staff, we have experienced births, milestone birthdays, graduations, engagements, weddings, anniversaries and even the passing of loved ones together. I am so grateful to you for trusting us to record these special moments of your life, it has been a great privilege. Thank you for your friendship and loyalty – for taking the time to call or writing a note of thanks and even for those times when you weren’t so happy with what we printed – you made me want to do my job better day after day. 

To our advertisers and print customers, thank you so very much for entrusting us with your business needs. Without you, we would not have been able to continue operating for as many years as we did. 

Thank you one and all for 43 GREAT years…I truly am forever grateful for your loving support and for your friendship. At the end of the day…at the end of my newspaper career…that’s what I most cherish.