Wednesday, February 1, 2023

It’s Time For a Break

It has been a long year, and after this week’s newspaper hits newsstands, the Meaford Independent team is taking its annual break.

For a small rural community newspaper, opportunities to take a break are few, so for the past decade the Meaford Independent team has taken advantage of the late December holiday season to shut down for two weeks to allow for some rest, and time with friends and family.

The logistics of printing and distributing a weekly newspaper in late December with the various statutory holidays are not ideal, so it is a perfect time for us to shut down and enjoy a couple of weeks without the pressures of print deadlines.

Our shut down is a little earlier this year due to the calendar and how the holidays fall, but after our two-week break, we will be back at it in the new year.

In the past I have referred to our team as ‘small but mighty’, but some might be surprised at just how tiny the modern small town community newspaper team is.

Our newspaper has just two full time staff members, the owners of this newspaper, Susanne Wussow, our publisher, and myself, your humble scribe. Outside of Susanne and me, we have a part time office helper two days each week, a newspaper delivery helper, and two contractors, our graphic design and layout person, along with our advertising salesperson. That’s it, that’s the entire team that works through the year to publish our weekly newspaper and to update our website.

With a skeleton crew such as we have there are no opportunities throughout the year to take a break, so we very much look forward to late December.

This has been a heck of a year. With the pandemic of 2020 and 2021 fresh in our memories, 2022 has been a year of getting back to normal. Major events which had been postponed during the pandemic returned this year, including the 25th edition of the Scarecrow Invasion & Family Festival.

In addition to returning to somewhat normal lives, we had a municipal election in 2022. The campaigns this time around were heavily focused on the coming wave of development in this municipality, and candidates were under pressure from voters to explain how they would approach the managing of new development in the coming years.

Our newly elected council held its final meeting of the year on Monday, December 12, and so our councillors are also on a break until the new year. They had best get some rest, because the coming year is looking to be a busy one from a council perspective, as new development proposals are on the horizon and council will have to find a balance between the desires of residents and the desires of the Province…err, developers.

Many of our readers will be celebrating holidays of various descriptions in the coming days and weeks, and many of those celebrations will include family feasts and the exchanging of gifts, while others will be hopping on planes to spend some time in a warmer climate if only for a few days before returning to the reality of winter at home.

Myself, I don’t have any plans for our break this year, though I am hoping to get in some fishing, and I am very much looking forward to a visit from my adult sons, who with their busy adult lives don’t have as much time to get to Meaford as they once did.

For those concerned about not having any local news to consume over the next two weeks, fear not. While we are taking our annual break, as I have done in the past years I will still be updating our website with any important news that happens over the holiday period – no rest for the wicked my grandmother used to say.

To our readers, I’d like to thank you for another year of support and engagement with this newspaper through letters, email messages, and informal chats on the sidewalk. Community newspapers have been disappearing at an alarming rate over the past couple of decades, and many communities that once had a community weekly now long for those days. I hear from such folks with regularity, folks who miss having a local newspaper, and some that are angered that their local councils now have nobody watching and reporting on behalf of the people. As some have said to me over the years, you often don’t realize how important something is until it is gone, and then it is too late, so I truly appreciate our readers and advertisers and their support of this newspaper.

While this is a festive time of year, it is also often a tragic time of year, with the combination of festive imbibing along with at times nasty winter weather resulting in fatal collisions on our roads and highways. I hope that all of our readers make the smart choice over the holiday season by not drinking and driving. Call a taxi, call a friend, or walk the few blocks home, but don’t get behind the wheel if you have been drinking, it’s just not worth the risk to yourself, and more importantly to others.

Whatever you might be celebrating in the coming days, or if you celebrate nothing at all, I hope that the traditional holiday season brings you joy.

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