2020 has put many of us through the wringer. A global pandemic, civil unrest and a divisive election have put us on edge. It’s easy to see everything in 2020 that has been taken away from us.
But we still have so much to be thankful for. Many of us have spent a lot more time with family. Without so many events taking up our time, many of my friends have rekindled old hobbies, spent more time outdoors and thought about what really matters in their lives.
Personally, I got married this year. We had a tiny ceremony with just our immediate families and a few friends who live in the area. I’m thankful that our friends and family around the country, as well as vendors we had hired were all understanding. And we now have a big party to look forward to when its safe to gather in large groups again.
I’m also thankful for the amazing staff at the Times-News. In mid-March, right as coronavirus appeared in Idaho, we made the decision to move the newsroom out of the office and into our homes. Since then, we’ve been working remotely. We’ve met weekly on Zoom to plan out stories and projects, and spent countless hours on the phone and texting each other. While I miss the camaraderie that comes with working in the newsroom, I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to work so well remotely.
Along with following how the coronavirus has affected schools, hospitals, agriculture, business, government and everyday life for the past eight months, we’ve covered wildfires, local sports, county fairs, our growing population and more.
In September, reporter Colin Tiernan looked into what is killing the trees at City of Rocks National Reserves. It’s home of some of the northernmost Pinyon Pines in the country — but perhaps not for much longer. He’s also tirelessly reported about how COVID-19 is affecting our area.
In October, Laurie Welch wrote about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting nonprofits. With so many fundraising events canceled, local charities have had to change strategies to stay afloat. She also writes about every facet of daily life in Minidoka and Cassis counties.
You may have noticed we’ve moved Mychel Matthew’s popular Hidden History column to the front page each Thursday. We wanted to highlight the work that she does each week digging into our collective past. It’s amazing to see how many times history repeats itself, and how issues of water, population growth and agriculture come up throughout the years.
I hope you’ve spotted Jonathan Ingraham’s byline more often over the past few weeks. Ingraham was formerly mostly behind the scenes. Now, he’ll be focusing on stories about outdoor recreation, businesses, and hopefully soon, area events. Recently, he’s written about local bike shops seeing record sales, and fire recovery at Soldier Mountain.
Many of you will recognize Pat Sutphin from his time as a photographer at the paper. He’s now heading our sports coverage. Even if you’re not an avid follower of local sports, I encourage you to read his players of the year articles that have run the past Tuesday and Thursday and will continue to run for the next two weeks or so. He’s taken amazing portraits and written profiles of each impressive athlete.
Diane Philbin is our long time sports clerk, and if you’re a local coach or athletic director, she’s surely called, texted and emailed you for your scores each night. Please keep sending them. Without Diane, we wouldn’t be able to bring you the local sports schedules and scores every day.
If you’ve been at a newsworthy event in the past few years, there’s a good chance our photographer, Drew Nash, was there. From new businesses, to city council meetings, political protests to courtrooms, Friday night lights to quiet classroom moments, Drew is there capturing our Magic Valley in images and video.
I’m thankful, and thrilled, to be able to announce that we’ll have a new staff member joining us in December. He’ll be covering local politics and education, and I can’t wait to introduce him to you.
Behind the scenes is myself and our Managing Editor Kyle Hansen. We’re the ones to blame for typos. But we also spend time helping reporters with story ideas. Writing up breaking news briefs, planning which stories go where, making sure snow back and stream flows are updated, taking calls from readers and a thousand other things that keep us ticking along.
Yes, we’re smaller than we’ve been in the past. But we’ve always been scrappy. We’ve always had grit. I like to say we’re a paper that punches above our weight. We care deeply about this community, and we’re thankful to live here.
We’re also thankful to have you as readers.
You can help us by sending in your news tips and sending in your big fish photos. Letting us know when we get things wrong and letting us know when we get things right. And you you can help support us by making a small investment. Right now, you can get a five-month subscription for $5 (and $10.99 a month after that) or a whole year for $39. To get either of these deals, go to magicvalley.com/members/join and click on the $5 deal. Along with stories from the reporters I’ve listed above, our website is full of national and world news, sports, opinion pieces from Idaho and all around the country. It’s more than could ever fit in the pages of a newspaper.
If you already subscribe, consider giving the gift of a subscription to a friend or family member. You’ll also be giving them the gift of learning more about their community.
Whenever you financially support the Times-News, you directly support local jobs, keeping government in check, highlighting the good things happening here and keeping your neighbors informed.
That’s something I’ll always be thankful for.