Opinion & Editorial

Putting a bow on a few end-of-year items

Children and adults from The Growing Place serenade the building that houses The Chronicle, Creswell Wellness Clinic, The Round Up Saloon and the soon-to-open Pazzo restaurant. Erin Tierney/The Chronicle

Wow, it’s already my penultimate column of 2019.
OK, I’ll admit there is no other purpose to writing that first sentence other than to use the word ”penultimate.” It’s one of those journalism-ese words we use instead of saying ”next to last.”
Next week will be the final installment of ”Fifty first names only …” – the monthly column I started in March after purchasing the paper. We will have published 10 of the ”first-name” columns, and 500 first names seems like a good, round number on which to end it.
I’ll still be out and about meeting new people in Creswell, Cottage Grove, Springfield, Pleasant Hill and other areas around the southern Willamette Valley. The people I’ve met and relationships that are forming have been the most rewarding part of the move to Creswell. As publisher, in particular, I’m lucky to see and hear about so many important ways anonymous residents and forward-facing community activists and volunteers are making our lives better daily.
As the year winds down, here are a few updates on items I’ve mentioned in previous columns.
The first phase of the ”Strategic Planning Design Team” has concluded. While I missed the very first session, there were a total of four three-hour workshops involving dozens of people from students to longtime academic professionals. I wrote of this initiative in mid-November, noting that Mike Johnson, Creswell’s school district superintendent, was leading a collaborative, community-wide effort to chart the future of education in our community. The students who were part of our smaller group were impressive, demonstrating leadership qualities of teamwork and critical thinking.
The next phase will involve senior education leaders combining and then distilling all of the work of the ”strategic” committee, data, and the community input from the past few months. Community involvement is critical to the success of this effort, and you’ve responded. Johnson said the district received more than 1,000 responses from district staff, students, parents and residents. Creswell students delivered 50% of the total responses in over 590 completed surveys. The district has received feedback and input from approximately 20% of the entire Creswell population. That deserves a ”wow.” Follow along on the school district’s website and in The Chronicle for coverage.
The ”Creswell Winter Lights” event was my first. I think that concludes the ”big-event” calendar for the year. We had the two-day citywide yard sale, the days-long Fourth of July celebrations and the all-day Winter Lights event on Dec. 7.
The last one might have been my favorite. For so much activity, everything seemed to go off without a hitch.
My observation and lots of feedback from residents confirmed the planning, organization and cool ideas were executed smoothly. The decorated trees at the Creswell Grange was among the highlights, and the lit-up trucks and tractors were a new and beautiful addition to the downtown ceremony. My wife Dee Dee was thrilled to be part of the cookie-decorating event at City Hall, where she said the action was virtually non-stop all day. And the library parking lot ebbed and flowed with people, with live music playing from an elevated stage.
We’ve launched many new products in the paper through our first nine months of ownership, and the feedback to expanded hyper-local coverage has been positive. We have two new features we’re launching in January and we’ll tell you more about them in a few weeks. I’m excited to let you know that Joseph Blum, an international track and field expert with an impressive portfolio of storytelling through the years, is going to help us better understand the importance and impact of the U.S. Track & Field Trials with a weekly countdown starting Jan. 2.
And on Jan. 9 welcome Linda LaZar, an expert in Chinese astrology. She’ll be answering your questions and providing insights gleaned from thousands of years of data.
And finally … Tuesday is our busiest day of the week at the paper. The final pages are sent to the printer on Tuesday afternoon, and we’re doing our best to get the very latest updates into the section. It’s tempting sometimes, as deadline looms, to close the office to the public. But then we would have missed out on a wonderful surprise a few days ago: a large group of carollers came by and invited us outside for holiday songs.
They were from The Growing Place, and even left us with a tin box of homemade cookies. You know, there is always time for that.

Noel Nash is publisher of The Chronicle.



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