Melissa O’Brien

When I saw the misspelling on the cover of the last issue of the paper my stomach started to hurt and didn’t stop for the rest of the day. Sure, we were under the gun because of the timing of Town Meeting and the push-back of the deadline—the need to get the paper to the printer that afternoon—still, it was sloppy work and there is no excuse for it.

In the ensuing days I received a couple of email messages from folks in town who pointed out omissions in the article we published about Town Meeting. Laurie Thompson, a co-chair of the Trails Committee, let me know of the inaccurate reporting around the second amendment to Article 3, put forth at Town Meeting by Dave Garbose and not by the the Trails Committee, as was reported, and Peter Joslin pointed out that the result of the vote on Article 11, Shall the Town vote to adopt an amended Charlotte Town Plan had been egregiously omitted.

People in this town work very hard toward caring for this town, and these mistakes were not OK. Obviously, as a minimally staffed, very part-time nonprofit enterprise, we are going to make mistakes. Still, it will never be OK. We are in the business of providing coverage for this town of this town’s happenings; sloppiness is not part of the deal. It does, however, point us in the direction of where we need to go.

I will share some good news with you, in case you haven’t already noticed. In the month or so since I came to this position, no fewer than 17 people have said “Yes” when I asked if they would contribute to the paper: writers Joan Weed, Mason Daring, Peter Trombley, Hannah Herbert, Josie Leavitt, Bill Fox, Carrie Fenn, Kevin Goldenbogen, Carol Miklos, Andy Jackson, Stephanie Sumner; photographers Robert Coleburn, Deb Preston and Lee Krohn; and illustrators Brett Hughes, Jane Ann Kantor and Gail Grow. We have also been blessed with a reliable and enthusiastic Champlain College journalism student, Meghan Neely, who will be contributing to each issue until she graduates in May. Add to that the stable of regular contributors and those who said they would consider writing, and you have a growing enterprise. This is a very good thing in a time of the diminishing and disappearance of newspapers.

And too, we are in the early stages of planning fundraising and community-growing events around food and song, and many have said they would be happy to help: Dave Quickel, Francine Stephens, Stacy Fraser, Jay Vogler and Julianne Murat.

“Yes” is such a wonderful, powerful word.

To err may be human, to forgive, a good idea; to build a newspaper and a community, divine.