Editor’s Column: Gobsmacked!

Caitlin Walker Photo

It means “utterly astonished; astounded,” and it’s the perfect descriptor for my reaction to the announcement that I was chosen Meeker’s Citizen of the Year for 2019.

It’s taken me several days to wrap my head around it. First, I’m honored and challenged: honored to be chosen when there are so many others who serve our community in powerful ways, and I’m challenged to make sure that I live up to what this award represents to the best of my ability.

Second, this award also belongs to every one of you who reads the paper, submits stuff to the paper, subscribes to the paper, advertises in the paper, and generally supports local journalism. It’s your story we tell in these pages every week, and without your cooperation, that wouldn’t be possible.

Third, thank you to my co-owners and staff, without whom we wouldn’t have a paper every week, and thank you to all the editors and publishers who’ve held this position before me. I’ve learned valuable lessons from each and every one of you, some in person and some in the pages of the archives.

I know I’m biased about the value and importance of having a healthy local newspaper (it would be weird if I wasn’t), so it’s a joy to know I’m not alone in that belief.

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Speaking of having a healthy paper, you might notice the HT has undergone a bit of a transformation. It’s a little skinnier and a little taller, thanks to a change in printers. Now if I can just figure out how to make myself skinnier and taller, I’ll be set!

If you’re curious as to the business decision behind the change, please ask. I’ll be glad to explain.

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Last Saturday, Pat, Caitlin and I joined about a dozen others picking up trash along our roadways. In less than three hours we collected about 500 pounds of garbage. Most of what we gathered was to be expected: a gazillion cigarette butts, paper receipts, plastic water bottles (who takes the time to put the lid on an empty water bottle, twist it up, and THEN fling it out the window?), about 30 feet of baling twine buried along (and then under) Hwy. 13, an unopened mustard packet, fast food wrappers, and enough bits and pieces of cars to make one concerned about vehicles disintegrating as they go through town.

But by all means, the hands-down winner of the weird items collected was… erm… a phallic device (complete with suction cup) that was tossed into the weeds along the OHV trail. Apparently OHV riding is a lot more entertaining for some folks than it is for others.

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Reviewing some of the legal documentation from the MHA lawsuit was a reminder of the importance of those pesky Sunshine Laws. When those rules aren’t followed, problems ensue. Something every member of every public board should consider.

By Niki Turner | niki@ht1885.com

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