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After nearly two decades in the weekly newspaper business, there’s one thing I know: community newspapers are beloved.

After all, where else can you find out about who died, got married, how the local sports teams did and keep track of your city, county and school government all at the same time?

I love community journalism, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s a lot of nights, weekends and holidays to make sure readers are up to date on all the happenings in their community. In spite of the irregular hours, and sometimes a lack of sleep, I have a passion for this job that goes beyond punching a clock. I’m employed by a company, but I WORK for the communities I serve.

A good community newspaper throws its weight behind good causes, holds public officials accountable and reports on a community’s most positive and negative aspects in equal and fair measure.

As the year draws to a close, we’ll be taking a look back at the stories of 2017. It’s a moment to reflect on how the year has shaped us as individuals and as a community. Some of those stories have had positive benefits, while others may well have taken a negative toll. The impact of other stories may still be not yet fully realized.

While we reflect on the year, we must also prepare for the challenges 2018 will bring us. Challenges often mean change. And while change is sometimes difficult, it’s a constant in life. The key is viewing those challenges as opportunities and seize those opportunities to move our community, our businesses, ourselves forward.

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The staff at The Chadron Record is already seizing an opportunity as we lend a hand to our sister paper in Hot Springs, S.D. (See Page A-8 for details), and I want to take a moment to thank Brandon Davenport and Julie Pfister for their efforts of late to ensure that both Hot Springs and Chadron have newspapers they can rely on.

The passion I have for this work has been reflected in comments from readers over the years here in Chadron, and of late, in Hot Springs. That our readers share the passion we here at The Record have is what drives us each day. For that, I also must offer deep gratitude to all of our readers and advertisers who see the importance of a community newspaper.

Here’s wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with opportunities.

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