Work in progress |

Work in progress

I can’t help but smirk when sitting in a public meeting and the topic of newspapers comes up. There’s just something about listening to people talk about my chosen career the evokes that response, which given the discussion might seem a bit strange.

It can be a hostile — a criticism aimed at the media for allegedly distorting a given issue in order to push an agenda. Other times, it’s an observation on the state of newspapers in general, as it was touched on at Tuesday’s forum for the school board candidates.

We are the news source for the elderly. I can already hear my father cautioning me at making a go of it in a “dying industry.” Again, I smile, which is not to say that I disagree. We push on, though.

When I first arrived, I wrote about wanting this to be a paper that not only fairly and accurately informs you on what is going on in western Garfield County, but also reflects our community in the content contained within these pages.

We still have work to do on that front, which is why in the coming weeks you will notice some new faces and features in the paper. We have already started with Michael Farrell’s new monthly column aimed at issues affecting seniors. Michael has provided some insightful pieces and we are happy to have him contributing.

This week, we meet Cathleen Anthony. Cathleen, as you’ll find out, is the assistant to the Greater Rifle Economic Team (GRIT). I won’t go into too much detail, you’ll have to read her column for that, but the mission of GRIT is an important one for our community, and I am happy to have her keeping us in the loop on its work in the form of a monthly column.

On a related note, the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce also will be contributing a monthly piece. There are new businesses sprouting all around town and it is my hope that this feature can both offer advice for our small businesses, as well as keep us up to date on Chamber happenings and events.

Discussions with landing another monthly column focusing on outdoor recreation are in the works, as well as a regular fitness column and others.

It is my hope that all of this will add to some of the great community pieces you already read in the paper, such as the monthly “Western Memories” feature by Alan Lambert — I am as eager as anyone to read Alan’s work each month.

I am grateful for all these people and their contributions, however, I am asking for your help with this next one. We are asking you to send us your questions about, well, almost anything going on in town for a feature we are calling “Ask The Telegram.”

This could be as simple as an inquiry regarding street names or what happens to the lodging tax collected in Rifle. Contributor Jerimie Richardson, who did some digging to write a great piece on Bertha the elephant last month, will help answer your questions. It is our hope that this feature will help all of us learn a little more about this place we call home.

Now, for full disclosure, there is an ulterior motive behind all of this. By having these informative community pieces, it is my goal to dive more in depth on some of the important issues pertaining to life on the Western Slope. While we have done this at times, it can be hard to find the time necessary for such stories. Last week alone, I had to pass on two important meetings … to be at two other important meetings.

I’ll still be there at the trustee, school board and other meetings, but in alleviating some of the pressure, I hope to get to some of my own questions, such as how many new business have opened recently and what is behind this seeming surge.

At the end of the day, this is about improving your local paper — and I genuinely hope I’m not the only one smiling.

Ryan Hoffman is editor of The Citizen Telegram. He can be reached at 970-685-2103 or

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