"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Egads, how time has flown...

The West Central Valley Voice made its debut eight years ago this week.

Eight years ago?

Hard to fathom that we (my friends, Susan and Bryon, and I) actually cranked that baby out once a week for almost 2 1/2 years.

The Voice was the best damn newspaper (if I do say so myself)...

I doubt very much that the good people of Dexter, Menlo, Redfield and Stuart, IA commemorate the day, but Feb. 13, 2003, lives forever in my heart.

Start our own newspaper?  A crazy idea at best.

"Leap and the net will appear!" Susan advised me one cold, Saturday night as we envisioned our journalistic dream while savoring several cups of coffee in a back booth at the Country Kitchen restaurant in Stuart.

I shared our ideas with Bryon over the phone the next day.

"Dare to dream!" he declared.

"Go for it!" our mutual friends heartened.

So we went for it.

Sketched out a few ideas on Sunday, called on some possible advertisers Monday, and on Thursday, the West Central Valley Voice was born.

Bryon was the publisher, I was the editor, Susan was the associate editor.

Our  premier issue
Our free premier issue was actually a newsletter.  Eight, 8 1/2 by 11-inch pages of plain, white all-purpose copy paper. Printed at Kinkos. Thirteen stories, three personal columns, the West Central Valley Voice History Quiz, and a list of 19 local businesses whose generous spur-of-the-moment  financial donations made that first issue possible.


We leapt and -- just like Susan said it would -- the net appeared. Immediately.

The Voice quickly outgrew copy paper, moved on to newsprint (printed at The Guthrie Center Times), and took on an intriguing -- and at times, exasperating --  life of its own.

Faye, Nick, Marilyn, Tom, Harriet, Carol...our Voice family of contributors expanded lickety-split, and so climbed the number of Voice readers.

Seven hundred at the two-year mark.

Oh, those insane door-to-door home delivery days. Even with snow drifts up past our knees at times, nary a subscriber went without a copy of  The Voice "hot off the press" each Thursday.

And to think  we never had an actual office; we each worked from our own PCs in our respective homes in different towns. We did whatever we had to do to work around our day jobs, families and other life commitments to bring our readers the news in an accurate, interesting and timely manner.

The Voice was as close to being a daily newspaper as a weekly newspaper could possibly be. Some mighty fine investigative journalism -- much to the chagrin of certain local personalities -- I might add.

We were quite the gutsy, persevering little news team, from circulation to sports, schools, city government and beyond.

Unfortunately, Susan, Bryon and I eventually needed to go our separate ways for various and sundry reasons. Thus, The Voice was silenced mid-summer 2005.

Still get teary thinkin' about it.  Yet it feels so good to look back...

Our supporters called The Voice and its staff courageous. Our detractors considered us controversial.  A pain in more than one derriere where open meeting laws were concerned.

In retrospect?  We were what we were.

And we were the one, the only, the fantastic West Central Valley Voice.

The little newspaper that could -- and did.

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