About ten years ago in a land far, far away an amazing thing happened. A couple of people got together and envisioned a newspaper for the Roanoke Valley that would focus a whole lot less on what has been defined as “traditional news” (drug busts, traffic accidents, house fires and the like) and a whole lot more on the “positive people, places and events” that truly define our uniquely beautiful community.
And even more amazingly – far more amazingly, perhaps – it worked. Because nobody (except a few joyfully “foolish” and faithful souls) thought it would.
Yup – as of Nov 22nd 2017 The Roanoke Star (less the dash – Sentinel, as it was originally known) is TEN years old.
As my grandfather used to say, “How about them apples?!” As in all 362 of them that have been picked, prepped, printed, published and promulgated.
I mean WOW – who knew?
One thing is for certain – there are bushels and bushels of “Thank-You’s” to go around to literally hundreds of folks who have in one form or another plowed, tilled, watered (including the occasional rain dance) and put in the day-in and day-out, get down in it, dirt dog-hard labor to make this thing happen.
From Production Editors (Lawson Koeppel, Aaron Kelderhouse, Leigh Sackett, Stephen Nelson and Doris Hoffman) to core news and feature writers (Gene Marrano, Valerie Garner, Bill Turner and Beverley Amsler) and our Columnists, that in addition to our present stable (see pages 3-4 and website) have included Liza Field, Jon Kaufman, Fred First, Brian Gottstein and the late Jim Bullington and Joe Kennedy.
To sum things up we have been repeatedly blessed with just the right people – at just the right time – and as I have told people on many occasions that reality has been a wonderfully affirming benediction. Editors, writers, salespeople, bookkeepers, drivers etc. have all appeared, seemingly out of the blue and not a moment too soon, to keep things ticking: Vickie Henderson, Pam Rickard, Cheryl Hodges, Bill Bratton, Natashia Pierson, Sheri Beveridge, Denise Knisely, Beth Anne Revercomb, Mark Fuller, Fred Price and Kate Ericsson.
Whew – and that’s not counting a bevy of folks that I don’t have room to name who may have spent less time as part of this ongoing creative creation but who nevertheless poured themselves fully into it. Thank you – ALL of YOU – together we have reached a lot of hearts and minds . . . and who knows, maybe even made a difference or two along the way.
And now for the surprising part – well, for most of you.
After ten years as owner and publisher of the Roanoke Star, I am announcing that the newspaper and website will be offered for sale as of January 1st 2018. (Selah.)
That’s been a very hard decision to make but my life’s circumstances have changed substantially in recent months. I am now married to the love of my life – Caroline (formerly Watkins) now Revercomb (whose columns you have possibly read here) and the younger two of our eight collective children are very close to stretching their wings towards college and beyond.
Simply put, my strong (hopefully Spirit-inspired) sense of things is that I need to stay open to the possibilities of where we may ultimately settle, and if I have learned anything at all these past ten years it is the need to listen to His whisper.
As in Trust – as in Obey.
I know a great many of you will understand that.
So this will likely be one of the last “posts” you will receive from me as publisher of the Roanoke Star depending on how long a new owner / publisher may wish to keep me around.
In the meantime, feel free to spread the word – to anyone you feel might have the gift and inclination (and yes – calling) to offer up what we believe to be the real news of the day, both in print and online, with the kind of real people that know how to make it happen.
And here’s to the next ten years for ALL of us – “God willing and the creek don’t rise . . .” May they be as productive and fun and full of lovely and wondrous surprises as the last ten.