Community newspaper creates a caring atmosphere

Sep 23, 2012

The one time a week  I get a four hours of uninterrupted time to visit with people is Saturday morning at the Historic Farmers Market.

I’m there primarily to sell our local beef, but often the conversations turn to news and newspaper topics.

Last week, I met two couples who had recently purchased homes in Haywood, information that made me hopeful the housing market may be turning around in Haywood County.

Both of the new families in our county said they had read The Mountaineer and loved it. They commented on the community spirit embodied in our newspaper, something they said was absent from their previous hometown paper. They also noted how friendly they had found folks in our county, and how so many people seemed to care about their community.

I told them that through the years, I had found there are many people in our county who are passionate about certain causes, and in this small corner of the world, they are able to make a real difference.

The conversation brought to mind all the individuals in our midst who work tirelessly for the benefit of others. The list of causes is vast. There are groups committed to helping the less fortunate in our community, especially the children and the elderly. There's groups that support education at all levels, youth sports, local businesses, sustainable agriculture, water quality and environmental stewardship. Then there are those promoting specific areas such as the arts, gardening, antique tractors,  political beliefs, civic organizations, the plight of animals that are uncared for and unwanted. The list can goes on and on, but I'm sure you get the point.

As we talked about the community and how those new to the area immediately noticed something special about Haywood County, including how much people seemed to care about one another, it hit me that part of that was directly attributable to The Mountaineer.

I even mentioned it to one couple, remarking that a central information source such as a community newspaper is a crucial way to connect those of diverse ages and interests with one another.  They agreed, and the result of that is a community that has the effect of drawing people who also care. Maybe because I've always been a small town gal, I simply can't imagine living in an area that is any other way.