A week ago today, Enterprise readers learned that longtime columnist Don Williams would retire. The southern Adirondack scribe's last column was in that day's paper.
We were as surprised as anyone. It left us a hole to fill in the page 5 lineup, and quickly.
After discussing it at some length, we came up with a plan.
Print readers today can look over at the page opposite this editorial and notice that the plan isn't completely implemented yet. There's no local column where Mr. Williams' essays used to run; instead, we published an Associated Press report relevant to Presidents Day, which is today, about a library planned for George Washington's home of Mount Vernon.
That's the only day we'll have to do that during this transition.
Here are the changes you can expect:
-We've moved Dave Werner's traffic safety column from Saturdays to Mondays, starting next Monday.
-We've moved Diane Chase's family activities column from Thursday's page 5 to Thursday's Weekender section. That seemed like a good fit since she writes about timely things to do with children in this area and since the Weekender is intended to help you plan what to do with your free time.
-A new column will begin on page 5 Thursdays, written by various people associated with the Cornell Cooperative Extension for Franklin County. The Extension is often seen as an agricultural service, but don't worry - we and the writers for this column know there are too few farms in the Adirondacks to justify a farm column. Instead, the Extension writers will cover such topics as gardening, food, business, parenting and health. It's not intended to overlap what Richard Gast already contributes from the Extension in his biweekly column.
And that's it - no changes to our 10 other local columns on page 5, the Outdoors and Health pages, and the Weekender. Who knows what the future will hold, but this shuffle will get us through for now.
A newspaper offers a varied array of things to read and see: news, human-interest stories, opinions, cartoons and chances to buy things and find jobs. It offers knowledge, warnings, laughs, ideas, love and even wisdom.
In that mix, columns are primarily an outlet for human voices, unfettered from the need to write in the third person or put their personal opinions on hold. You can learn from them, but you can also hear the writer's personality come through, which is refreshing.
We're glad our small-town paper is able to offer so many local columnists. We'd love to offer more, too, and look forward to reading new local voices down the road. If you feel like that's your calling, feel free to contact Managing Editor Peter Crowley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-891-2600 ext. 22.