Week in, week out

As Xpress turns a page on its 15th anniversary, we've got a lot to look back on. Below are key moments in the paper's evolution from a scrappy startup to WNC's leading free weekly.

The gang's (almost) all here: The Mountain Xpress staff, July 2009. On stairs, from left: managing editor Jon Elliston, arts reporter and fashion editor Alli Marshall, staff writer David Forbes, classified sales rep Rick Goldstein, senior editor Peter Gregutt, contributing editor Margaret Williams, Calendar editor/supplements coordinator Mannie Dalton, staff photographer Jonathan Welch. Standing, from left: designer Nathanael Roney, production director Andrew Findley, advertising coordinator Marissa Williams, advertising director James Fisher, webmaster Jason Shope, advertising rep John Varner, classified sales rep Tim Navaille, assistant distribution manager Jeff Tallman. Middle row, from left: advertising rep Kelley Cranford, IT/Web assistant Patrick Conant, special projects/distribution manager Sammy Cox, advertising rep Russ Keith, IT manager Stefan Colosimo. Front row, from left: arts and entertainment editor Rebecca Sulock, designer Carrie Lare, office manager/bookkeeper Patty Levesque, assistant office manager Lisa Watters, Clubland editor/writer/Calendar assistant Aiyanna Sezak-Blatt, staff writer Brian Postelle. Not pictured are publisher Jeff Fobes, multimedia editor Jason Sandford, advertising rep Scott Sessoms and administrative assistant/classified rep Arena Manning. Photo by Anthony Bellemare

1987: Green Line, founded by Jeff Fobes (now publisher of Xpress) as the newsletter of the WNC Greens, begins publishing, on a monthly basis. In the course of its seven-year life, it challenges local sacred cows, opposes the use of the French Broad River for drinking water, questions water and air permits for Champion Paper Mill, opposes clearcutting on the Asheville Northfork watershed, sounds an early alarm about acid-rain effects on Mt. Mitchell, questions the U.S. Forest Service's overemphasis of burning and herbicides, questions Biltmore Forest's lack of racial diversity, covers the North Carolina grassroots push to allow alternative-medical practitioners and stirs up a lot of loyal readers with its Toughman contest photomontage ("Buns and steel"), featuring a cover shot of scantily clad ring girls, about the year's Toughman contest.

Aug. 10, 1994: After phasing out Green Line, Fobes starts Mountain Xpress, which publishes its first issue on this date. A welcome notice on page five reads: "You are reading a locally owned, independent, investigative newsweekly committed to setting a standard of journalistic excellence in Western North Carolina. … Here's our goal: to keep you informed, entertained and interested in the local scene — from city hall to dance hall."

1995: Xpress launches its Web site at www.mountainx.com.

1997: Xpress uncovers the exclusive Black Mountain Rod and Gun Club, an all-male group of current and former Asheville City Council members and city staff, along with other well-connected folks, which has been allowed to meet at the North Fork Reservoir, which is closed to the public.

1998: Xpress launches Blue Ridge Flavors, an annual magazine-style dining guide that will run for 10 years.

1999: Xpress publishes the first of many official Bele Chere Festival guides in partnership with the city of Asheville.

2000: Ken "Cranky" Hanke starts writing movie reviews for Xpress. His first two are the horror films "Lost Souls" (two stars) and "The Exorcist 2000" (four stars).

2003: Xpress wins a Society of Professional Journalists award for humorous commentary.

May 2003: Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford threatens to jail Xpress reporter Brian Sarzynski for reporting on Medford brandishing a riot gun on protesters outside the county jail. Medford does not follow through on the threat (and is himself later convicted of corruption charges and sent to prison, following years of investigation of his malfeasance by Xpress writer Cecil Bothwell and a federal trial).

When it began: The cover of the very first Mountain Xpress, Aug. 10, 1994.

November 2003: Xpress publishes the official guide for the first annual Asheville Film Festival. (It will publish several others at subsequent film fests.)

2004: Xpress wins Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for investigative reporting on the Buncombe Sheriff's Department, and a Gold Award from the International Festival and Events Association for Xpress' official guide to Bele Chere.

2004: Xpress begins a partnership with the WNC Green Building Council, publishing a biannual Green Building Directory (the directory is now published each spring).

2005: Xpress wins N.C. Press Association award for photo illustration, and Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for food writing.

2006: Xpress wins Association of Alternative Newsweeklies award for food writing.

March 2006: Xpress and six other publications found the Community Publishers Group — a cooperative effort among local newspapers and magazines to consolidate some distribution services. The initiative, which continues today and includes additional partners, helps combat disorderly distribution spots by sharing space in compartmentalized, multipublication boxes.

Feb. 8, 2006: After a three-and-a-half-year run as a freestanding publication, the Asheville Disclaimer begins appearing as a full page of parody news in every issue of Xpress. The inaugural page features an installment of "Kid Care with Arnold (Crapacan)" and a depiction of Mayor Terry Bellamy in a bikini with "mayor" sash.

2007: Xpress wins two awards in the N.C. Press Association's Best Ad Contest, and is awarded twice by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies — for columns and ad design.

August 2007: Anne Fitten Glenn, aka Edgy Mama, starts writing a weekly parenting column for Xpress.

Oct. 17, 2007: Xpress publishes its largest issue ever, a 120-page Best of WNC package. A year later, the 2008 Best of WNC issue comes in at the same size.

2008: Xpress wins awards from both the N.C. Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists for reports on the CTS of Asheville contamination, as well as one from the NCPA for Web site "general excellence."

June 2008: Xpress publishes the first of its revamped annual dining guide, Asheville Eats and Drinks.

September 2008: At the height of the gasoline crunch, the Xpress distribution team perseveres, delivering thousands of copies of the paper via public busses.

November 2008: The print edition of Xpress appears in a new format. The paper is about one-inch shorter, while offering some new extras, including color printing on every page and a stapled binding.

Dec. 7, 2008: Xpress holds its first Best of WNC Showcase at the Orange Peel, featuring food, music and other entertainment from winners in the paper's annual reader's poll.

2009: Xpress wins three awards from the N.C. Press Association, for columns, investigative reporting on an attack against a WNC summer camp and Xpress' official guide to the 2008 Bele Chere.

March 2009: Xpress launches Asheville Street Style (ashevillestreetstyle.com), an online "record of Asheville's unique and evolving DIY fashion."

April 1, 2009: Xpress pulls a fast one, announcing on its Web site that the print edition will disappear and that the regular content on mountainx.com will be replaced entirely by Twitter feeds from staff and community members. The new Twitter-powered newspaper, or "Twaper," sparks scads of local comments and garners national news coverage. By the end of the day, the truth is revealed: The Twaper is an April Fool's stunt, albeit one with (somewhat) serious intent.

June 26, 2009: With co-sponsors the Asheville Brewer's Alliance and the Orange Peel, Xpress helps coordinate the Beer City Bash — a celebration of Asheville winning a national vote (along with Portland, Ore.) for the right to be called Beer City USA.

Aug. 19, 2009: Xpress celebrates its 15th anniversary with a special issue, which you are reading at this very moment.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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25 thoughts on “Week in, week out

  1. Ken Hanke

    2000: Ken “Cranky” Hanke starts writing movie reviews for Xpress. His first two are the horror films “Lost Souls” (two stars) and “The Exorcist 2000” (four stars).

    Good God, I’m a milestone? I must tell my mother.

    While those are the first movies I reviewed, they weren’t the actual first things I wrote for the paper. The very first, in fact, was a piece on the Brewgrass Festival — a topic I was and am ill-equipped to write about. The truth is it was the first thing I was offered and I was afraid if I turned it down, I wouldn’t be offered anything else.

  2. AvlResident

    Hope editors and reporters will reread your mission statement: “. . .independent, investigative newsweekly committed to setting a standard of journalistic excellence in Western North Carolina.”

    Sorry to say Mountain Express has not lived up to the Sarzynski/Bothwell example of intrepid digging for some recent events in Asheville, such as off-duty deputy sheriff who threatened Clyde woman driver, off-duty Asheville fireman who shot at cyclist, closing of Environmental Quality Institute at UNCA, apparent turmoil at Mission Hospitals. . .are there more the public doesn’t know about?

  3. Great timeline, Jon.

    Although you left out: August 2007: Anne Fitten Glenn aka Edgy Mama starts writing humorous parenting column for Xpress.

  4. AvlResident

    Further thoughts on decline of Mountain Express after looking at staff photo. Newspaper appears to be heavy on business side, light on editorial/reporting, especially light on “hard news.” Approximately 19 on business/production side. Approximately 12 on editorial/ reporting. Apparently only three of these are full-time news reporters (Postelle, Forbes, Sandford?). Four are entertainment/features (Sulock, Marshall, Dalton, Sezak-Blatt?). Most of focus in entertainment appears to be popular music and certainly movies (movies are probably your most read section and music/clubs probably your major source of advertising). Other arts coverage thin. Two or three (part-time or freelance?) specialty writers (Hanke, Raskin, Williams?)

    Business/advertising/production/ distribution essential if newspaper is to stay alive. But if content loses substance, does newspaper become just events listings and advertisements? Advertising/content seems aimed at the presumably much-desired male 18-36 demographic. But is this true demographic in Asheville where, you tell us, average age is 41? Success of WNC Magazine suggests older, more-well-to-do, highly educated demographic should also be target? Does success of political/socially active blogs in Asheville suggest readers want more hard news, news analysis, investigative reporting?

    Has Mountain Express lost its edge? If so, can it regain it?

  5. Jon Elliston

    Anne Fitten,

    You are so right. I’ll see that we add that milestone to the timeline as it appears here — along with others that we couldn’t fit in print.

    Does anyone have any other Xpress milestones they’d like to see included?

  6. Bugg

    My tenure with the Xpress led to unprecedented acclaim for the paper amongst whinos and other people who like good music writing.

  7. Crondastatini Yelaski

    [b]Has Mountain Express lost its edge? If so, can it regain it? [/b]

    Although you make some great points, I have a hard time understanding how appealing to an even older audience would be considered “edge”. What about reporting the community respects? Now that would be an edge.

  8. Congrats to MX. In this day and age, any independent weekly newspaper that survives for 15 years is certainly a success story. But Mtn Xpress is not only surviving..it’s thriving.

    I like the fact that for the most part MX is “Fair and Balanced”.
    WHile it usually leans to the left… it maintains a relatively neutral journalistic stance, reporting the news instead of trying to “make news”

    I think some folks have the misconstrued notion that MountainXpress is intended to be a radical paper focusing on “gotcha” journalism.
    While MX is not afraid to tackle tough stories it hasn’t given in to the temptation to be merely an attack rag….loooking under every stone for some “scandalous” or “sexy” story to harp on.

    Keep up the good work….I cant wait for the 30 year anniversary issue.

  9. Brandon

    Here’s another Xpress milestone for ya – The Most Embarrassing Self Promotion Moment in the History of the Xpress (and probably to all weeklies everywhere) goes to “Edgy” Mama’s for her post extolling the genesis of her own “humorous” parenting column.

    Wow…I was almost left speechless and almost let this one go by like most seem to let her weekly “humorous” and “edgy” columns go by, but alas my inner bullsh*t meter finally went off.

    Her weekly blog is probably harmless enough even though its not even remotely “edgy” sounding to me and mainly seems to just promote herself instead of telling a story or bringing anything newsworthy to light.

    Its ironic enough to call yourself “edgy” when you are apparently a soccer mom with what sounds like a comfortable living environment, but then to throw in today’s self pimping mention which publically hamstrings and most likely embarrasses the poor editor of the paper is really whack.

    The actual straw that broke this camel’s back was when Ms Mama attempted to squeeze her menusha riddled efforts in with some of the watershed events and folks who actually made the Xpress respectable publication.

    Sorry Xpress and Edgy if this came off a bit harsh, I guess I must be menstruating errr something. Oh gee, that sounds like a great idea for a blog! She seems like a nice enough person and to be honest I do read her “column” each week if only to get my ire up. Good luck EM. Maybe I should have had my 2nd Sanka before pressing submit…ah fu*k it!

    Long live the Xpress. Thank you for supporting our community for 15 years. Here’s to 15 more!

  10. Jon Elliston

    Brandon,

    Thanks for the feedback. And while I’m sorry to hear your not an EM fan, I’m glad to hear you’re still reading the column.

    I count the column as a legit MX milestone — a regular, varied and well-done parenting column has been welcomed by many readers who found our coverage of family matters lacking before. We’ll add that item to our timeline today.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  11. Kithy

    How come you don’t mention somewhere in your timeline that you all could not have made it if you had not stolen the very successful Out ‘n About concept? The rumors back then were than Out ‘n About wouldn’t take the money from Julian Price because he wanted to control what they wrote. Jeff Fobes had no problem doing just that. I was also in a small store downtown when one of your reps came in and put the pressure on the store owner to quit advertising with Out ‘n About because you all were going to put them out of business. Bet that’s something you are really proud of.

  12. TokyoTaos

    I love Anne Fitten’s column and the only meter I see that’s off is Brandon’s sense-of-humor meter. Please have your 2nd Sanka.

  13. ?”Stolen the Out N About concept”?
    Surely you must be kidding… or just being sarcastic.

    The concept of a monthly ( and later weekly) independent publication has been around for decades…and repeated time and again, so it’s kind of hard to steal a concept like that. That would be like stealing the concept for selling ice cream in edible cone-shaped containers.

    I remember Out ‘n About and enjoyed it but Mountain Xpress seemed like a totally different concept at that time.
    As I recall, MX was more of an “issues” publication originally and “Out N About” was more of an entertainment publication.
    Yes…local businesses sometimes had to make difficult choices about their advertising dollars….but that’s nothing new either.

    After Out N About folded, Mtn Xpress expanded their entertainment coverage to fill in the gap.

    That’s no real scandal.

    And why continue to spread unsubstantiated rumors about a man like Julian Price who did so much to support Asheville…..

  14. James Fisher

    Kithy wrote: “I was also in a small store downtown when one of your reps came in and put the pressure on the store owner to quit advertising with Out ‘n About because you all were going to put them out of business”

    As someone who was an ad rep at Xpress back when Out ‘n About was still publishing, I feel that I can speak to this comment. There was never a dedicated effort to put Out ‘n about out of business. That said, our success probably did hasten their decline. My view, looking way back, is that our broader subject matter gave the readers more content in one place than Out ‘n about had. Also, we were weekly from the start. And our distribution was stronger from the get-go. I do recall using these points in my sales presentations — nothing dark and sinister there. I would expect any sales rep for any media source to tout the strengths of their media source, be it print, radio, etc.

    Since the demise of Out ‘ About, many publications have tried their hand at publishing in this market. Some have succeeded, such as Rapid River which is in its 12th year of publication as an arts publication — kudos to them! Clearly their model of all arts content with monthly distribution has worked for them. Perhaps Out ‘n About had other issues in their business model that caused them to fail. Hard for me to say. But I can say that, in my 14 years here, Mountain Xpress ad reps have never targeted any other publication with an intent to “put them out of business.” Further, as current ad director, I can assure you that if a rep were to use such tactics — for what reason I can’t fathom — that rep would be no longer selling for us.

    Another interesting project that may not be well known, but clearly shows our strong relationship with fellow local publications, is the Community Publishers Group. Here is a link: http://www.cpgwnc.com/news Check it out, as it has been an excellent example of how supposed “competitors” in the industry can join together and help each other out, in this case regarding distribution. I think this concrete example of Mountain Xpress’ attitude towards other local publications speaks well — certainly better than me!

  15. Jeff Fobes

    Thanks, Kithy, for your unabashed critique. Internet-based “commenting” on articles tends to push everyone to greater honesty and forthrightness. Here is my attempt at being transparent:

    Xpress didn’t steal the Out ’n’ About concept. Dontalley said it well: “The concept of a [weekly] independent publication has been around for decades.” Plus, like he said, Xpress was a different product. While Out ’n’ About was principally an entertainment publication, Xpress came out of the gate as a NEWSpaper. We were part alt-weekly (“We cover the news from dance hall to city hall”) and part traditional community newspaper; we had a strong commentary section with politically diverse points of view; and we offered events and entertainment news/info.

    Xpress also brought some brand new ideas to the table: (1) A local-only-focus inspired by global-awareness (“Think globally, act locally.”); (2) citizen-journalism, which meant we treated our readers as potential contributors (we encouraged readers to try their hand at reporting), and (3) a new kind of journalism in which we emphasized the role of citizen-activists, of all political persuasions, in the civic process. Xpress was, and still is, a journalistic project to help promote a vibrant grassroots democracy in Asheville.

    I never heard that Julian Price offered money to Out ’n’ About. If he did, I’d be surprised if he sought to control what they wrote. I say this because his support of Xpress was provided for years without any attempt at editorial control, expressed or implied, of Xpress. And in later years, when he became interested in getting some of his ideas covered, he did it only as mild suggestions; if anything, he was frustrated at times that we didn’t pick up more on his ideas. For a year or so, he took a turn as “assignment news editor,” but basically he just joined in the weekly news meetings as one voice among many. There was never a suggestion that he’d withhold financial support if the paper didn’t do what he wanted.

    I’m unaware of any Xpress ad reps pressing store owners to quit advertising with Out ’n’ About. Had I heard of reps using that tactic, or of them saying we were going to put Out ’n’ About out of business, I’d have told them to stop it because it’s bad business and not community-spirited. That said, Xpress, like any publication, wants to earn as much as possible of local buinesses’ ad dollars; but the way you do that is to show how good you are, and why you offer the best marketing service – not to put down others.

    Back when Green Line was deciding whether to launch the weekly Xpress, I asked Out
    ’n’ About’s Alphie Hyorth if he and Tracy would be interested in collaborating with Green Line to produce a bigger and better product. Alphie said no.

    My analysis prior to Xpress’ launch indicated that to have a chance of survival in Asheville’s small market, a print product would have to be weekly. It was my belief that a weekly product, entertainment or otherwise, serves readers and merchants better than a fortnightly pub, such as Out ’n’ About. We live in weeks, not 14-day segments.

    On occasion, I’ve heard the criticism that Xpress had an unfair advantage over Out ’n’ About because it was backed by Julian Price and others. Certainly, better capitalization helps businesses get the necessary traction to survive. I don’t call that unfair; it’s a reality that we all must contend with every day.

    One should also remember that it takes more than just capital to flourish. I believe Xpress was a product that struck a chord with the people of Asheville and WNC – and its staff were determined enough to sustain the multi-year effort to get Xpress to a sustainable level.

  16. Tracy & Alphie Hyorth

    The above discussion was brought to our attention, and after much thought, we decided to tell the Out ‘n About side of the story.

    Out ‘n About began publishing in 1987 and was popular with readers from the very beginning because we knew that Asheville wanted to know what was going on in the community, whether it was about the arts, theatre, movies, music, community gatherings, or local news. However, it was difficult to bring in advertising dollars for such a new concept for Asheville and it was a financial struggle from the very beginning as it was for Green Line.

    Julian Price did offer us money, and it did come with strings attached. We had known Julian for a while and were shocked at such a proposition. We said no and were told he would give the money and support to someone else.

    Jeff approached both of us to talk about combining our efforts. We did feel that Jeff did not have a strong objective journalistic background as evidenced in his decision to publish Green Line with an activist slant. We had worked at newspapers for many years and knew that part of the business. We never said no to combining the two publications. We left our meeting with the understanding we would all think about everything and talk again later. Jeff never contacted us again so we got the impression he had changed his mind. Perhaps he felt we had said no.

    You can’t really steal a concept in the media business, because there is usually always someone who has done it before. In fact, Out ‘n About was similar to a publication that was very popular at a newspaper we had both worked for in Baton Rouge. Did we feel that Jeff made a conscious decision to create his new Mountain Xpress using the format that made Out ‘n About successful, building on what we had already started? Absolutely.

    The cover of the first Xpress said it all:… “News, Arts & Events for Western North Carolina,” which seemed to us directly aimed at covering what Out ‘n About was already covering. We had helped Jeff with Green Line and were surprised to see such a blatant move to go after our audience and advertisers, but it was a business decision he decided he needed to make in order to survive.

    We do not know about any small retail owner being told Mountain Xpress was going after our business, but I (Tracy) do know a club owner who was told exactly that by an Xpress advertising rep. I know this because I was told directly by this club owner.

    James is correct in saying Mountain Xpress had a stronger distribution. We made a mistake by not buying outside boxes for Out ‘n About. The papers flew off the shelves so fast, it was sometimes hard to convince potential advertisers that it had been out in the first place. Branded boxes – full or empty – would have spoken for themselves.

    With all of this said, the past is the past. We congratulate Jeff and Mountain Xpress for their ongoing success, and yes even take pride in knowing that Out ‘n About does live on in its pages. We are also happy to see the online success and conversations that take place in the online format.

  17. April Cash Ziems

    I would like to thank Tracy and Alhpie Hyorth for setting the record straight. Out’N About was a straight forward non bias entertainment, leisure, and news publication started in the mid-eighties. I had the pleasure of working for Out n’ About, as the Marketing Director, during the mid nineties. We did not sell stories as advertising content. The integrity of the publication rested in providing both sides and letting the readership form an opinion without slant or without personal agendas. Julian Price had a personal agenda for the City of Asheville, and when the Hyorth’s turned down his offer of financial support,(there were strings attached) Julian Price looked elsewhere. If I remember correctly Jeff, you often were asking Alphie to assist you in your own endeavors and tapping his knowledge for stories for the Greenline. Out n’ About presented a center pull out sheet with the Bele Chere schedule and a dining guide long before Mountain Express ever did. Truth just is.

  18. Jeff Fobes

    Thanks to Alphie and Tracy for adding good detail and new information to the discussion. Some differences of perception are inevitable.

    Out ‘n About on numerous occasions helped Green Line, something for which I was and still am grateful. As I considered the decision to publish a weekly, with its focus on news and entertainment, I feared doing so would hurt Out ‘n About. But as Alphie and Tracy put it, “it was a business decision he [Jeff] decided he needed to make in order to survive.”

    It’s likely that Alphie, Tracy and I did agree to talk further after our initial unfruitful discussion about combining papers. Just as Tracy and Alphie had problems with my journalistic orientation, I had concerns about theirs. My sense is that we both felt uncomfortable with the prospect of collaborating, sensing any number of ensuing editorial disagreements.

    About a month before we were to begin publishing Xpress, word came that the Citizen-Times was racing to begin its own standalone weekly entertainment publication (“Take 5”), in an effort to block Xpress’ ability to gain sufficient traction to survive. From that time on, the competition was intense, with Out ‘n About being one of several factors in a difficult media landscape. I’ll likely always remember the Citizen-Times’ dark-of-the-night placement of scores of yellow Take 5 distribution boxes about 10 days prior to our first issue, which we deemed (politically incorrectly) “the yellow peril.”

    I never heard that Julian offered money to Out ‘n About. But the Hyorths’ comment adds a dimension to that period of history.

    I have no knowledge about an (unnamed) club owner’s allegation to Tracy that Xpress was going after Out ‘n About’s business. I have to put this in the realm of hearsay (and smile thinking of some of the club owners as news sources). But even the statement is totally accurate, there’s a difference between going after someone’s business (ad base) and, as Kithy put it, aiming “to put them out of business.”

    Xpress used numerous publications as guides, many of them alt-weeklies from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, plus some glossy magazines. I’m sure we picked up on some of Out ‘n About’s good ideas in the process. And I particularly like Tracy’s statement that Out ‘n About lives on in Xpress’ pages.

  19. So refreshing to see a respectful dialogue from both parties without resorting to cheap shots and name calling.

    Maybe MX should add the Hyorths as columnists or commentators

  20. Jeff Fobes

    “Maybe MX should add the Hyorths as columnists or commentators — dontalley”

    Good idea. Their voices would be a welcome addition to the pages — print and/or virtual.

  21. AvlResident

    What were Julian Price’s “strings” in his offer to the Hyorths? What was his agenda for the City of Asheville?

  22. aprilziems

    Dear Asheville Resident,

    If you look at my earlier comment, one could only imagine that selling stories and news are not the same. Dear readers check the back issues, grab a copy and follow the past years! Check it out! It is each individuals reponsibility to examine history and check it out for ourselves, just read, see what our past is About. Ask Jeff?

    Opinions and advertising are not the same as NEWS.

    Advertising is Brand Recognition with action on the part of a consumer to purchase a product or service based on recognition of the products value. Some reader will purchase your product, If not now, sometime in the near future.

    The guts of any news worthy publication is Journalism. Oh yeah, Journalism, like Civics and Economics are subjects not taught in elementary education. Where is Walter Cronkite?
    Ever wonder why most people cant balance their check books? Are you One those? Do you understand our constitution? Have you read it lately? Why we have a Democratic system? A Bill of rights?

    Factual events and Good Happenings in a local publication like
    Covering city halls in WNC, and not from a desk. Go observe the participants, and report back to an audience that counts on you to deliver facts.

    You know: How, When, Who,What, How Many, Where, facts of the events, and other documented evidence of where the Questions lead? Public records, investigative reporting, Good stuff! The fifth estate. Ring any Bells?

    That is why we have editorials, and freelance writers, photographers, (a picture tells a thousand words),
    and cartoons.

    Most of all a reliable publication needs a Great Editor like Alphie. Kudos to You Jeff for acknowledging Alphie’s integrity in his profession! He is a Pro! Thank you.

    “Joe Public” deserves facts. Truth just is!

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