Welcome to 2024

As the New Year begins, it’s a good time to reflect on what we accomplished last year and what we are looking forward to in 2024.

2023 was a busy one! We continued to cover stories and issues affecting the region and individual communities, as you will see from the year’s recap in this week’s issue. We reported on the ongoing grassroots efforts to save Sharon Hospital’s labor and delivery service; food insecurity and efforts to combat it; and several important environmental issues — including efforts to replant Housatonic Meadows, and efforts to thwart the spongy moth invasion and that of the hard-to-kill aquatic weed hydrilla, which turned up at Twin Lakes.

Various community plans to address the local affordable housing crisis and homelessness made our pages. We covered the local stories we love: school sports, student successes, business openings, profiles of local artists and community leaders. We recognized the passing of beloved community members and marveled at the contributions they made during their lifetimes.

We covered town meetings and elections across the region. A Pew Research/Knight Foundation study has revealed that strong local news habits are closely associated with civic engagement—including voting in local elections and having a strong connection to community.

We made changes to our editorial team. Riley Klein became the Managing Editor of The Lakeville Journal. John Coston became our Editor-in-Chief. I joined The Lakeville Journal Company as Publisher in February. Roxanne Lee joined Mary Wilbur on our advertising team.

We revived our internship program. The Lakeville Journal and The Millerton News were both blessed with outstanding contributions from aspiring young journalists, including Ella Hewins, a 2023 graduate of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Sadie Leite, a Tufts University senior, and Emma Spindler, now a senior at Kent School.

We also helped some third-year students at Marist College produce an excellent short documentary film on the shortage of local EMS volunteers.

In August we held Jam on Academy, our 2nd Annual Lakeville Journal Community Fair, featuring 30 local nonprofit organizations. To begin the New Year with a bang, we are pleased to announce the launch of the new Lakeville Journal website. It is a significant milestone in our commitment to providing the best news and arts coverage of our communities, wherever/however you prefer to read it. This launch is just the beginning of our work to bring you an enhanced, free, online experience.

Our mission, however, remains the same: to help our readers make informed and inspired decisions through coverage of towns, governments, and regional issues, and to help make our readers aware of this area’s rich cultural offerings.

Let’s look forward to a year in which empathy and kindness flourish. Let’s support our local entrepreneurs and businesses. Let’s imagine a year in which volunteering becomes matter of fact. Let’s renew our commitment to the environment.

Finally, many thanks to our readers. Your letters and emails and feedback remind us that journalism is not just about ink on paper or words on a screen. Thank you to our advertisers and our donors for believing in the power of community-driven media.

Sincerely yours,

Susan Hassler, Publisher

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