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Margie Foster of Glen Ellen receives the very first, hot-off-the-presses copy of the Kenwood Press from new publisher Paul Goguen on Jan. 14, 2021. Photo by Melissa Dowling


I can’t believe it’s been a year!

When Alec and Ann Peters passed the Kenwood Press torch to me and Paul in January 2021, we truly didn’t know what to expect. The honor of publishing our local paper has been a wonderful experience with just a few “Oh s%#@” moments.

With this issue we honor Jay Gamel’s much-deserved retirement as a staff member of the Kenwood Press. We were thrilled when Jay agreed to stay on staff with us for 2021 after Alec and Ann retired. Kenwood Press readers are familiar with Jay’s thorough news coverage, but few are aware how much Jay has done behind the scenes. Managing classified ads, layout, the website, photography, and technology, and mitigating general newspaper disasters, Jay brings wisdom and good cheer to everything he does.

Jay, Alec, Ann, our contributors, and the community have taught us well, and we’re ready to embark on our next year as publishers of the Kenwood Press. Jay will still make an appearance in the pages of the

KP from time to time, but the dayto- day will be up to us.

I came from a corporate background, primarily in human resources, where we tracked business performance through “key performance indicators” and “metrics.” Here are a few of ours for 2021:

1. We now generally send the paper to the printer by about 3 or 4 p.m. in the afternoon of print day. For our first few issues, we sent it in closer to midnight. Score: Improved.

2. We have far fewer typos and misspellings in the paper than in our first issues. What were some of the best errors of 2021? We called Jane Witkowski Kathy in a caption; I spelled Sonoma Developmental Center wrong in the sky box on page 1; and we spelled Paul’s name wrong in a caption. Another good one: Spelling the names of our wonderful contributors Robert Kourik and Jim Shere wrong in their bylines in an early 2021 issue (ouch!). We, of course, owe our improved spelling to our wonderful copyeditors, Tracy Salcedo and Jazmine Kanengiser, and our meticulous proofreaders, Lindsey Blanchard and Debbie Lammers. Also, I now refrain from changing text after the proofreaders have giving the paper their stamp of approval, which helps tremendously. Score: Improved.

3. We’ve had a hard time scheduling with the Sonoma County Sheriff to collect information for the Crime Watch due to COVID- 19. We hope to get the Crime Watch up and running again in 2022. Score: Needs Improvement.

4. We worry less about how we’re going to get the paper out the door with each issue. With our first issues, I felt dread and panic that we didn’t have enough content, or we had too much content. I realized we can always fill empty space with photos of our canine correspondent (Buckley, who will turn one-yearold this month), or push a story to the next issue. Somehow, we get it done each time. Score: Improved.

5. Our number of paid subscribers is up 40%! This increase is mostly due to the fact that I make all of my friends and family members who live around the country pay for a subscription. Score: Neutral.

The most wonderful thing about publishing the Kenwood Press is when readers email us, call us, or stop by the newsroom to tell us they enjoy the paper. It means the world to us. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.

This Publishers’ Corner is dedicated to our Kenwood Press staff designer, Patti Buttitta, who manages all our advertising. She gently reminds me, quite regularly, that I should be writing a Publishers’ Corner for the paper more often. We couldn’t make a paper without her. Thank you, Patti!

—Melissa (and Paul)