If you are have received our first print edition of The Niagara-on-the-Lake Local, hot off the press, we couldn’t be more thrilled.
If you don’t receive it with your mail, please let us know, so we can investigate.
We have had so much fun getting to this point, and the support that has brought us here has been incredible.
We have made much in our conversations with people about wanting to be the voice of the community. To do that we need your help.
We recently held our first community advisory board meeting in preparation for our print launch, and it was a huge success — a group of smart people from various sectors of town gathered to listen to what we hope to accomplish, and to offer suggestions on how to get there. They had such great ideas for us. It was exhilarating and such a blast we can’t wait to meet again. The goal of having an advisory committee is to encourage community collaboration and transparency at time when both are crucial.
Our mandate is to represent everyone, whether you live in Old Town, the rural areas, or one of our other neighbourhoods; whether you’re interested in politics, want to know what’s going on around town, or like to read about the fascinating people who are your friends and neighbours. And kids — we want to tell you what they’re up to, what their schools are doing, how their sports teams are faring.
We live in a town of neighbourhoods and residents of varied and sometimes competing interests, so we decided to ask for help from a group of locals we feel have their fingers on the pulse of different sectors in town, to ensure we stay on our chosen path. With their help we want to strengthen our ties to each corner of the community and make sure we are accountable to all areas and interests.
Imagine Joe Pillitteri sitting at a table for a serious discussion — at our first meeting he had us in hysterics one minute with a story about ripping his pants at a wedding, (likely to be included in his next comedy routine), and then he had us in tears as he told us how much faith he has in us in our new endeavour. He’s a family man in touch with the farming community, but also a strong supporter of minor sports and other fundraisers in town.
Sean Simpson, a successful and clever businessman with a young family, zeroed in on council stories at our meeting — what’s important about them, he said, is how council decisions impact people’s lives. A good reminder.
Janice Thomson is one of the wisest people on this planet, known for doing what is right. She’s an ardent supporter of the business community, which in the long run is good for the community as a whole. She’ll be sure to keep us on track.
Julia Buxton Cox is a top-notch social media moderator, always striving for fairness and objectivity — qualities essential in any news source.
Andrew Niven lives in St. Davids with his young family, and works for Konzelmann Estate Winery. He is also chair of the NOTL Wineries, which promotes the local industry, and so understands better than most the delicate balancing act between creating sustainable tourism and developing great communities for raising families.
Marcia Penner of Penner Building Centre is an active member of the Virgil Business Association, a business woman raising a family, and knows the people and the community of Virgil and the rural area inside out.
Debbie Krause, a NOTL native who has also raised a family in town, talks to a lot of people during the course of the day. Or rather, she says, through her job as program co-ordinator at the NOTL Public Library, listens to a lot of people, who have varied ideas of what the community needs and wants. She’ll know what stories we need to tell.
Joan King, well, what can we say. There aren’t many events in town where she isn’t volunteering in some capacity. While she’s best known for organizing the Terry Fox Run and raising a ton of money, her involvement spans every corner of the community.
Mike Balsom has also agreed to help us out. He’s a St. Catharines high school teacher and a great interviewer for YourTV Niagara — whether the event is a fundraiser, political or sports-related, he does a great job presenting community news.
We also have a member of the Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee on board. Alexcia Cofell has signed up, and we are delighted to have her. She’s bright, smart, motivated, and young! If we’re going to represent all of the community, it’s important to have at least one person representing the youth in town. Her advice to us: “I think to make the paper more relevant we can reach out to local high schools and elementary schools to let them know about the paper, we can also place ads in local stores and businesses, put ads on social media and lastly encourage youth to spread the word about this paper to their peers,” she said. To make it more interesting to youth, she added, “ I think covering the most relevant and exciting events would attract me and my peers, as well as including many images and creative ideas.” The future of the town is in good hands.
And then there’s us. Karen Skeoch, the multi-media sales representative for the former Niagara Advance for 27 years, is well-known by business people in town. Reach out to her if you want to talk about advertising.
Karen and I are partners with Pat Darte — he’s supposed to be silent — anyone who knows him will be wishing us luck on that score, in the most affectionate way — and our business advisor. We depend on him to sort out all the important details we know nothing about.
Lauren O’Malley, a creative and wonderfully talented journalist, loves to tell the people stories, to write about events, music and the arts, and we’re so proud to have her put her skills to work for The Local.
You may also see photo-journalist Fred Mercnik roving around town on our behalf. He loves the community as much as we do and takes great photos for us.
Members of our community advisory board have been asked to be judges of whether we are fulfilling our mandate and achieving our goals. We expect them to tell us how we can do better, and to be part of our team. We hope they will love being part of forging strong connections between The Local and their communities.
That invitation extends to all of you, whether you have a story to tell, an event to share, or any suggestions about how we can be your voice — please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Niagara-on-the-Lake Local