How quickly time flies.
One year. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 3,153,600 seconds.
That’s how long I have been in Gonzales. One year ago I moved to Gonzales for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was to get out of the cold and snow of Michigan winters. That was one year ago on Nov. 13, 2017.
So on Tuesday morning, Nov. 13, 2018, I awoke to great pomp and circumstance. When my feet hit the floor I was feeling exhilarated at the realization I was starting my second year in Gonzales at the helm of the Gonzales Inquirer.
The feeling of elation, however, lasted only a few seconds. I looked out my apartment window only to be horrified at the weather outside. It was snowing.
Panic instantly seized me. Was I dreaming? No, it must be a nightmare. Had I been teleported back to Michigan? This couldn’t be happening. Whose idea of a joke was this? I wondered.
Alas, it was. Mother Nature decided her one-year anniversary present to me was to remind yours truly of why I left the cold and snow of the Midwest behind.
Aside from the weather and cold, I couldn’t help but reflect of the changes and impact we have made on the community in the past year. Here are a few things that stand out to me:
- The Gonzales Inquirer is now a weekly newspaper instead of a twice weekly paper. The change allowed us to concentrate our resources into a much more robust newspaper, and our financial picture has improved dramatically because of it.
- The rededication to hyper local content has brought many of our readers back. Our overall circulation is up 4 percent year over year, and in some areas we have seen real growth of over 10 percent. That bucks the state and national trend of newspapers, and I am proud to say we are one of the few papers actually growing our circulation. The best thing is that the numbers I have just recited do not even include the growth of our online edition and explosion of likes on our Facebook page
- The newspaper has re-established much better working relationships with the business community, the city of Gonzales and the local community. We have partnered and co-sponsored numerous events with so many different organizations that it is mind-boggling. I am thankful for the current staff for their commitment to the mandate I established when I first arrived in Gonzales that we will be hyper local in our coverage and involvement in the community. I am truly grateful for their involvement, perseverance and dedication to making this a reality.
- I am grateful for the support of the community when the newspaper created and established the first-ever Craft Beer, Wine and Art festival in April. The event was a huge success, and we were able to contribute scholarship money to Victoria College here in Gonzales. Project 2030 is more than just a dream, and the 2nd Craft Beer festival is on the drawing board and is scheduled for the last full weekend in April. It promises to be bigger and better than year one.
- How can I describe the fun I have had and the people I have met at the local events: Winterfest and the Chili Cookoff (thanks Zella brothers), the Go Texan Banquet, GISD Foundation fundraiser, Chamber banquet, Summer Concert Series, Community Yard Sale, and oh my gosh—Come and Take It! Y’all know how to have a good time and throw a good party.
- I am also grateful to all the many wonderful friends I have made and to the awesome business relationships I have been blessed to develop over the course of the past year. There are so many people I would like to name and mention here, but it would take pages to list everyone who has helped me feel welcome, helped the newspaper be successful, and helped me on the learning curve on what makes Gonzales a special place to live and work. Thanks to all of you.
- Finally, I also want to reiterate my resolve about the Gonzales Inquirer: We want to provide the best and most complete local coverage of this area possible. This paper is about the people who live, work and do business here. We want to tell your stories, and as long as I am the publisher here, we will. We strive to be a major partner in the growth and prosperity of this community, and we want to help improve the quality of life for our citizens, businesses and public sector bodies. That is not a goal of ours, it is our mission. Let us know how we can help accomplish this.
Most of all, I would like to say thank you Gonzales for putting up with me. You have made me feel welcome and at home here, and I sincerely appreciate your kindness and thoughtfulness. As one of my friends says to me all the time, “You may be a damn Yankee, but you are our damn Yankee!” I smile proudly every time he says it. I am part of Gonzales, Texas and I am proud to call it home.