By Nick Grabbe and Sarah Marshall
The Amherst Current is marking its first birthday this week with a look back at the past year and with news about the future.
First, we want to thank our subscribers, occasional readers, contributors, and commenters. It is indicative of our reliance on others that the two most widely read posts of the past year (“A civil conversation” and “Remembering Baer Tierkel”) were not written by either of us. Contributors have written on a wide range of issues and have enriched the conversation.
For most of the past year, we posted twice a week, with occasional extra posts, more than 125 in all. In addition, we provided updates in certain categories on the left side of our home page. Some of these, such as “Fact Check” and “Recent House Sales” were closely followed by readers. Even our bios, “About Us,” attracted over 1,000 views.
But far more widely read was “Election Update,” which became the go-to place last fall to find out about candidates filing papers, logging 2,322 views. The “Candidate Information” page also provided up-to-the minute resources for voters. November’s election, which was one of the reasons we started this blog in the first place, was a central focus for us. We published eight posts on candidates and seven on the Jones Library referendum.
The Amherst Current was the first outlet to provide the results on Election Night and we provided 21 next-day comments from knowledgeable observers. We supported a “yes” vote on the Jones Library referendum but did not endorse any candidates.
We also wrote numerous explanatory posts designed to make complex issues easier to understand. These dealt with the spike in house prices and the squeeze on student
rentals, energy conservation at the Jones Library and the new elementary school, and why property taxes in Amherst are so high. We explained parking, potholes and Public Works, plus climate mitigation projects, Town budgeting, and hydroponics, and we also followed political campaign finances.
Nick decided to refrain from further commenting on local issues as of Jan. 1, returning to the neutral stance he adopted in his 32 years at the newspapers. He then wrote a four-part series on famous writers who lived in Amherst and a three-part series on the history of journalism in town. Sarah’s goal for the last year was fostering a better understanding of how Town government works and how the public can participate. Lately, she focused on the elementary school building project.
But now it is summer! Until the fall, the Amherst Current will be posting less frequently, only as events warrant and as issues arise. (We will still add notices of interest to the “On our radar” page and keep up “Recent House Sales.”) We’ll be following progress towards and comments on the override vote on the new school building, expected in March, to see if the debate is less contentious than it was six or seven years ago. In the fall, we’ll decide what the future holds for this blog.
As always, you can reach us at email@example.com and all our posts are still available (click on a category of interest in the menu or scroll through “all posts”).
It has been a privilege to serve the Amherst community by providing more perspective on the issues that matter to all of us.