My grandmother turned 90 last month. Her memory isn’t much anymore. In fact, it’s nearly gone. But we should all be so lucky to live to such an age—if we’re healthy, of course— and if we can look back on the arc of our life and mostly smile, as she does when the moment allows.

How long is a long time, I often wonder. In five years, I’ll be just half her age. For all I know, she’ll be 95 at that point, and still out push-mowing her backyard, as she is while I write this. (I only fill the tank up halfway, so it runs out of gas and she begrudgingly has to rest.)

A long time, she unknowingly reminds me, is being so excited on Saturday morning to go into town with your brothers because you had a nickel in your pocket—and who knows what you would find for that nickel. A nickel, I think. Not only could she get something for a nickel, but she had options. There was a bounty of items she could get for five cents. That was a long time ago.

I wonder still, what could I get for a nickel today? Very little, maybe nothing. And then I remember. I can actually slide a nickel into a parking meter in Shepherdstown and get four and a half minutes (on German St.)—just enough time to run into a business and pick something up, talk to a friend, pet a dog, or just sit on a bench in the sun. I can actually spend a nickel, and get something that only costs five cents, right in Shepherdstown.

My friends in Chicago get a big kick out of that one. When I moved back to Jefferson County from The Windy City a few years ago, Chicago had just privatized its parking meter system, and had achieved the lofty rate of six bucks an hour—which is now closer to seven.

A New Opportunity
All things being equal, I don’t worry about that too much theses days. Instead, I find myself appreciating the uniqueness of the place I’m in. And you are unique, Jefferson County. I’ll give you that. So unique in fact, that shortly after I landed here from the City by the Lake, I picked up a job writing for The Observer. At that point, I was a full-time writer looking to do some side work closer to home—looking to peel back the layers within my unique community and see what stories were waiting to be told.

And I found them. And I continue to find them. And along the way, I even came upon an opportunity to become the new owner of this fine publication. And so I thought very carefully on the subject, considered the feedback of those whose thoughts and opinions matter most to me, and ultimately decided that I wanted to take the plunge.

And so, here we are.

If you read my feature in last month’s print issue (as well as this month’s print editorial), then you know I’ve got some pretty ambitious ideas for The Observer moving forward. And well, why not?

I’ve never been one to say that everything is meant to be or that each effort we put forth should be analyzed to the fullest for its impact on every effort thereafter, but I do think that we often make our own luck, and realize opportunity through hard work and passion.

For whatever reason, my career has led me to this, and I’m going to make the most of it. I’m going to rally my team of absolute geniuses at The Observer—who I couldn’t be more proud of— and create a news, information, and story-telling platform in Jefferson County, and beyond, that involves the community every step of the way, and becomes a go-to source for the topics they care about, the stories they want told, and the updates that keep them informed of what’s happening around them.

People like to say print is dying. I say it’s changing. And like anything else, if you don’t adapt to the changes, then yes, you might stumble, or worse. So, The Observer is adapting. You’ll see it within our pages. You’ll see it on this website. You’ll see it on our Facebook feed, and any other endeavors we explore.

We look at this opportunity as a new road ahead—filled with hope, promise, complexity, challenge, and all the substance of life and career that seduces us from sleep each morning and begs us to participate.

The future is now. And The Observer is fully prepared to take its first steps towards whatever that future holds. We’d like you to come with us.

Shall we?


— Mike Chalmers, Editor In Chief

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