Today's date: Monday May 29, 2017 Vol 50 Issue 21
   
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The Wellington Advertiser encourages letters to the editor.
You may, if you wish, submit your letter online.

Acrostic effort

Dear Editor:

C is for combining

A is for all

N is for  nations

A is for achieving

D is for deserved

A is for admiration.

Canada has achieved a desire of other nations. It has created unity  by inviting various peoples to live together in harmony!

Will some one else take up my challenge and create an  acrostic for our country’s 150th birthday?

Sytske Drijber, ROCKWOOD

Dear Editor:

RE: Stand for something, May 19.

Roy Val speaks the truth in his letter-to-the-editor. He argues well that citizens who don’t engage in local issues at the municipal level will “get policies that don’t reflect your interests.”

However, I have found that trying to “stand for something” with the powers-that-be is not pleasant. If you hold a view they don’t like and that makes them look bad, they will not engage with you.

When I protested a few years ago about changes to East Wellington Community Services bylaws a few of the editors of local papers said they would not publish anything personal. How is protesting the prevention of a taxpayer from speaking at a public meeting “personal?”

When I investigated the issue of the Station Street Dam Environmental Assessment I was charged with spreading “fake news.” Why would a politician paid by taxpayers even dare suggest he would not be willing to engage with his constituent?

Further in regard to the Station Street Dam EA, I was forced to send the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change a request for a Part II Order Request because no one would answer why the county ... did not adhere to the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement under the Planning Act that requires a high level of cooperation between levels of government in the planning process. We are still waiting for the ministry to respond to all the Phase II Order requests on this project.

Erin council presented a budget for 2017 with no wage increases for town staff. At a later meeting council voted in favour of a cost of living increase for the staff. Why sneak a wage increase in as a cost of living increase? I wrote to council members asking if I could have a cost of living decrease on my property taxes. No response.

Engagement is a two-way street. If the powers-that-be won’t respond in a truthful and civil manner to their constituents they should be removed from office in the next election.

It is the job of newspapers to set the truth, not just selective truths, before the public so that citizens can make informed choices.

Yes, Mr. Val, we need to engage and stand for something. But it is a nasty business. Perhaps this is why so few try.

Jane Vandervliet, ERIN

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Dear Editor:

RE: The new Live and Work in Wellington logo.

The man on the logo appears to be Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. He was nicknamed the “Iron Duke” after winning the battle of Waterloo, thus ending the Napoleonic Wars. He was also a politician who served during the middle years of Queen Victoria’s reign. He was prime minister.

There is a wonderful painting of him by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya, done when Wellesley was fighting in the Spanish Peninsula War, that looks like the Wellington logo.

Wellesley was a great man, after whom the County of Wellington and the towns of Arthur and Wellesley are named. It is therefore quite appropriate to have his image on the Live and Work in Wellington County logo.

Irene Smedley, GUELPH

OPINION: Community newspapers stay true to their roots

TORONTO - In the many thousands of words that have been written about the collapse of Canadian daily newspapers, there is a parallel good news story that has been untold.

There are places in Canada in which newspaper circulation is actually stable or growing, and where reader loyalty is as strong as it has ever been. Places where people still pick up the paper and read it front to back to find out what’s going on in their community.

These places, as you might have guessed, are not Canada’s mid-sized to large cities, where the spectacular decline of local print media has created an appalling news vacuum. Rather, it is in community newspapers that serve the hundreds of small towns that form the heartland of the country.

It is no easy ride, but community newspapers enjoy relative stability in comparison to their bigger cousins. One Ontario paper I recently encountered claims a circulation penetration rate of 89 per cent - meaning nine out of 10 households in its circulation area buy and read the paper. Those kind of numbers were seldom matched by daily newspapers even at the height of their popularity.

Community newspapers have held true for a number of reasons. Unlike other media, these newspapers tells stories about their communities - stories you can’t find on a news wire. Readers cannot find their mix of local news, events, sports and advertising anywhere else. Readers often feel a personal connection, or sense of ownership, with their community newspaper. If they don’t like a story, they can call up and complain. Editors and owners belong to the same social clubs, churches and hockey leagues as their customers.

Local businesses, in turn, view community newspapers as the best bet for effectively reaching consumers in these small markets. Their markets are “captive” (i.e., generally too small for the big guys to try to move in).

Corporations have made inroads in some smaller communities, especially in the Golden Horseshoe area between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Yet those efforts have brought mixed success, at best, and in some cases total failure (leading to the closure of some small papers).

Their cost-saving tactics are often what doom them to failure. Companies try to recover the cost of purchasing a small paper by cutting staff. There are cases, in fact, in which the only reporter left at a “local” paper doesn’t even live in the community the paper represents.

This is a fatal tactic - especially in communities where the personal connection is everything. In the little southern Ontario town of Petrolia, for example, the community was so disgusted by what has happened to its local paper under company ownership that local advertisers supported the emergence of an independent competitor. When a corporate paper puts virtually nothing into a community (and yet expects to take our profits through advertising revenue), it’s not really that hard to provide a better product.

All of this is not to say small papers have an easy ride. Recently, publishers, editors and business managers from Ontario’s community papers gathered in Toronto for its annual conference. They spoke of the many worries that cloud the crystal ball: ongoing trouble attracting national advertisers, the difficulty in retaining talented young staff who get richer offers from bigger markets, and adapting to the digital age in which a solid web presence and social media strategy are an essential part of the mix.

There will be papers, no doubt, that will give up the fight and fold, as some have. Yet for those who stay, strive to adapt and keep their eye on the ball, it’s hard to imagine a future without a community newspaper in some form.

They will survive because nobody else is going to tell the stories they do - about local births and deaths, local heroes and hooligans, the wise and foolish decisions of the local council and prospects for the minor hockey teams. The heartland has shown, time and again, that they will support a local news source that lives and breathes small town Canadian life.

The stories that impact us most are the ones about our neighbours.

 

Doug Firby, TORONTO

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Wellington North Guide 2017-2018

BUZZ

Author relays ‘13 ways to kill a community’ to municipal representatives
Teen charged in alleged robbery with pellet gun at school
City street sweepings concerns Puslinch
Dekorte, Katerberg to appear in court this fall
Celebrate Canada's 150
Missing Puslinch man found dead

COLUMNISTS

Olivia Rutt and Jaime Myslik
Stephen Thorning - 1949-2015
Kelly Waterhouse

EDITORIAL

Dave Adsett: Well and happy

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