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I'm just down the street

February 1, 2023

By Mike Weland

A dear friend sent me a beautiful photo and a few lines of explanation regarding an amazing and inspirational Boundary County neighbor and volunteer, Marciavee Cossette, honored at the recent annual meeting of our local GROW! Boundary County Community Garden organization. And she thanked me for publishing. That she felt the need broke my heart.

When I started publishing online local news, I envisioned a journal like the weeklies I read in every small town my family stopped in as I grew up, driving from Army base to Army base, Georgia to Alaska. Front page top was the town pie sale and right below that the weddings, anniversaries, births. A family fallen to misfortune and needing help. On occasion a crime story, a tragedy, bad news involving a citizen gone astray.

Most often, though, accolades for honor roll recipients, promotions and new hires down at the store, the office, the mill. Obituaries marking the passage of neighbors, stories of friends who enlisted or got promoted in the military.

Who got their buck or landed a beautiful trout. Who made the winning touchdown or won a berth at state for the hometown team. Who brought in the first buttercup, crocus or pussy willow to affirm spring was here; who celebrated an anniversary, a family reunion.

There are far too few journalists these days who choose to deliver small town news ... it's much safer and far more lucrative to serve the regional markets, to aspire to the celebrity status of national outlets.

Few reporters these days dare stay around long to write of and about people who live next door or just down the street, each able to knock at your door or stop by your office, meet you on the street or in the grocery to talk about or clarify the tenor of your coverage. That seems to me a shame.

I can't speak for those who read my work, but I do my my best to be an honest and fair reporter, working without staff or editor to serve the only place I've known that has welcomed me. I did not stay here to work as a reporter because I was deficient or incapable. I stayed here and did my best to serve the most amazing community I've ever been privileged to know. Over a career of more than 30 years covering news in Boundary County, I've stirred pride in our community and wrought controversy. I earned trust.

I've enjoyed accolades and agonized over accusations and insinuations. My coverage has saved lives. I never made much money, but I cannot imagine a career that could be more rewarding.

But the years since 2016 have disheartened me and made me wonder why I sill try.

I tolerate the beratings of those today who declare I'm "fake news," who insinuate I'm a liar, a socialist. A liberal. I'm none of those. I'm a dedicated small town reporter, serving my community.

I may err at times, but I do not lie. I do not hide who I am or where I am. As a local reporter, I pray to receive news tips from both concerned citizens and proud grandmas, regardless of slant or bias. Unless I hear it, I can't report it.

To she who shared that beautiful photo of Marciavee, I am grateful. Thank you. To the community, please share with me all your news. I'm just down the street.
9B News
Mike Weland, Publisher
6931 Main Street
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
()208) 295-1016

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Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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