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Now we are 5


We celebrate as often as possible around here. First, there's our birthday in January every year. (The North Coast Journal was begun in 1990 by Tom and Mia Abate, who sold us the fledging monthly in June of that year. Tom is now with the San Francisco Chronicle.) We sometimes celebrate in July, the month we put out our own first edition. And it was Sept. 3, 1998 -- five years ago we took a giant leap forward and launched the North Coast Journal Weekly as you know it today.

I was looking back this week at that first effort with Mark Carter, "Mr. Hospitality," on the cover. It was a lighter piece -- a personality profile of the hotelier, gourmand and oenophile, and his impact on the local hospitality industry. But it wasn't long before we were back into controversy with stories on the "End of the independent grocers" (Safeway's strong-arm move to reduce the competition) and, one of our more controversial covers that year, "17 reasons why football is better than high school." (Back editions are accessible here on our website.)

On our first anniversary, Sept. 2, 1999, the cover subject was "Growing pains" for local farmers' markets threatened by pending legislation. The Sept. 7, 2000 cover was an in-depth look at the county's new economic development guide, Prosperity, and the recently established Headwaters Fund, money that has yet to be allocated. Sept. 6, 2001, was another profile, this time of photographer Larry Ulrich. On our fourth anniversary last year, the entire staff participated in a special package of 12 stories all related to 9/11, "One year later."

This week we have two stories sharing the cover, part two of the Shelter Cove saga by free-lancer George Ringwald, who has been with us through all our birthdays, and a piece by our newest staff member, Hank Sims. Sims spent time with Cpl. Josh Ingram, a Marine who recently returned from the Iraqi front with a story to tell.

In the news section this week, we are trying something a little different, wrapping the weekly news highlights into a section called, "Weekly Wrap." We hope this condensed version of the top stories of the week will allow our editorial staff more time and space to expand on stories that need a little more attention.

As always, we appreciate feedback from you.



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