March, 2005

 Little more than a year ago, The Valley Patriot was just an idea.

 That idea was to provide an alternative voice for Merrimack Valley newsmakers and community leaders who were frustrated by the lack of adequate local coverage in other media outlets. We wanted to publish a newspaper that was different. A newspaper with a mission to provide news and opinions not filtered by the political agenda of an editorial board.

 Skeptics and malcontents in the community laughed, saying that the paper would never get off the ground and would never have credibility.

 Within a few short months we were publishing breaking stories that were later covered in the local daily papers and on Boston talk radio. A few months later we were noticed by Andy Card at the White House, Congressman Marty Meehan and Governor Mitt Romney. Something that surprised even us! Of course, the skeptics and critics have noticed us too. The Massachusetts Teachers Association even brought legal action trying to suppress the opinions of one of our columnists. It must scare them to know that every month, the public is exposed to ideas they don’t approve of.

 This month, as we publish our one-year anniversary edition, we are humbled and grateful that so many important political and business leaders have embraced and endorsed our mission to provide local news and opinions not covered by other media.

 We are also appreciative that so many readers have made us a regular part of their news consumption every month. This past year, The Valley Patriot has published articles and columns with contributions from Lawrence Mayor Mike Sullivan, Lawrence Council President Pat Blanchette, Councilors Israel Reyes and Nilka Alvarez, School Committeeman Amy McGovern, Superintendent Wilfredo Laboy, and Lawrence High Principal Tom Sharkey.

 Our readers have also enjoyed news and opinions from North Andover officials: Town Manager Mark Rees, Selectmen Wendy Wakeman and Jim Xenakis, Superintendent Harry Harutunian, Dr. Ormsby, community activists Ted Tripp, Ed Maguire and Bill Kelly, just to name a few.

 Once we expanded into Methuen and Haverhill, our readers were able to hear from such newsmakers as former Haverhill Mayor Jim Rurak, City Councilor Bob DesMarais, School Committeeman Scott Wood, Methuen Mayor Sharon Pollard, Methuen Council President Bill Manzi, and Central District Councilor Kathleen Corey Rahme. Of course, with the limited space we have here on this page, we cannot individually thank everyone who has contributed to the success of The Valley Patriot. From business leaders, to community activists, to elected officials and a very loyal readership, the response has been overwhelmingly supportive. If not for the help and cooperation of all of them, this monthly newspaper would still be … just an idea.

 The Board of Directors at The Valley Patriot want to express our THANKS to the readers, contributors, advertisers, (anonymous phone callers), elected officials, community activists and everyone else who has given of their time, money, energy, effort, and prestige to make The Valley Patriot an exciting and reliable new voice in the Merrimack Valley.

 In the coming year we are looking forward to doubling that success and expanding our readership, as well as our coverage area. With the continued help of all of you, we are sure to duplicate what has been a VERY successful year!