Here’s to another year

Nathan Oster

Not too many folks write holiday letters anymore. Postage stamps are more expensive than ever before and it takes time — precious time that many of us don’t feel like we have — to write, print, fold, stuff, address and mail.
A growing number of of people are posting a family photo and warm wishes on Facebook or Instagram.  Simple and fast.  Nothing wrong with that.
But it’s still a great feeling when a personalize holiday letter of any kind lands in your mailbox. I enjoy reading about what everyone’s been up to in the past year, especially family members and friends I don’t get to see that often.  
Maybe, just maybe, others feel the same way. That is the hope, anyway, as I attempt to summarize a year in the life of your community newspaper.  Did you know that this little operation of ours, the Standard, is the oldest business in town?  In 118 years, not a single missed issue.   We’re proud of that and the many who came before us.  
Not too long ago, I gave a tour of our office. We put up a new sign in 2023, which ranks as a highlight for us. But inside, our office hasn’t changed much since the ‘70s. Our basement could double as a newspaper museum.  Brave the steps and you’ll find an old press that’ll one day take a team of burly men to remove, hundreds of typesetting letters in trays, old computers, monitors, bundles of old papers and negatives.
The people are the ones who make it go, though, and at the top are David and Susan Peck, who own not only the Standard but also the papers in Lovell and Basin. They set the tone, always doing it in a positive and meaningful way.
In 2023, we lost our co-worker and friend, Sam Smith, at the end of February.  He was killed in a car accident driving home  from the state wrestling tournament.  We miss him every day.
But in other ways, it’s been a good year.  Marlys keeps churning out great copy. She’s put in more than a half a century at the Standard. Her son Scott put on a 90th birthday party for her on Halloween.  It was a great night and a great celebration which followed closely on the heels of injuries she sustained in a fall, which made it even better.
You don’t see her around as much, but Connie Gustafson is the one who sells the ads that keep our operation going. She’s one of the very best teammates I’ve ever had.  A true champion of our local businesses.
So many good people contribute to bringing you the news each week.  Shayne Mazur recently left us, but we’ll be proud to list her as one of our own when she hits it big in the publishing industry.  Victoria O’Brien took her place, providing her very first feature this week. We’re excited about what she’ll bring to our readers.
The list goes on and on.  Pam Dellos, the proudest grandma I know, has been with the papers longer than I have but not quite as long as Marlys. She  handles billing and circulation. Everyone, I mean everyone, knows Barbara Anne, a tireless advocate for Basin and all businesses large and small.  She actually enjoys politics, too.
Lisa Kunkel, who could shoot for any newspaper she wanted, captured a lot of wonderful moments for us this year that made our papers better.
Brent Gernant, our driver, fearlessly drove through a snowstorm of epic proportions to gather up the papers in Powell and bring them back home. Teresa Davis, our stuffer, is as reliable as they come.  
The same can be said for Heather Howe, our Wednesday morning proofer and “the mayor of Funville,” which is my way of describing her other gig as director of the Greybull Rec District.
Our designers, Carla Wensky and Karlie Hammond, make awesome, eye-catching ads.  And our press people in Powell, Gilbert and Jamie, do their best to make what we send them look its best.
2023 has been something.  We’ve shared a lot of news. No doubt we’ve missed some, too.  The best stories were the ones that showed our community coming together. There were the benefits for people in need, for those in accidents, for those dealing with cancer.  We celebrated teams that came together -- the volleyballers winning conference and regional titles, the boys basketball squad going on a great postseason run last year. We reported on new businesses that held grand openings, long-delayed projects finally getting off the ground and of course, all the fun from a very wet Days of ‘49 celebration in June.
We look forward to whatever 2024 has in store and will do our best to bring it to you in the weeks and months to come.
— Nathan Oster