The Moapa Valley PROGRESS Opinion page has just one goal in mind: offering an open forum for community discussion on the important issues and topics of the day. Inasmuch as it is successful at doing that, it fulfills what we believe is one of the most important functions of a small-town community newspapers.
It is the Opinion page that really gives dimension and perspective to the news of the day. The news of the week is thrown into relief and given added detail by the viewpoints of the community towards it. So it is this that allows our readers to reflect back the current community issues through their own individual points of view. That is why we set aside this page, every week. Whatever our readers may think about the opinions here, if these views have caused them to think at all, then the Opinion page has done its job.
We believe that a careful review of this page’s content over the past year indicates that it is still functioning very well. Though the medium for public discourse has widened in our internet-soaked culture, the Progress has worked hard to keep up with it. We are proud to say that free expression of opinion is still alive and well in Moapa Valley. And we hope that it will always be so.
To begin with, plenty of important local, regional, state and national issues have come across the news desk at the PROGRESS this year; more than enough to keep our editorial staff busy throughout 2017. Our Editorial columns and our “From The Editor’s Desk” feature have successfully framed many of these important issues this year.
These columns have treated with a wide range of topics. We have expressed our views on matters like the Gold Butte National Monument, education reform and proposed fee increases for the National Parks. We have weighed in on the benefits of independence for the Moapa Valley Fire District, the need for growth and development in the community and the sorrowful local reaction to the October 1 Las Vegas shooting tragedy. We have celebrated the opening of two different facilities in the Warm Springs area, both of which had been long closed to the public. And we have even celebrated our own 30th anniversary as a proudly independent community weekly newspaper.
These editorial opinion pieces were not written to manipulate public opinion or to tell people how they should think. In a community as intelligent, varied and thoughtful as Moapa Valley, that would be a foolhardy and unnecessary effort. Rather they have been published with the hope of sparking a constructive local conversation on these important issues. And we seem to have been successful there!
The PROGRESS published no less than two dozen letters to the editor this year. The majority of those letters were written by local residents; with a few coming from further afield. We appreciate and value the time and effort taken by all of those who wrote in to share their views. The writers of letters who have appeared in print during 2017 included: Kelly Olsen, Keith Grimes, Judy Metz, Dorothy Taylor, Esther Ramos, Brian Burris, David Pahlka, Nancy Grimes, Jim Cencer, Max Shambaugh, Bruce Hollinger, Darren Daboda, Jaina Moan, Monty Scott, Lindsey Dalley, Brenda Slocumb, Elise McAllister, Sheldon Worley, Trinity Tanner, Julie Cornwall, John Soltesz, Ben Learned and Diane Dioguardi.
Interestingly, the number of letters submitted to the editor for publication has been steadily decreasing over the past few years. This appears to be due to the fact that more people are using online media to react to, and comment upon, local issues. We have seen this trend as the number of comments on our website have increased exponentially over the same time period. Many people prefer the ability to instantly post comments and get responses, conversation style. This is what the online media provides.
We remain firm believers in the permanence and thoughtful finish that is required in readers taking the time for careful deliberation and then submitting their views for print publication. Still, we at the PROGRESS also welcome this online trend and enjoy seeing the impromptu and instant community conversation that continues on in the electronic medium as well. Both forms of expression are equally important and valid.
Hundreds of comments have been posted to our website at www.mvprogress.com; as well as to our Facebook page; over the past year. Most of these have not been published in the hardcopy of the newspaper but they definitely add to the community forum experience. Those few who have provided names along with their comments have included: Mary Guerrica, Sheila Tanner, Trinity Tanner, Denise Valenti, Joel Murphy, Gregory Schwob, Eileen Grant, Marie Temperley, Stacey Belthius, Al and Brenda Smith, Nancy Younghans, John Jarrel, Paaul Martin, Ace Robison, Johnny Armstrong, Clint Barker, Chris Green, Buckey Walters, Star Mistriel, Tom Riley, David Farrar, Debbie Copley Carr, Jeff Jorgensen, Cayden Adams, Karin and Richard Memmott, Elaine Wells, James Carson, Rina Vaden, Teresa Marren Yamashita, Bailey Szelestey, Celeste Green, Kaylene Canfield, Gisela Williams, India Logue, Clyde Perkins, Denise Stoesser, Kenny Eliason, Erika Cameron, Janny Jones, Lloyd Whitmore, Paula Rowles, Ryan Beam, Anita Szelestey, Mohan Kundanani, Michael Smith, Patricia Baley, Abigail Lang, Angela Tucker, Claron Haglund, Cherie Johnson, Shirley Hamilton, Kevin Hunt, Steve Nelson, Linda King, Fred & Patty Neilson, Vanessa Temple, Teri Nielsen, Alexander Munoz, Roger Porter, Gregg Rigby, David Andersen, Joe Green, Richard Parker, Bob Cronshey, Carrie Beckstrand, Paul Harmer, Art Chesmore, Charlotte Johnston, Kerri Clark, Tanya Laman, Becca Holten, Della Frank, Val Smith, Mary Griffiths, Joel Karsten, Barbara Taylor, Linda Brommer, Dan & Margo Slater, Virginia Hillard, Patricia Rowley, Misty Meadowd, Shirlene & Joseph, Willie Frehner, Bobbie Ann Howell, Cathy McLughlin, Barbara Reid, Jaylene & Jose Monjaras, Marcia OConnor, Sylvia Klimek, Roger Miller, Hillary Hickey, Sara Doty, Kirsten Pearson, Mikki Chan, Cynthia Patton, Bob Brister, Robert Riversong, Stephany Alexander, Afton Wilde, Angie Mitchell, Michael Stickler, Tania Keys, B.Y. Harper.
We have also been pleased to publish extended views in longer op-ed columns that are more detailed than a simple letter to the editor can be. Some of these have come from our readers. Others have come from experts in various fields. These have added depth to the PROGRESS Opinion page. We recognize the following for their contribution in these articles: Assemblyman Chris Edwards, Lindsey Dalley, Tracy Truman, MV Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Patty Holden, Brian Burris, Senator Dean Heller, Elise McAllister and Deborah Earl.
For the eleventh year running now, the PROGRESS once again expresses tremendous appreciation to Dr. Larry Moses for his insightful and entertaining column “No One Asked Me But…” It is easy to overlook the tremendous civic generosity that Doc Moses has extended in his long-running column. It continues to be the most consistently read piece in the PROGRESS. Agree, disagree or on the fence, Doc’s writing always makes the reader think about the issue at hand and look at it from a little different angle. That is what a good newspaper column ought to do.
Once again we are grateful to Doc Moses for this important labor of love in elevating the community discourse. The PROGRESS just wouldn’t be the same without him!
Finally, we would take this opportunity to wish our readers a Happy New Year! As a community we will all be facing 2018 together. It will include all of the commonplace events and sudden surprises; the happiness and heartbreaks; the victories and defeats; the joys and perils that might come our way.
Our staff looks forward to bringing all of these things to our pages during 2018. And we look forward to hearing from any and all of our loyal readership, with your unique and valued perspectives on the news of the day.
Please don’t keep your opinions to yourselves! They are always welcome in the newspaper.
And, once again, thank you, Moapa Valley, for reading the PROGRESS!