Welcome to Philomath sign
Welcome to Philomath (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

So, here we are. The holiday season is upon us, the coronavirus continues to impact our lives and we’ve elected a new president. In Philomath, we’ve made our decisions on the next mayor and City Council and children are still taking classes through distance learning.

The last time I reported on Philomath was back in mid-September. When the hammer came down on my previous job, I was in the office in the middle of writing a City Council story from meeting coverage the previous night (the story was to lead off with the appointment of former mayor and councilor Van Hunsaker to the Planning Commission).

A lot has happened since then. Besides the election, the city has been conducting business as usual and plenty of stories could’ve been written from the Comp Plan update process to the series of Inclusivity Ad-Hoc Committee’s guest speaker series. And there was a lot of other news coming out of meetings.

Various events occurred but needed to be reimagined because of the pandemic. For example, the chamber’s Halloween event evolved into a “Reverse Trunk or Treat” at the rodeo grounds, a fun evening that included a drive-in screening of “Hocus Pocus.” Lilly’s Lope for Hope went virtual with its 5K run to raise money for suicide awareness programs. Those are just a couple of examples.

Within the local school district, the high school appeared to have somewhat of a controversy on its hands in October with an announcement of a plan to remove old class photos from the hallways outside the gymnasium and introduce a digital alternative while creating room for needed trophy cases. But the idea didn’t go over so well with many folks in the community and the school reconsidered.

Philomath High’s sports programs have maneuvered their way through the OSAA’s “Season 1” practice sessions. Every program except boys soccer and tennis has seen action during one of the three sessions. The third session was interrupted in its second week with the implementation of tighter COVID-19 restrictions.

A point that I’m trying to make here is Philomath has fallen under the unfortunate label of “news desert” — a term that has become more popular in recent years. As the name indicates, it refers to a community that is no longer seeing any news coverage. I know the Albany-based daily newspaper writes occasional stories but those efforts represent a small percentage of what’s really going on in our community.

My intent is for the Philomath News to eradicate the “news desert.” I’m a one-person news organization and won’t be able to write about every single thing that happens, nor will I be able to dive into complex investigative journalism (and we have a few of those types of stories that could be tackled). But I’m here and I’ll do as much as I can — that’s a promise.

So, here we are.

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).