A high school friend of mine recently posted on Facebook asking where we got our news from — CNN, local affiliate, New York Times. I sort of chuckled upon reading it because the truth is I get my news in a much different way than what my friend had in mind. I don’t know why, but somehow living in a mountain town makes me much less interested in dramatic national events, and way more interested in what is going on in the small town where I live. That saying, “All News is Local” really does seem to ring true when it comes to life in a rural mountain area.
I first noticed this when I moved to the Sierra Nevada, where I lived in a cabin with no TV and no Internet. I did receive a Time magazine which sort of kept me up to date, but lost track of current events and breaking national news. I distinctly remember working one day and somebody talking about the death of Princess Diana and how terrible it was. I was shocked and asked when she had died, and they told me five days ago. I’m not sure if being this out of touch is good or bad — because not knowing seems to create a lot less drama in my life.
In a time when big city newspapers are struggling to survive in what is an Internet-driven news cycle, small town newspapers seem to thrive. Author, Judy Muller, writes about this phenomena in her book, “Emus Loose in Egnar: Big Stories from Small Towns.” I know I am an avid reader of our local weekly paper, the Mountain-Ear. The Mountain-Ear covers the local breaking events, like our Frozen Dead Guy Days, and has a special issue covering the issue of our graduating senior class of Nederland High School, posting all 50 pictures of the graduates. It also has a special section dedicated to pets, with a lovely column by our local pet business owner with helpful tips on caring for your dogs and cats. When I read the Mountain-Ear, I find out what’s going on in our local mountain community and I don’t feel down or discouraged about the state of the world afterwards.
But recently I was reminded of one more important source of news for us — the Nederland Transfer Station, otherwise known as The Dump. We don’t get curbside trash pickup (it would attract bears anyway), so each week, we haul the week’s trash and recycling down the road to the transfer station, paying $4 to drop off our garbage for the week. Fred works five days a week, and we often exchange news bites from the community, or even a bit of gossip about what’s going on in the neighborhood. Fred has lived and worked in Nederland for more than 25 y ears, and because of where he works, pretty much knows everyone, so is a great source for local news. I sort of look forward to dropping off the garbage and often choose a week day, so I can chat with Fred in a more leisurely way and catch up on all things Nederland. I suppose I could turn on CNN, or read the New York Times online, but it wouldn’t be near as entertaining as hearing about Yaks on the Loose near Barker Reservoir!