by Chris Rogers, editor, Winona Post
It feels good to be back, here in print, at 22,000 households across Winona, Trempealeau, and Buffalo counties. We made the difficult decision to cancel last week’s print edition of the Winona Post after two of our production staff tested positive for COVID. I’m grateful they’re doing alright and recovering at home per health department guidelines, that the rest of our staff is healthy, and, despite being a bit shorthanded, our dedicated crew worked overtime to get this edition safely to you. We want to thank all of you for your well wishes and for bearing with us.
While we knew that cancelation was the right thing to do, it was still a tough pill to swallow. Newspapers pride themselves on finding ways to get a paper out no matter what, and at the Post, we’ve dealt with all manner of challenges in our first 50 years. I’ll never forget hearing stories of how, when the former Betty Jo’s building caught fire in 2001 — just a few doors down from our downtown Winona office — our staff grabbed their desktop computers and ran for safety. Thankfully the fire didn’t reach the Post or stop the presses. But a pandemic poses some truly unique challenges, and as my sister reminded me, we’re in good company with organizations that have had to cancel things they never could have imagined calling off before.
That quick action was the right decision. It kept our staff safe and enabled us to bounce back quickly. It’s also a humbling reminder that even as vaccines have arrived and the end of the pandemic is —maybe? hopefully? — approaching, it’s not here yet, and this virus is still capable of upsetting our best laid plans.
While our printing press was quiet last week, the rest of our operation was humming, and we published all of our normal news, opinion, and announcements to www.winonapost.com and our Facebook page, @WinonaPost. In case you missed it, we managed to squeeze many of last week’s stories into this extra thick edition of the Post with 14 original, local news stories. We have in-depth hard news on Fastenal’s purchase of the former YMCA (page 3b), local schools and colleges’ different approaches to spring break in the COVID era (7c), the latest on Winona Area Public Schools’ consideration of staff dedicated to supporting students of color (6c), Winona’s new plan for the city’s future (6b), and Winona County joining an effort to make sealing old criminal records easier (5c). There are features on veterans’ organizations meeting the pandemic’s challenges (8b), how Minnesota State College Southeast’s food shelf is getting extra use during the pandemic (2b), local schools’ American Indian Parent Advisory Committee — “… a child doesn’t have to grow up thinking something’s wrong with them because they’re a different color or from a different culture,” Co-Chair Patrick Boozhoo said — (3b), and the launch of a new Sicilian cafe in Winona (4c). There is even more that didn’t fit, so be sure to check out winonapost.com and our Facebook page for everything you may have missed.
Stay healthy and see you next week.