Autumn Phillips " Our staff shrunk, but Grand County did not |

Autumn Phillips " Our staff shrunk, but Grand County did not

Autumn Phillips / From the Editor
Grand County, Colorado

When I was 25, I was living in Alaska. I owned two changes of clothes ” one of them was a pair of Carhaarts. I was a vegetarian, on a “path to enlightenment” and, it still embarrasses me to this day, knew so much about so many things that I wasn’t afraid to lecture people three times my age about the meaning of life.

If I had wandered out into the wilderness and died in an abandoned school bus, people could have idealized me, written books and made movies about me.

Instead, here I am, 10 years later, telling my story to the 25-year-old reporter I just had to lay off because of the difficult economy.

We were all gathered around her last week, telling our stories of where we were when we were her age. The message was ” don’t worry that you just lost your job. You’re young. You should be out exploring the world and doing things that will come back to haunt you later in life.

As we brainstormed with her about the adventures she could undertake, I watched her face and started to think about the human cost of this recession.

Katie Looby wasn’t the first reporter to go. In December, Will Bublitz, who lived in Grand County for 25 years and worked for this newspaper for 16 years, lost his job in the first round of cuts.

If you’ve been in the office of the Sky-Hi Daily News lately, you’ve seen all the empty desks. And if you’ve been in the office during any one of our numerous brainstorming sessions about how to keep putting out the best possible newspaper with our dwindling staff ” you know what I’m going to say next.

I need your help.

Our staff shrunk, but Grand County did not.

There are still sports teams playing every week, governments meeting and acting daily, and countless interesting personal stories to tell.

As soon as I can arrange it, I plan to host a Monday night meeting with coaches and sports parents to discuss different ways we can keep our athletes in the paper – especially during their senior year.

Larry Banman is still going to cover West Grand sports.

East Grand sports is the only beat without an assigned reporter at this point and will definitely be our biggest challenge in the coming year. Photographer Byron Hetzler has been great about getting to games, but there is only so much one person can accomplish.

As for the other beats, we spread ourselves out across Grand County, hoping to cover it all as best we can. But remember Red Rover from elementary school? As the team thins out on one side, a paper doll chain of people stretches as far as it can with arms and hands that are easy to break apart.

The best way to help is to make a phone call or send an e-mail if you have a story idea. If you can send in a photo of an event, if you can send in a score or short description of a game ” even better.

At the end of this year ” or however long this recession lasts ” we still plan to be here and ready to grow our staff and our publication dates again as Grand County bounces back. Until then, I’m willing to put in the hours that it takes to make this the best paper possible ” with help from you, our readers.

Here’s our plan for coverage with contact information.

On the days when we don’t have to put out a print edition of the paper, I will cover Winter Park, Fraser, Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District and Winter Park Resort. Call me anytime at 887-3334 ext. 19600 or e-mail

On the days when we don’t have to put out a print edition, news editor Drew Munro will cover crime and courts and Kremmling. Call him at 887-3334 ext. 19610 or e-mail

Photographer Byron Hetzler works Tuesday through Saturday and does his best to be at events and catch breaking news whenever possible. He can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19604.

Reporter Tonya Bina will continue to cover Grand Lake, Granby and county commissioners. Call her at 887-3334 ext. 19603.

Until the economy improves, we will no long publish the All Access section as it has been for the past year and a half. The Friday paper will continue to focus on arts and entertainment. However, changing the format of that paper will free arts writer Cyndi McCoy to also write more stories for the regular paper. She will be covering education, primarily, in addition to her work as the calendar editor and entertainment reporter. Call her at 887-3334 ext. 19605.

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