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Mary K. Shell 

Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

This is wonderful time of year. So full of blessings. But I've been brooding about the recent demise of small town newspapers in our county. The disappearance of newspapers like the Lamont Reporter, The Arvin Tiller and Wasco News is downright depressing.

During the 1990s, when I represented the citizens of Lamont and Arvin on the Board of Supervisors, I depended on these publications to keep me informed about people in the communities.

A newspaper embodies the fabric of a town. It serves as a rallying point for action. I don't know if newspapers get a lot of attention in grammar schools these days — I hope they do. When I attended Longfellow School in the 1930s during the Depression one teacher clipped newspaper columns and handed them out so we could practice reading by circling the words we recognized. I am grateful for this teacher pointing me to newspapers in the quest to learn. She possibly didn't realize it, but her reading lessons triggered in me an interest in current events and the world around me: an interest that has never flagged.

There's nothing quite like the printed word.

Mary K. Shell, Bakersfield