Back on December 20 U.S. 1 editor Richard K. Rein wrote a column on community journalism, reminding readers and community journalists themselves that what they do is important. We all needed to hear it, Rein thought, at a time when the media were being derided as “fake news” and when economic forces were making community journalism harder to sustain.
Our problems will never be equivalent to those suffered by the staff of the Capital Gazette, the community newspaper in Annapolis, where five staff members were slain last week by a man with a long grudge against the newspaper and its reporting. This was not a case of ideologues gone berserk or terrorists with a grudge to settle, as in the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. In this case the newspaper had given a voice to the voiceless, the victim of a bully’s brutal harassment.
We are heartened by the fact that the survivors of this mass shooting are carrying on with publication of their paper. What they are doing is important.
Our June 27 Health and Fitness issue featured a cover story on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, the nearly completed 22-mile public hiking and biking trail that connects parks, community centers, and corporate campuses in the two townships. Thanks to the trail, as cover subject Bruce Ellsworth attested, it is possible to bicycle to work on most days, even in winter, with a minimal interaction with high-traffic roadways.
The story, by Mike Toth, himself a resident of the area and frequent user of the trail, generated lots of comments. To our surprise arts writer and frequent U.S. 1 contributor Ilene Dube weighed in. “I ride my bike on it frequently, and learned so much more about it — thanks to this piece.” Who knew?
Dan Rappoport, a Princeton resident who has communicated often with U.S. 1 about bicycling matters, reported that he “enjoyed the story and couldn’t put it down. I would like to add that the quality of the trail varies from place-to-place. One part, between Keefe and Federal City roads, is uncomfortable to bike on.” Rappoport also offered some elaboration to our incidental reference to the East Coast Greenway trail system. The Circuit Trails section, Rappoport said, is 750 miles long. And about 40 percent of it is complete (referring to off-road pathways).
Becky Taylor, founder and co-president of the trail, was grateful for the coverage. Eleanor Horne, the other co-president, noted that Toth’s piece “captured the spirit of the trail and the joy the board of trustees has in developing an extraordinary community amenity. As they say, the trail was built by the community for the community. That concept comes through.”
Horne also asked readers to join the “Full Moon Bike Ride” on Sunday, August 26. For event details check www.LHTrail.org. A detailed map of the trail (as opposed to the rough diagram in our June 27 issue) is also available on the website.