It marked the inaugural issue of the St. Clair Times. The great thing about it was that it was free. Some wondered, “How long will that last?” or “How can you give out a free newspaper?”
Fast forward 10 years and 525 issues later. As we celebrate one decade of service to this county, the St. Clair Times is still free to residents of St. Clair County.
That’s our commitment — to provide the very best news, entertainment, sports, school activities possible — you know, the things that matter to you.
Some may call them little things, but out here, they are the big things.
For instance, in the past decade, several high school athletic teams have captured state championships. Like the 2003 Ashville baseball team, the 2004 Ragland softball squad, the 2008 Leeds football and basketball teams, as well as the 2007 Leeds softball team.
One outstanding individual award went to the late Ian Harper, who was a state wrestling champion in 2004 as a senior for the St. Clair County Saints. While in the eighth-grade in 2000, Harper was part of the Saints wrestling squad that won a team state wrestling title.
And who can forget what the Ashville archery team has accomplished the past three years and continue to accomplish today. The middle school archery team has won three consecutive state titles, and last year won a national title. Recently, the elementary and high school teams from Ashville won their inaugural state archery crowns. In just over one week, Ashville will be sending two archery teams to Kentucky to compete for yet another national championship.
Not only have there been winners in sporting events, there have been many winners in the classroom — teachers and students.
Government officials throughout one of the fastest growing counties in the state have made great decisions that make St. Clair County an excellent place to live, work and send your children to school.
This newspaper was the brainchild of former publisher Carol Pappas. Under her direction and leadership, the St. Clair Times flourished. She had a vision, and I am extremely honored and proud she wanted me to be part of the team and St. Clair Times family. I am also proud to have been around for all 525 issues.
What makes this newspaper what it is today is our readers and advertisers. Without you, we are nothing.
Ten years. A decade. Some may think it is a long time, but it seems like only yesterday that the first issue was in my hand.
It makes me proud to know this newspaper continues to come into your homes free of charge. I trust the next 525 issues remain free to all our readers throughout this great county.
And I plan on being part of the next decade — and hopefully beyond.
Gary Hanner is the associate editor of the St. Clair Times.