I have been the publisher of The Daily Star for more than a year. I have been out in the communities, meeting with many readers, advertisers and civic organizations, getting to know our area that we call home.
For those I have not met yet, here is a little about me: I am from Georgia and was raised a Southerner. My daddy was from Michigan and was transferred to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, Ga. He met and married a Georgia peach (my mother) and stayed in Georgia the rest of his life. My father was dubbed “Yank” and worked at a paper mill in south Georgia. The joke in our family was that he made the paper and I sold and managed it.
As a kid, I mowed yards and had a newspaper route for my hometown newspaper to make money. I had no idea that one day I would be a newspaper publisher. I also worked on farms growing tobacco, watermelons, peanuts and cotton (very hard work) and swore that when I got out of school that farming would not be in my future.
Fast-forward from what seemed a lifetime ago. Now I have a pecan farm in South Georgia and love to ride my tractor and tend to the trees when I go back home to see my family. (My daddy told me: “Never say never, son.”)
I grew up in a household of Southern etiquette and respect. Part of growing up Southern is that any response to a question (especially from an adult) would be followed by “sir” or “ma’am,” a practice I still do today and have taught my daughter, as well. (Respect never goes out of style.) I was talking with a customer on the phone the other day, and she stated, “I can tell by your accent that you are a Southern gentleman.” While growing up in the South, you do not think about it, but as you get older, you realize what an honor and privilege it is to have that statement said about you.
The “Northern Hospitality” I have received this past year has pleasantly surprised me. Everyone I have met has been genuinely inviting and gracious. I would swear that I have moved down South because I have felt “Southern Hospitality” this past year in our upstate New York.
Being new to the area, I think I have a fresh perspective on our communities. I have been blessed over the last 30 years, working and traveling all over our great country from sea to shining sea. What a beautiful area we live in, with our rolling hills and mountains. We are so fortunate to have national tourist destinations such as the Baseball Hall of Fame and the baseball camps that bring visitors every year.
We are blessed with a multitude of houses of worship and to be a robust area for the arts. Our chambers of commerce and multiple other civic organizations throughout our coverage area are actively engaged with their members and the communities.
The history of our area is amazing, and I keep learning things daily, such as that Unadilla is where Boy Scout Troop No. 1 was founded in 1910 and still is active today.
We are centrally located and can take advantage of such metro areas as Boston, New York City and Philadelphia in only a few hours by car or train, but yet we have the high quality of rural life. We are very fortunate to have such fine colleges as Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta, Delhi and Cobleskill in our area. I recently met with the presidents of Hartwick and SUNY Oneonta and was enlightened and impressed by both organizations.
We have an engaged citizenry in our area; this is evident with our many letter-to-the-editor submissions and online comments at thedailystar.com. It was also clear from the many community/event meetings I have attended over the last year.
I could go on with many other great things about our area, but it would take more space than this column to do them justice. We do, however, have some things that we could improve upon for our quality of life and our future. These things and more will be topics for my columns in the future.
I love living in upstate New York ... even in the winter (really).
Mitchell Lynch is the publisher of The Daily Star and Cooperstown Crier. His column will appear monthly on Mondays. He can be reached at (607) 432-1000, ext. 214, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.