Our first issue featured the Rogue's Harbor Inn, with four articles and many pictures that chronicled the inn's history and present. The top story on the front page was about the Lansing Town Board debating whether the Town would grant benefits for same-sex spouses of town employees. There was an interview with the Lansing Schools Athletic Director, and a school board report. The most controversial story that week was about the approval of a 190 foot tall cell tower that Cingular wanted to build on the corner of Conlon and Searles Roads.
Our first crossword puzzle had a Lansing theme, and was written by Adam Pearl, who also creates crosswords for the New York Times. After that the puzzles were provided by Sam Bellotto, Jr., who also had puzzles in the times, as well as many other newspapers and puzzle books.
Jim Evan's first 'Smart Talk' began nine years and counting of cleaning up our language with 'Geneology'. Can you see what is wrong with that without looking it up? I'll give you a hint: the downtown movie theater is Cinemapolis, not Cinamopolis.
Over the years we have gone through a number of layouts for the newspaper. The most complicated was in 2010, when we used a technology that used different headers for each major page, and had special graphic headers on holidays.
We have also had an adventure bringing you the weather. Originally the weather was a part of the Lansing Star site, but after some time we split it off and called the new site ithacaWeather.net. Last week we made some major changes to the technology that we use to bring in the current weather and weekly forecasts. It was actually the third technology we have employed.
After several years the first technology package stopped fetching the current weather, though it was still good for weekly forecasts. A new package was employed, just for the current weather. Several weeks ago I noticed that package was getting most of the current weather right, but that every day the weather was 'Fair'. I was of two minds: part of me liked that it was 'Fair' on our site every day. It was optimistic and uplifting. On the other hand, it wasn't accurate. It took an entire week to get it working right, but the third technology is now employed, both for the main weather page and for the weather badges like the one on the top of our front page.
Three weeks ago we saw an exciting phenomenon: Our story 'Giant Hogweed Spotted in Lansing' garnered more than 10,000 hits in its week of publication, placing it among the top 100 stories of all-time (which counts all the hits, even after the issue an article first appeared in is past -- yes, we get a ton of Google hits on the Star). So that story got more hits in one week than most of our stories get over the course of years. That is the first time ever in the Star that an article has made the top 100 in only seven days!
Also that week was the first time ever that my editorial made the #2 story (the second most hits in one issue) in any issue since we started the newspaper, thanks to a tweet that quoted, "Seriously, Microsoft? You don't want me to see which cat is pooping on my floor???!!!" and was re-tweeted several times on Twitter.
Speaking of poop, on January 21 I ran a story with the headline, 'Town Considers Poopline Permit' which was about Willet Dairy's request to run a pipeline along one town road and across another to transport manure used for fertilizer from one of their properties to another. One evening I was checking our monthly statistics and started laughing. It turnes out that 'Poopline' was the number two story for January that year!
If I had to choose I would say interviewing political candidates is my favorite part of producing the Star. I like to ask all the candidates for the same office the same questions and i love seeing how their answers differ. Those are published as straight transcriptions so you can see how they differ as well, and I have been fairly good at keeping them on the issues and away from excessive mudslinging in those interviews. By the way, the higher the office, the more mudslinging. My least favorite part is writing editorials.
All these years we (we is me and Karen, my wife, staff photographer and business partner) have had one goal in mind: to be an on-line main street for Lansing, New York. When we thought we might start a newspaper over nine years ago we remembered how connected we felt when the Lansing Community News was in publication. We wanted to restore that connection with our wonderful community, and are gratified when people tell us the Lansing Star makes them feel connected.
So tip a glass to the Lansing Star. We're excited to celebrate our ninth anniversary. We're looking forward to our tenth next summer!