Someone visiting from Phoenix asked me the other day how we could find enough news to fill a paper in this rural area, where it looks, to casual observers, that not much is going on. I just laughed. 

For this edition, our writers continued to find a host of interesting issues facing us here in Eastern Santa Cruz County, including the work pause on the border wall, the ongoing investigation at the SEFD Fire Station, the effects of South32 on groundwater levels in Patagonia, COVID and local vaccine availability, and so much more.

But I would ask our readers to also pay close attention to three special sections in this issue. First, look at the PRT 2020 donor list. If your name is there, thank you for enabling us to continue to provide important local news that is not available anywhere else, to our community. 

If your name is not on this list, please consider donating in 2021. Any amount helps this almost completely volunteer effort to continue to flourish and grow. 

Speaking of growth, our newly launched weekly e-newsletter, continuing the great work of Clare Bonelli to keep us all informed of late breaking news and community events, has been a huge success. Kudos to Assistant Editor Nisa Talavera for developing this new format and producing such a great newsletter. We now have 1607 subscribers, and the number of readers grows daily.

The second section I would urge you to read is on p. 21, where we have included the winning school essays from the 2nd annual PRT School Essay Contest, co-sponsored by Borderlands Restoration Network and the Patagonia Creative Arts Center. We are so proud of our kids and we hope you like these essays as much as we did.

The third section of the paper that you should read, beginning on p. 8, is the obituaries. We were stunned to get eight obituaries. Normally, we get one or two, and in some months we get none, so the number of people – friends, acquaintances, siblings, fathers, mothers, grandparents – was staggering. 

Not all these deaths can be attributed to COVID, obviously, but reading these loving, beautifully written obituaries about vital, interesting individuals made me pause to consider the 425,000 people in our country whom we have lost to this pandemic, and whose obituaries we have not read. 

It’s not just an unimaginable number, it’s friends, acquaintances, siblings, fathers, mothers, and grandparents, and each of us should pause for a moment to honor their lives, as well.