I think we all want to shake it off as a collective nightmare start to 2020 called COVID-19 isolation. But I can’t. Not yet. As our new normal everyday life hatches, I feel compelled to remember who we were as a community. With just six cases in total for Yass Valley, our country town COVID bubble stayed relatively safe, but we all emerged changed. As the space between us widened, I think we all saw each other differently.

Through my eyes, I noticed your extra kindness during COVID-19 restrictions. I noticed the enthusiastic waves you gave to strangers from the porch, the chalked messages of hope on the footpaths and the teddy bears you placed in the windows to cheer the children. I saw your apprehensive stares at people wearing masks, and I witnessed a teenager’s pain at your anxiety-fuelled shout when they came too close to you at the shops. I saw in the mirror the exhaustion and despair as, just like you, I struggled to work, school children at home and keep the family fed. I saw honour in your Anzac Day dawn driveway vigil. I looked upon with deep appreciation, your dedication at the front-line of essential services in local health, education, transport and retail.

This is how I saw you in our community during COVID-19. Good news from now on When we needed it most, the local newspaper disappeared and along with it, a primary, credible source of information, relevant to our community during COVID. Our stories; our births and deaths, our struggles and achievements, always need a place to be shared. A newspaper is not just a source of information for the time, but also the future. Without a local newspaper, historical records for early 2020 will not contain the detail of our time during the COVID-pandemic.

An idea to start a locally owned and run newspaper grew and took root in the hearts and minds of a few residents with a bit of previous know-how. On behalf of the whole Yass Valley Times team, I welcome you to your new local, independent newspaper. We, as a community, are all making history. It will be your letters to the editor, your stories of community events, sport, school and business achievements that will fill our pages.

Our dedicated team of six, join more than a dozen regular local contributors, ready to share their views and knowledge on politics, health and wellbeing, technology, wine and more. With each weekly copy we will introduce them to you. Let’s be bold for history’s sake, and share our stories, poems and letters. It could be your COVID diary entry, your thoughts on the by-election or why you love living in Yass Valley. Send to editor@yassvalleytimes.com.au or hand in to the friendly staff at Yass Newsagency.