As I stated in my last column, we have big shoes to fill when it comes to Randy and Pat Sunderland and their efforts over the years. Our team is ready for the challenge.

Delta is my hometown. My family moved here in 1978 after dad retired with 21 years of military service. Not to long after arriving they purchased a home on Howard Street where both lived until their passing. My grandparents, uncles and aunts made the trek here from Washington state in 1962. I have wonderful boyhood memories of visiting their homestead in the Gunnison Valley, and we lived here the year my dad was deployed to Vietnam.

My wife Melissa and I are happy to be home. I've had highlights in my working career, but given the responsibility to manage the Montrose Daily Press where I started in the business, and the Delta County Independent, my hometown newspaper, by far tops the list. I've come full circle with the DCI. I was a carrier when I was 14.

For our staff at the DCI, Delta County is home. I believe I can speak for all of us when I say we are proud of the communities in which we live. Each community has its own identity, and publishing a community newspaper for each community and the county as a whole is no small task.

I'm particularly excited that Tamie Meck has accepted the responsibility of managing editor for the DCI. Tamie has the one quality that can't be taught in any position no matter the business, and that is passion. Tamie has done an amazing job covering the North Fork area and will continue to do so.

What changes are coming to the DCI?

The first change we are working on is a new website with an accompanying app. News at your fingertips on a daily basis. Though we print a weekly edition -- and that will not change -- we will be more engaged through our digital platforms. Website, app, e-newsletters, and social media will be a strength for us.

As we move into these platforms we will become a digital daily, multi-platform news agency for Delta County. Breaking news, in-depth stories, timely coverage of area municipality news, as well as local sports.

We'll take a deeper dive into decisions made by our local, state and national representatives. Our state is in a progressive mindset, particularly at the State Capital. That doesn't always align with our way of thinking. We are a very rural area and we've kept a very rural identity no matter which side of the debate you fall. Our communities' voice in the debate has never been more important.

Community newspapers have a fundamental obligation not only to inform our readers but to ask questions concerning decisions that are made. It's our jobs to ensure that every citizen has a voice.

We love our community, as do those who represent us. We'll brag about the good things that are happening, but we will be nobody's PR firm. We will not be into gotcha journalism either. Good honest unbiased reporting in our stories, and our opinions will be found on the opinion page. We won't hide behind the DCI flag. If one of us writes an opinion piece, we will attach our name to it. We will not be shy.

The fundamental identity that the Sunderland's built for the DCI will remain intact. Community information ranging from honor roll students, to announcing community events, to features on unique people in our community. These are all staples of our coverage.

You'll just see more of us on your phone, tablet or whatever device you use to consume your local news. And we relish your feedback. Feel free to contact me anytime.

And as always thank you for supporting the DCI and community journalism.

Dennis Anderson is group publisher for Wick Communications, Alaska and Colorado. He can be reached via email at dennisa@montrosepress.com.

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