WEST CARLETON – Happy Easter to West Carleton residents going through the weirdest Easter on record.
We, and all of Canada, are finishing roughly week three of quarantine and self-isolation as Canadians endeavour to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Most of us have finished Netflix and board games have made an incredible resurgence. As well as quiet self-reflection.
In March, West Carleton Online had 15,281 pageviews. As the COVID-19 emergency grew at the end of the month, so did West Carleton Online visitors. As part of our Community Service policy, we made access to our COVID-19 coverage free to all (not just subscribers). As we did with the tornado in 2018 and the extreme flooding in 2019, we just felt charging for access to important emergency information was not the right thing to do.
As a subscriber-owned business, that has obviously hurt our revenue stream – like all small businesses these days, times are tough. Journalism in West Carleton is challenged, as it has been for what seems like a decade. We know the Community Voice has laid off two reporters including its West Carleton reporter.
We will continue to report the news, much as we always have – every day. Our subscribers and our amazing advertisers have been very loyal and extremely supportive over the nearly two years of our existence – they have been true champions of West Carleton community journalism.
But this story isn’t about that. It’s our semi-regular Top 5 stories of the month list. Those are below. No surprise, if it was a Top 10 list, stories four through 10 would all be COVID-19 stories. And many of those stories came near the end of the month, meaning they had lots of views in April as well.
In the spirit of trying to shine a bit of light on this gloomy weekend, our Editor’s Picks are going to focus on some of our lighter, more fun stories published in the month of March:
Top 5 stories of March
Mike and Peter pay $5,000 for big fish (474 views): Right in the heart of West Carleton’s ice fishing season. It was a day on the river, the sun was out, and the fish were biting. The winning fish was 7.4 lbs.
Gibson movie films in Carp (449 views): Hollywood comes to Carp. Oscar-winner Mel Gibson’s Santa movie stopped at the bunker for a day of filming and we were on set. As very quiet observers.
Police seek suspect in West Carleton border beating (424 views): A story about a disagreement that started at a local bar and ended with a violent beatdown near County Road 29.
Enrights reach day nine of self-isolation (344 views): We spoke to Barb and Leo, a couple of people I have known almost my whole life, spending more than a few days in their Kinburn home with their sons. The snowbirds came home early this year as the pandemic was growing on both sides of the border and they told us of their journey, by car, from Florida to Arnprior.
COVID-19 March 15 update: OPH Dr. says it could be ‘hundreds,’ Arnprior hospital adjusts, more closures in WC, local help (296): Our COVID-19 coverage starts to pick up.
Editor’s picks (in no particular order)
Cold Carp carnival warms the heart: The return of the Carp Winter Carnival was a huge success. There was something for everyone and the entire village was involved in its organization.
The story of the Dunrobin Bridge sign: The wonderfully told history of the Dunrobin Bridge written for West Carleton Online by George Kennedy. Good news, he is going to write a few more yarns for us – next up, a story on the history of Younghusband’s Store.
WC librarian Fielding retires March 20: Lori Fielding became West Carleton’s librarian around the same time I started at the West Carleton Review. She retired 17 years and several, several community newspapers for me, later. Her official retirement party was cancelled due to COVID-19, but we got to speak to her before the party.