News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Don’t look back

As The Nugget staff compiled this year-in-review edition, it was brought home with force — as though we needed reminding — that Anno 2020 is not the kind of year anyone wants to remember.

Yet, remember it we will.

It is not only the global coronavirus pandemic that has rocked Sisters. The community was hit hard by the tragic loss of young lives. We suffered through weeks of hideous, choking wildfire smoke — recognizing that our own discomfort was nothing compared to the suffering and loss experienced by our neighbors to the west. We know that huge swaths of the state we love are profoundly damaged and will never be the same in our lifetime.

This has been a year of loss.

Loss has impacted the staff here at The Nugget too. Personally and professionally, the people who put together this newspaper each week have seen our share of the adversities that this year has doled out in ample helpings. We have been forced to part with valued colleagues, who are sorely missed. Staff members have lost loved ones, and we have shared the pain of friends in our community who are facing hard times.

The Nugget staff is taking a few days off here at the end of the year to spend the holiday with family and take a breath before plunging back into the fray in 2021. As editor in chief of The Nugget, it seems an opportune time to offer a tip of the hat to a crew that continually punches above their weight.

We are blessed with a highly dedicated cadre of freelance writers and photographers who share our desire to weave the tapestry of the life of the Sisters community in good times and bad, in celebration and mourning. Their wide-ranging interests, exceptional talent, and their sense of connection to place and community are what make the paper something that people will sit down and read in an era of short attention spans and 140-character expression.

They are a pleasure to work with each week, and we thank them.

Vicki Curlett takes her title of “Community Marketing Partner” most seriously. During this extraordinary time, she has dug deep into an apparently inexhaustible well of creativity in the effort to find ways that local businesses can connect with customers and stay in the fight. Her commitment to seeing her clients prosper buoys spirits in the face of discouragement.

Lisa May keeps the office operating smoothly, manages the classified ads and works directly with the public whether the lobby is ’Rona-open or ’Rona-closed. Her proofreading has spared the editor from embarrassing mistakes and keeps the standard of quality high. She has added writing stories and columns to a nearly endless list of tasks that she handles with exceptional aplomb and good cheer, even when things are dark.

Leith Easterling keeps the books in order and creates ads that serve our clients and readers well. She has produced the annual Sisters Oregon Guide for decades, striving each year to find fresh and exciting ways to depict the many wonders of Sisters Country to readers literally across the globe.

Jess Draper is responsible for making The Nugget an exceptionally visually appealing publication that jumps right off the newsstand at Ray’s and beckons you from the kitchen table to open it up and spend some time with it. Among myriad other duties, she also manages The Nugget’s online presence — and her IT knowledge has on more than one occasion prevented the editor from pulling an Elvis on his computer.

They’ve all earned a few days’ break, and they will come back refreshed and ready to serve the community again when the calendar flips and we enter what we all hope is a much better new year.

All of us at The Nugget know that our first duty is to serve our readers, and we appreciate all of you who engage so passionately with our community and with the newspaper. Your support and engagement — from supporting subscriptions to contributing letters to the editor and other content — is most rewarding for all of us.

Thank you, Sisters. The Nugget staff most ardently wishes all of you a Happy New Year.

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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