The Observer Changes Hands
An Editorial
By Jessica Murphy

I’m Jessica Murphy and I wanted to share a bit about myself, as I prepare to take over your community newspaper.

I grew up in Coopersville and attended Lamont Christian School from kindergarten through 8th – grade. I went on to graduate from Coopersville High School in 2002.

I’ve been married to my husband, Mike for almost 13 years. Mike graduated from Walkerville High School in 2000. He is a United States Army veteran and has served three tours overseas. He is currently employed as a shift manager at HB Fuller, in Walker.

We have six children. Anna and Alex are 17-year-old twins in their senior year at Coopersville High School. Courtney is a 16-year-old junior, also at CHS. Leah is 11, Laney is 9, and Henry is 5 years old. They attend Lamont Christian School.

My family attends Lamont Christian Reformed Church where I volunteer with the nursery and children’s worship programs. I have coached various recreational soccer teams, I am a member of our local VFW Auxiliary, a member of Circle of Friends, and was recently elected as a Precinct Delegate in Polkton Charter Township.

My previous places of employment include spending eight years working in a cabinets/woodworking shop, eight years milking cows, and eight years in childcare.

It has really been pressed upon my heart over the past two years to step out of my comfort zone and become more involved in our local community. I began attending school board, city council, and township meetings. The more I learned about our community and the more people I met, the more evidence I saw of just what a special town this really is. I have had the honor of getting to know many of the great people who have stepped up over the years to make it that way. I love learning about and getting to be a small part of all the amazing things happening right here in our town and sharing those things with all of you.

I feel I was given the opportunity of a lifetime when I was asked to consider taking over The Coopersville Observer. I grew up reading the paper and truly believe it is an asset to the community. I’ve always admired the work that Kerri Snowdin and her daughter, Beki Rotman have done to provide positive, local news for the community. It is an honor for me to continue that work.

Kerri and Beki have been the best, most patient teachers as they try to teach me everything they know and have graciously agreed to help with the first few months of the transitional period. I already have and will continue to dedicate as much time and effort as I can into making this a seamless transition, but I ask for your patience as there’s still a lot to learn. (And as you can see from my work history, publishing a newspaper is all new to me.)

I believe open lines of communication are essential to success, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with your local news, story ideas, special accomplishments, or anything else you’d like to see in print. There’s a quote from Dominique Wilkins, “You’re only as good as your team.” I view everyone in the community as my team. I can only write about what I know about and being just one person, I’m counting on the community to be my eyes and ears and keep me informed of news, events, and people you’d like to read about. I welcome both positive feedback as well as constructive criticism, as both are essential to keeping the paper going

Just as it was for the Snowdin family, my goal is also to be an asset for the readers, the community leaders, the businesses, the non-profits, and the school district. I respect all the work that’s been done over the years and don’t intend to change much - but I’m also open to new ideas to keep readers interested, especially in the online/social media generations.

The business advertisements and volunteer subscribers are the reason the paper is able to continue and be delivered free to over 6,000 local residents. For many years the volunteer subscription drive has assisted in offsetting rising postage and printing fees that may otherwise have been too much to overcome. The financial support has always been a bright light proving that the community supports the paper and wants to see it continue. I pray the community will continue to support the paper, as I step into this role.

(*Editorial Note: Dear friends, I cannot reiterate Jessica’s last paragraph enough. Your support through advertising dollars, volunteer subscriptions and contributions have truly sustained this newspaper to keep it in publication for the last 27 years. You have convinced us that The Observer is worth having around – long after I retire. I truly hope Jessica will feel that same confidence through your gifts, moving forward

If a “Volunteer Subscription” return envelope is missing from your newspaper, please see the form below to show your continued support and mail to: The Observer, P.O. Box111, Coopersville, MI 49404. Be one of the first 100 volunteer subscribers and receive a FREE “classified ad” to be used anytime in 2023. Merry Christmas, Kerri)

Thank you,
Jessica Murphy

Yes, I/we would like to be a volunteer subscriber for the 2023 calendar year.
Enclosed is my contribution to: The Coopersville Observer in
the amount of: $25 ___ $30 ___ $35 ___ Other ___

From: Name ______________________________
Address _________________________________
City ______________ State ____ Zip ________


*(If you live outside our circulation area of Coopersville, Conklin, Lamont, and Marne, please call for special fees.)