By Ed Miller | Special to Moonshine Ink

Like everyone else on the planet and in our community, I’ve been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Life as a full-time Tahoe resident is not the same, but compared to friends and family in other locales, my life is certainly not as difficult. I can still walk our dog outside and enjoy the spectacular place I have called home since 1976. Yet, the pleasures of living at Tahoe do not immunize me (pun intended), from the suffering that I see throughout the world and here in our community — friends losing their jobs and homes, businesses closing, and people moving away due to the high cost of living. I am saddened by these losses.

I divide my time between owning a small business, Wild West Communications Group, with my wife, Lolly, and two public offices that I hold, board president of Meeks Bay Fire District and chair of the El Dorado County Civil Service Commission. Sure, our business has lost clients. Contracts we have had for decades are gone. Our income has dropped radically, and other than using less gasoline, expenses have stayed the same.

This brings me to the subject of this essay.

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Some time ago, my favorite local publication, Moonshine Ink, asked for financial support from the community. Similar pleas from The Weekly soon followed, and even the larger, corporate-owned Sierra Sun. My knee-jerk reaction was, “These are businesses, not charities or nonprofits, and businesses have their financial ups and downs. Why should folks who are having financial problems of their own donate to a privately owned business? I’ve never asked the community for financial support for my own. When you open a business, you take a chance.”

These periodicals are not faceless entities to me. I have known Moonshine Ink publisher Mayumi Elegado since the publication’s inception. I’ve known publisher Katherine Hill long before she purchased The Weekly, I have worked with the Sierra Sun/Tahoe World for decades as well.

But still, business is business, right? I continued to ruminate over this issue for some time.
I thought about the potential consequences of losing these local media outlets as many other businesses have disappeared during the pandemic.

The answer became clear. I strongly feel that our region would not be the same without these publications. Quality media is the sign of a vibrant community. Plain and simple, this industry is more than a business, it’s a public service.

Moonshine has filled a niche and a need in our community. The monthly format allows for more in-depth, investigative reporting on issues habitually bypassed by the weeklies. Yes, the articles are often controversial, but on numerous occasions, as their name implies, they have illuminated aspects of our community that needed exposure. Frequently, articles have had measurable results, and even spurred other publications to pay attention to previously ignored topics.

Moonshine also gives local artists, writers, photographers, and others an outlet for their various disciplines, and shows us what our neighbors are doing. This is especially appreciated during the pandemic when many are isolated and feeling disconnected.

Over my decades of full-time residence, I have seen the launch of numerous “independent” publications here at Tahoe/Truckee. Moonshine Ink is in a class of its own. It has prevailed where others have failed and continues to make its mark. I encourage you to support it. Subscribe, advertise, and yes, donate if you can. The result will be a better place to live.

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