At 5:57 a.m. last Wednesday I got a call saying that there was a rumor going around that Hesperia's public schools were cancelled because of snow. I looked out my window and all I saw there were a few lonely snowflakes.


"I didn't hear that," I said to the caller, a family member.


Within 20 minutes, however, the occasional snowflakes began to fall more frequently. And within another half hour or so it was clear that a snow storm was beginning.


I went to the office thinking surely the storm would soon subside. But the snow kept coming. The last time I saw it snow like that was about 10 years ago, when I lived in a one-room cabin in the woods of Wrightwood.


Around midday, I asked our reporter Beau Yarbrough, who oversees the news content of our web site, if he'd put up a story requesting people send in their snow photos. The online item sparked more response than we imagined it would.


Over the next two days, I received a continuous stream of emails from folks whose days were spent enjoying the company of the family rather (rather than toiling at work or school). The temporary closure of the Cajon Pass ensured that many Hesperia commuters stay put.


It was a real joy to download readers' photos and caption information and load them into online story files. Almost every image featured Hesperia residents smiling and enjoying themselves. Our town truly became a winter wonderland.


Because our web tool can only handle three photos at a time, we were forced to give updates, about one per hour. Over the course, we had about 15 or so photo installments, which means about 45 photos. Judging from the emails and web hits, the participants enjoyed the experience too. Clearly our online community enjoyed viewing each new update.


Throughout those first days, our office staff watched as emergency services workers tended to traffic collisions and medical emergencies. While many were able to enjoy the magic of winter, some had to do very important jobs. Although we at the Star weren't administering first aid or towing cars that were stuck in the snow, we were reminded that in our own way we provide an essential service to our customers. That service is providing an opportunity, space and know-how for Hesperians to share their lives, views and news.


By Friday, however, our staff had to get back to the production of our news print product, and we had to curtail the online photo updates. Perhaps we'll be able to give a few more snow photo updates over the next week or so.


Necessity truly is the mother of invention. Too often we get stuck in a rut, but as a communication company we need to find new, innovative ways to do things. Thank you, readers, for partnering with us.