In late 2003 I assumed leadership of the Hesperia Star. Although I knew from my previous editor positions that I was in for an invigorating ride, I didn't know how truly transformative the experience would be.


More than a decade earlier I was a news reporter for our neighbor up the street, so I was quite familiar with the inner workings of the community, the movers-and-shakers and Hesperia's basic timbre.


But Hesperia of 1990 was a very different place than it had become in 2003. While it was always a geographically large area, the newly incorporated Hesperia was still "small town." Post-2000 Hesperia, however, was about to see a huge real estate boom and the school district would reach the 20,000 student milestone. Sleepy Hesperia was growing into a faster-paced mini metropolis.


The changes in our community were reflected in our news coverage as well. After receiving capable freelance assistance from several freelance writers, I hired a full time reporter with roots to the Washington D.C. area, a gifted and highly intelligent writer named Beau Yarbrough. While tackling touchy issues such as the often contentious merging of the Hesperia Fire District with County Fire might intimidate some reporters, it didn't faze Beau, who was accustomed to dealing with tough topics along the Beltway.


Over the past six years Beau and I have enjoyed a partnership that is rare for the news business. While I am his "superior," I am always cognizant of his unique abilities and perceptiveness. If I am having a difficult time figuring out how much weight to give a particular story, I don't hesitate to discuss the dilemma with him. He has been an invaluable sounding board.


As our elected officials know, Beau has rarely, if ever, missed a school board or city council meeting. It's Beau's eyes and ears (with the help of his nifty netbook computer and iPhone) that are there for you, our readers.


We believe elected officials must be held accountable for their decisions. But for a weekly newspaper serving one city that is sometimes easier said than done. That's because I also believe that a newspaper like ours should have an air of congeniality. We may print a story that points out a questionable move but at the end of the day we are all a part of the same community. While we don't always agree, it's imperative that our newspaper invites all sides to share their views.


Having a Beau Yarbrough on our staff also frees me up to report on lighter issues, which I particularly enjoy. But as Hesperia grows so do the calls and tips to cover news of all types. The recent addition of Oak Hills High School means that the Star must cover three comprehensive public high schools, a private high school along with a few alternative education programs. We also do our best to cover elementary and middle school events, and we regularly shine the spotlight on other organizations along with stories on the average citizen. The news story opportunities here are endless.


The unsung heroes of the Star are our advertisers. It's their support, which is steady and growing, that enables us to report and publish the news that Hesperians crave and deserve. They have weathered a difficult economic storm, but they know that advertising in the Star is both good for them and their customers. Thank you.


Of course there are many from the Star and our parent newspaper, the Daily Press, who deserve much thanks. Our always helpful office administrator Sharon Kulakowski (formerly Strickland), our stellar ad rep Sheila Mockett and others who help produce and distribute the newspaper make it happen every week. We are also grateful for the vision of former Daily Press publisher Ed Nichols and the editorial management, which played pivotal roles in getting the newspaper off the ground. And we continue to get support and kind words from current publisher Stephan Wingert and guidance from editor Don Holland. To all current and past Star staffers, thank you for contributing to something truly special.


It's refreshing to know that after 10 years in operation the Hesperia Star continues to be at the center of the action. And our first decade is just the start. More than six years after accepting the editor position I realize it is much more than a job or an interesting stretch of one newsman's career. Clearly this is a calling.