by Richard Lamb–Advance Editor
Plans for the Advance are to continue publishing each week as the newspaper of record for Presque Isle County. That is a legal definition we are proud to continue. Some newspapers across the state and country have elected too close. That leaves a tremendous void in their community. But we cannot do this with smoke and mirrors. We are asking for your support as we forge on with our calling.
Here we are behind locked doors producing the second issue of the Advance since COVID-19 has impacted our lives. And where are we at, compared to last week?
Health-wise, there are no reported cases of the virus in our county, but that doesn’t mean we should stop taking precautions. The county has been fortunate in that regard, but we have to stay vigilant.
The experts say the best thing that could happen is nothing. If all the precautions are taken, that is what we hope for, nothing.
Health is one thing, and business is another. The governor’s executive orders closing dine-in restaurant service and her order closing all “nonessential” personal services both hit last week. That means no hair, nail, tanning salons or tattoo parlors are allowed to be open. That order went into effect Monday and lasts until April 13 at 11:59 p.m. The governor chose wisely following the science on this one. At the end of all this quarantining and social distancing those businesses will be flooded with shaggy-haired people eager to get some good grooming.
Then came the Tuesday order from the governor to stay home, stay safe directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.
The governor said we are all in this together. She is right! The best way to fight the spread of the virus is to stay home.
As for your local newspaper, some joked that we should offer a rebate for only an eight-page Advance last week. Others told me they would pay a lot more for their local newspaper. That is heartwarming.
Truth is advertising is what drives the number of pages we print. Getting information on a weekly basis is not an issue. Paying for the production of the newspaper, along with paying the seven dedicated and talented employees with those lower than needed advertising dollars is the challenge.
Advertising is traditionally slow this time of year. Now add the fact that many of our best advertisers are restaurants, retailers or have ads related to school activities and you see our concern. Even an eight-pager is more than we can afford in troubling times.
The governor said that newspapers are an essential service. We think so, too. I am glad she listened to the plea from the Michigan Press Association to keep newspapers on the essential list.
During the crisis, we will do our best, with the resources available to us, to bring pertinent local information to these pages. The Advance will do what it has done for more than 141 years and that is focus on the news that affects the residents of the county.
I appreciate the support of our advertisers and readers. We are proud to be here for you. During the health crisis, our office doors are closed to the public, but we are here via the telephone or internet. Call us at (989) 734-2105, email me at editor@or send a fax to (989) 734-3053. piadvance.com
Another thought: Nationally, wouldn’t it be nice if politicians could set aside differences and unite on what is good for the country? With all that has divided us politically recently, perhaps this crisis is a way to bring us all together.
I watch way too much cable news on television and have gotten so tired of the division in the country. There are positive things happening all over the world, amidst the health crisis. I hope the politicians can learn to work together in the same manner the rest of the world is responding to the situation.
(Richard Lamb was hired as general manager of the Advance in 1988 and purchased the operation in 1998. He is editor and publisher of the Advance and has served as president of the Michigan Press Association since June, 2019.)