East Valley Times editor retires at end of year

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EVT prints last paper continues online version

EVT editor Sharyn Cornelius enjoys a ride in Earl Wetmore’s Model T during a Whitmore parade she was covering for the paper.

After 15 years of reporting on local community events and issues, East Valley Times editor/co-publisher Sharyn Cornelius is retiring this month; and unless she and partner Judy La Russa receive a last minute offer from someone who would like to buy the Times and continue their work, this will be the last print issue of the newspaper.

The East Valley Times will continue to have a presence online at www.eastvalleytimes.com, but without Sharyn’s extensive reporting. Readers are welcome to submit contributions for electronic publication such as event announcements, letters to the editor, and stories of local goings-on to Judy@eastvalleytimes.com.

Sharyn feels privileged to have been able to tell some truly great stories of the East Valley area during her years with the paper. Chief among them is the great success of the Palo Cedro Community Park, a credit to its many board members over the years who refused to be discouraged by the snail’s pace of development and persevered in raising money one event at a time until they were able to create a picnic area and children’s playground with the help of grants and many in-kind services from local contractors. And this is only the beginning. Future plans call for a beautiful pavilion, wedding gazebo and community center. It will happen. Believe it.

Another wonderful east valley success story was the construction of the Whitmore Community Center, spearheaded by the late Helen Couser, and Bob and Bonnie Mark. One by one a small group of dedicated Whitmore residents conquered all the obstacles such as the extensive fire suppression system required by the County, and then Bonnie started writing grants and the money started rolling in, accompanied by extremely generous in-kind services donated by community members. And now Whitmore has a beautiful, modern building in which to hold all of its events.

A third success story is the construction of the Elk Trail Water project which provides safe, plentiful water to residents of two neighborhoods near Jones Valley who were plagued by insufficient or non-producing wells. The movement began, as did all the others, with a few determined individuals willing to work for the good of all and a compassionate Jones Valley Community Advisory Board who said yes to their neighbor’s request to use existing infrastructure to keep costs for the project down. Though the Department of Public works oversaw the work and garnered grants to lower the cost to the residents, the project was not their idea and probably would not have happened if not for the efforts of a few committed residents.

And finally, Sharyn (a teacher herself for 30 years) is very happy to be able to report on the beginning of the revival of Oak Run School. For many years, it looked as if this school would be condemned to closure as the number of students dwindled from over 70 to less than 20, causing the layoff of teachers and cancellation of programs. But now, due to the hard work and vision of former Board President Angela Simonis and Superintendent Frank Adelman, the school is once again a vibrant learning center with over 80 students enrolled, attracted by the new Montessori curriculum.

Sharyn’s plans for retirement include training the two orphan foals she and her husband Larry adopted from Palomino Armstrong’s Chilly Pepper Miracle Mustang Rescue and having more time to spend with the 19 dogs, cats and horses that live with them at their mini-sanctuary. (All but two horses are rescues.) She also plans to remain active in the Oak Run History Group which is dedicated to preserving and restoring the Old Oak Run Church and Parsonage and to volunteer at Another Chance Animal Welfare League.

She will miss all the wonderful people she saw regularly during her 15 years with the paper, but hopes their paths will cross again through her continued work in the community.