Editor: With sincere gratitude, thank you

FINAL EDITION—Camarillo and Moorpark Acorn Daniel Wolowicz on his last day, Aug. 18, at the Camarillo office. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

FINAL EDITION—Camarillo and Moorpark Acorn Daniel Wolowicz on his last day, Aug. 18, at the Camarillo office. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers

There’s a photo I recently uncovered while packing up my office. The picture, its black frame coated in a layer of dust, had been tucked away and forgotten behind a stack of files on my overcrowded bookcase.

Taken in early February 2007, it’s of me, my wife (pregnant with our son) and our then-2½-year-old daughter standing together inside the Acorn’s newly opened office on Flynn Road in Camarillo. My daughter was proudly showing off a piece of red ribbon, the one that had been cut earlier that night to commemorate the occasion.

The Camarillo edition, the fifth of five free weekly community newspapers that carry the Acorn masthead, had been in print for nearly a year—since April 7, 2006, to be exact—and the evening ceremony celebrated our company’s newest location.

Little did I know then just how much the Acorn Newspapers would become part of my life, and how much my life would become part of the Acorn Newspapers’. Yes, it’s been my job since I began as a reporter in 2004, but it has also become a second home filled with many who are like family to me.

Which is why it’s so hard to say goodbye.

This edition marks my last as editor of the Camarillo and Moorpark editions of the Acorn, and it is with profound appreciation and a heavy heart that I bid adieu to the communities I’ve been so lucky to serve for nearly 18 years.

I’ve had the privilege of sharing the stories of those who call Moorpark home, covering the ups, the downs and everything in between. I know firsthand how close-knit this city is and how, hopefully, our newspaper has played a small part in binding together the community.

I will forever believe in the necessity and worth of local journalism. Community newspapers play an important role in providing news that readers can trust, especially in this digital era when social media has so profoundly changed the news landscape.

Over the years, we’ve worked hard to ensure a quality newspaper. While we strive for fairness and accuracy in covering our City Council and school board, we also seek to provide a place where all voices in our community can be heard. Our record isn’t perfect, but our focus has always been— and will remain—on spotlighting the people, places and events that make Moorpark special.

No one person can get the papers out every week. It takes a team. The Acorn isn’t possible without our reporters, our photographers, our editors, our sales staff, our production crew and our administrative team. Each week, this merry band of incredibly hardworking folks comes together to make the newspapers possible.

For the past 26 years, our publishers, Jim and Lisa Rule, have provided the steady hand needed to guide our newspapers through the unpredictable waters of media in the 21st century. Countless local newspapers have closed over the past 20 years, leaving behind news deserts with readers starved for community journalism. The Rules, like all small-business owners, have sacrificed much to ensure the Acorn Newspapers are able to continue providing the news that matters to our readers.

Throughout the years, I have learned so much from everyone whose name has been in our staff box. All will be missed.

To the many advertisers who’ve faithfully supported us throughout the years, thank you! Without those businesses, many of which are family-owned like us, we could not provide news to the community.

The photo taken so many years ago sits beside me as a write this, and it brings back a flood of memories.

My daughter will start college next week; my son will begin his sophomore year in high school, and my wife and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Though I wonder where the time has gone, I realize it was spent doing a job I love, and one I was proud (and lucky enough) to do for so many years.

Now I happily pass the editorial baton to Becca Whitnall, a longtime Acorn reporter whose love of local news makes her an outstanding replacement.

I’ll take that photo with me, and like the memories of my time spent with the Acorn Newspapers, it will forever be a reminder of how special my time was with this newspaper and all those whose stories we’ve shared.

With sincere gratitude, thank you.