By Michelle Key


Celebrating anniversaries, birthdays and other special dates is important. It is a time to look back, reflect on the positive things, contemplate the negative and look forward toward the future.
The Observer staff has spent a considerable amount of time during the past several weeks, months even, looking back, listening to some of the people that were involved in the creation of the ‘Opelika Observer’ 10 years ago.
I was not a part of that special group of people, but I sure have learned a lot from many of them. I have heard many stories, funny ones, serious ones, happy ones and sad ones. It is these events that have been written down and preserved among the pages of the last 520 editions of the Observer that have led us to where we are today.
January 2018 marked a significant change for the men and women that had led the Observer since its inception. Their decision to step away from the newspaper business was a decision that changed my life and my future.
It has been their unwavering support, friendship and guidance that has helped me bring the Observer to this significant anniversary date.
Ten years.
For many military men and women, 10 years signifies the halfway mark to military retirement. Schools often celebrate their high school days with reunions every 10 years.
I started with the Observer four years ago as the office administrator. I had no idea what the future would hold for me, or just how important this local newspaper would come to mean to me. I have fallen in love with not only the Opelika Observer, but the people of Opelika and Lee County.
I cherish the opportunity to serve my neighbors, my friends. I want to share in your moments both happy and sad, serious and funny. That is what local papers with a local focus do. They share in the lives of the people that they interact with on a regular basis.
As stated previously, we have spent a lot of time looking back and that is important because we learn from looking back at history. We continue to look back and learn. But, we are also looking forward toward the future. Looking forward and making plans to ensure that the Observer remains a vital part of the lives of the community we call home.
All organizations go through growing pains, and changes never happen without a range of emotions. Change is hard. But, change is sometimes needed in order to grow and to thrive.
I am incredibly grateful for the individuals that laid the cornerstone, the foundation of the Observer. Without these individuals, the Observer would not even be in existence. For nine years, they too underwent various changes.
It has been my goal as the new editor, the owner, to continue to provide the quality services that they gave our community for so long.
Service to our community will continue to be my goal here at the Observer. Yes, we have changed, a little, but we still have a passion for the people of Opelika, but we also desire to serve our entire community which encompasses all of Lee County.
We will continue to change in small ways, to grow, to stay fresh in a market that many say is dying. We are striving to prove them wrong. Newspapers still have an important role in communities, especially small communities like ours.
Our focus will continue to be on local people, local businesses and local events. Our goal will continue to be to share the news and events that build up our community and our people.
I want you to know that we are here, we will be here to walk with you, through the good times and the bad times, through the sunshine and the storms. We celebrate weddings, babies and birthdays with you. We mourn your losses with you. We are excited to share your successes on the ball fields and in the boardrooms.
I’m looking forward to the future, and it is my hope that you, our readers, will look forward with me.
Michelle Key