While an official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic being over hasn’t been made, you sure could fool people based on the seemingly sudden increase in activity in our neck of the woods.

After praying on a weekly basis for something, anything not COVID related to cover, I have seen an incredible uptick in activities. In just the past month (including this edition) we have run feature stories promoting/reintroducing various community activities such as both Cambridge and North Branch’s Concerts in the Park, plus North Branch’s Midsummer Days. In the near future, expect to see similar articles for Isanti Rodeo/Jubilee Days, Braham Pie Day, and the County Fairs. And as I’m sure our faithful readers have noticed, our Out & About calendar has made a glorious return, quickly expanding from taking up about a third of a page to almost encompassing the entire page 3.

While several of those calendar events are still vaccination clinics or other not necessarily “fun” events (food distributions, blood drives), events such as car shows, concerts, kids activities, etc. are rapidly taking over a majority of the space.

Graduation ceremonies have returned to normal. Braham already had theirs the Friday of Memorial Weekend. Cambridge-Isanti’s is this Friday, and North Branch’s is this Sunday, with both of them being their traditional ceremonies inside each schools’ gyms (although C-I was supposed to do theirs outside, not totally due to COVID, but by the behest of the Class of 2021. However that has now been changed due to the hot and possibly stormy weather forecast).

My own desk calendar, which for a while barely featured even an ink smudge on some months, is again starting to get filled up. In fact, I’ve found several days where I’m actually going to have to either prioritize what to cover, or hand off coverage to another person.

This realization has been a little unnerving. It’s amazing how, while I hated going weeks on end not having anything but sports to photograph, you kind of get used to this emptier schedule. So when almost overnight it seems your schedule doubles in size, almost a feeling of “information overload” encompasses me as I’ve needed to take a deep breath and remember how to better manage my time.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice problem to have after this past year-plus. Over Memorial Weekend I successfully navigated making sure Cambridge, Isanti, and North Branch ceremonies were properly covered, and I even had a “plan B” in mind in case my first plan fell apart. In fact, I enjoyed doing it.

It has also forced me to plan out what gets published each week as advertising (which plays a large part in determining how many pages we will run each week) is still lagging behind pre-pandemic levels. But even with that, it’s better to have “too much” news content than not enough.

So, by all means, keep on submitting events for our Out & About page. Keep sending me possible photo shoots and story ideas. Even keep submitting letters to the editor. After all, for us editors, there really should be no such thing as “information overload.”

BILL STICKELS III is editor of the Isanti-Chisago County Star. He can be reached at 763-689-1181 ext. 107 or editor@countystar.com. 

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