Judy Kearns Honored at Joint City Council/School Board Meeting

Former Other Paper owner and publisher Judy Kearns was honored with a joint city council/school board resolution at city hall Monday night. From left, school board members Martin LaLonde, Steve Wisloski, Bridget Burkhardt, and board chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Judy Kearns, City Council Chair Helen Riehle, and Councilors Dave Kaufman and Meaghan Emery.

The South Burlington City Council and the School Board held a joint meeting Monday night, and at the top of their agenda was the task of honoring Judy Kearns, former owner and publisher of The Other Paper.

Kearns was presented with a joint city council/school board resolution acknowledging her years and contributions to South Burlington at the helm of The Other Paper.

Kearns owned and published The Other Paper for 10 years, from 2008 to 2018. She sold the paper to The Stowe Group in August. The group also owns the Stowe Reporter, Waterbury Record, Morrisville Gazette, Shelburne News, and The Citizen. She remains at The Other Paper as the director of advertising sales.

City Council Chair Helen Riehle and School Board Chair Elizabeth Fitzgerald took turns reading the text of the resolution aloud into the record at Monday night’s meeting. In attendance were several Other Paper staffers, Police Chief Shawn Burke, Interim Fire Chief Terry Francis and several members of the South Burlington Fire Department, School Superintendent David Young, and Kearns’ daughter Emily and her two infant grandsons, Myles and Graham.

When the resolution was announced, the room erupted with applause for Kearns.

The resolution reads as follows:

“South Burlington City Council and South Burlington School Board JOINT RESOLUTION

Recognizing and Honoring Judy Kearns and Her Commitment and Service to the Residents of South Burlington

“Whereas, the members of the South Burlington City Council and School Board are celebrating the service to the residents of South Burlington by Judy Kearns, and

“Whereas, the Community has benefited from Judy’s service to the community through her work at the South Burlington publication The Other Paper, and

“Whereas, Judy began working in advertising sales for the former owner of the publication in 2000 and remained steadfastly committed to the growth of the paper with its move to its current location on Williston Road in 2004, and

“Whereas, Judy became the third owner when she purchased the publication in 2008 and wholeheartedly committed her time and efforts to reporting the news in the growing community of South Burlington, and

“Whereas, Judy was recognized in 2011 for her service to the community as the recipient of the Frederick H. Tuttle Memorial Award, and

“Whereas, under her leadership, The Other Paper has won awards from the Vermont Press Association, and the New England Newspaper and Press Association, and

“Whereas, Judy has had an abiding commitment to share the news responsibly and without sensationalism, and

“Whereas, she has shown her commitment to the democratic process by making her reporting on the City Council, School Board, Development Review Board, and Planning Commission meetings a priority by budgeting for coverage and/or attending herself, and

“Whereas, Judy’s warm voice and her caring for each person in South Burlington has shown through in the content of the paper and through her relationships with community members. Examples of this include her commitment to photo tributes of Veterans and her focus on sharing the stories and photos of individual community members, and her palpable anticipation each June to recognize a graduating high school senior who would be a first-generation college student with a scholarship for a new computer and software to begin his/her new journey, and

“Whereas, Judy has transitioned to the Director of Advertising with the new owner of The Other Paper, yet continues to work out of the Williston Road office,

“NOW THEREFORE LET BE RESOLVED that on behalf of the City of South Burlington, the City Council and the School Board do hereby recognize and extend their deepest appreciation for Judy Kearns’ service and incredible dedication to the residents of the City week after week, month after month, year after year, and

“LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that we recognize Judy’s contributions that will have a lasting impact on the lives of the residents of this community, and

“LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that a signed copy of this resolution shall be presented to Judy Kearns, and that this resolution will be inserted in its entirety in the minutes of the South Burlington City Council and School Board meetings dated November 5, 2018.”

Once Riehle and Fitzgerald finished reading the resolution, Kearns received a standing ovation. She then moved to the public comment microphone and read a statement of thanks and appreciation.

“I’m so humbled by this,” she began. “I hardly know where to being to thank you. To be acknowledged for work that was already immensely gratifying on a personal level is really just overwhelming. Thank you.”

Kearns moved to South Burlington with her family 30 years ago and her children Emily and Kevin were raised here. She said in her statement that she fell in love with the community, and that the city embraced her and her family.

Kearns also said that when she took over The Other Paper from former owner George Chamberland in 2008, she had one mission.

“Connect the dots,” she said. “Over the last decade, it has been a true privilege to record the history of the city and its people, and to shine a light on what connects us as a community. We’ve had our share of controversy and heartache, but that’s been balanced by accomplishment, success and joy as well.”

Kearns expressed her gratitude to city staffers and school superintendents, chiefs of police and the police department, the fire department, volunteer committees and many other people “who keep this city’s engine chugging along.”

“What I learned along the way is that one of the biggest successes of this community is the dedication of so many people who all work so hard toward a shared common goal for South Burlington,” she said.

In closing, Kearns said she never could have brought the news to South Burlington for the last decade without the hard work and dedication of The Other Paper staff.

“They share a passion for their work, and their commitment to the members of the community, to put out a hometown newspaper that unites and informs us. Every week. They have been amazing colleagues and friends.”

SOURCE: Lee Kahrs, The Other Paper

Managing Editor

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