It happened on Christmas Eve, 2008. Our local newspaper of 34 years was scrapped by corporate entities who completely underestimated this community. Less than seven weeks later, The Sopris Sun was born. At a time when other newspapers were disappearing (including the Rocky Mountain News, a daily newspaper published in Denver since 1859), a handful of dedicated Carbondale folks worked to create the independent publication you hold in your hands. The Los Angeles Times sent a reporter to cover the story, which was then picked-up in newspapers across the country. And The Sun has been shining brightly ever since.

The Sopris Sun is a nonprofit newspaper, governed by a working volunteer board, with original content provided by our small but incredibly talented staff plus a number of freelance writers, photographers, artists and columnists. You will never see an Associated Press story here. We cover local and regional news topics including recreation, the arts, schools and education, health, business, sports, the environment, government, nonprofits and features about local citizens and events, to name a few. We keep you up-to-date with Scuttlebutt and a weekly events calendar. We “watchdog” Garfield County Commissioner meetings and report on the Carbondale and Basalt  municipal governments.

While the staff works around the clock to produce news, columns, features, photos, special sections and creative ads, our volunteer proofreader Lee Beck is on duty checking every word. After the week’s edition is sent to the press, Frederic Stevie drives to Gypsum to pick up and deliver the paper on time, regardless of weather or conditions in Glenwood Canyon. Until recently, Crystal Tapp fulfilled that noble weekly task. We are very proud of our amazing team.

We struck gold when local artist Brian Colley began providing cartoons and illustrations in The Sun, many months and favorite illustrations ago. More recently, we have taken great pleasure in drawings of local events and whimsical cartoons by Larry Day, who makes us look so good. The 50th Anniversary Mountain Fair Program was a genuine collector’s item, skillfully produced by Graphic Designer Ylice Golden. Then, there’s Suzie Brady’s “Suzoku” and the local crossword puzzle by Chromostome (aka Stan Badgett). How fortunate we are that John Armstrong provides vital news of the Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association (CVEPA) and Geneviève Villamizar shares her intimate relationship with people, plants, animals, gardens and travels to places that feed her soul. Of course, Sun Signs by Whitney Will has been wildly popular. The list goes on, and we are pleased to provide a platform for sharing the abundance of amazing talent in this valley.

This year, Editor Raleigh Burleigh created our Spanish-language section, el Sol del Valle, with local news not found in other publications. Skilled Latino writers and columnists have come into our fold, sharing their stories as well as translations of community news. Research shows that up to 40% of our valley residents  identify as Latino or Hispanic. We are excited to connect with this vibrant segment of our population.

It’s worth remembering that the First Amendment specifically protects freedom of the press. This semester, we launched our Youth Journalism Program for local high school students. Independent journalism is vital to the foundation of our democracy, and mentoring young journalists ultimately benefits us all. Students receive hands-on, professional training from working journalists, photographers, columnists and other special guests. Look for stories in these pages from our talented and enthusiastic participants. Freelancer Jeanne Souldern leads the program with assistance from freelancer Myki Jones.

If you tune in to KDNK at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoons, you’ll hear diverse interviews by Sopris Sun staff on “Everything Under the Sun.” Stories you read in the paper are expanded by the personal touch of live conversations. Editor Raleigh Burleigh and Contributing Editor James Steindler are no strangers to radio news and we share their enthusiasm for community access radio.

Advertising sales and grants cover less than 80% of the quickly escalating costs of producing a newspaper. We have Todd Chamberlin to thank for his hard work to make ends meet. In addition, our Honorary Publishers pledge $1,000 or more every year. The balance of our funding comes from people like you who support The Sopris Sun and know the importance of independent journalism. We could not do this without your help. Tax deductible donations can be given online at or mailed to P.O. Box 399, Carbondale, CO 81623

We are proud to serve you, and grateful for your generosity.