Letter from the ZU-Keeper: Read the full story at thedailyzu.com
Over a year ago, my friend and I talked about wanting more positive news to be shared in our community. And she challenged me to start a hyperlocal newspaper. I tweeted about the challenge (in November 2019), as if adding it to a vision board. “Back to the Zu,” I’d say every time I hit the Montezuma County sign coming back from a trip to Farmington or Durango. I jokingly referred to Montezuma County as the Zu, not realizing I’d bring back this quip. In early January 2020, I texted my friend that I had purchased the website domain thedailyzu.com and she cheered (and laughed) at my progress. The holidays had been extra busy with holiday parties and work events, so this little project took the back burner. But there were many reminders why I should start this every time I stumbled into a load of Facebook comments that often divided neighbors, friends and even families. I was determined to find a way to share the beautiful side of Montezuma County and show how wonderfully different, yet closely alike, we all are in our daily lives. I wanted to build something that would celebrate our successes, no matter how small, and be proud to show off to any tourist, visitor or local. If you’re curious, I’m a marketer and event producer by trade so I have photography, graphic design and web development in my toolbox. The Daily ZU was going to be my ultimate marketing masterpiece.
And then on January 25, 2020, I had a stroke.
It helped me get excited about possibilities again.
I was only 47. A beaded artery was the likely cause and led to many months of learning how to function again, including learning to walk again. Everything became a challenge and a chore and I often found myself sitting quietly on the couch watching hours of television and often crying myself to sleep. But about four months post stroke I started thinking about my “little project” and decided it was time to start building the website. Thedailyzu.com became the catalyst to bringing my focus and creativity back to full steam. It helped motivate me to wake up in the mornings and get away from my 10-12 hour restless sleep sessions. It helped get me excited about possibilities again. Now 11 months post stroke, I can walk unassisted. As I type this, I’m still pecking the keyboard with my right middle finger because the feeling on my right side hasn’t completely returned, but I’m more grateful that I can type a little instead of seeing it as a chore or challenge.
Thedailyzu.com went live at the end of July 2020 with no content and only possibilities. My first goal was to fill every section I dreamt up with at least one article or image. The first article was posted on August 6th at 5:57pm.
And then the website crashed completely.
…WE (our wonderful community) have created a hub of stories (long and short) of life in our little piece of the world.
But reflecting on the stops and starts of the previous months, I didn’t let that discourage me. The goal (and still today) is to make The Daily ZU better each day. In a very short five months, WE (our wonderful community) have created a hub of stories (long and short) of life in our little piece of the world. I couldn’t have done it without you sharing your beautiful, flaw-filled, funny, fabulous pieces of your lives and perspectives while living in or just visiting Montezuma County, Colorado. Please continue sharing your good news with us.
Sincerely, Jodi Jahrling
MONTEZUMA COUNTY, COLORADO | Cortez – Mancos – Dolores – Lewis – Towaoc – Arriola – Pleasant View – Yellow Jacket
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