Heart of the City has demonstrated its support of local journalism by giving away 23 three-month gift subscriptions to the Daily Jefferson County Union.

All Jefferson County residents who were not current subscribers were eligible to enter the online drawing in May. The winners received the print edition of the Daily Union, as well as full online access to its e-edition and website.

Cynthia Ficenec, a member of the grassroots nonprofit organization, noted that Heart of the City’s Board of Directors originally had voted to sponsor 10 gift subscriptions for three months. After it announced the drawing, additional anonymous donors who are loyal readers of the Daily Union chipped in to sponsor more subscriptions.

“Ultimately, Heart of the City was able to award gift subscriptions to 23 people, or half of the 46 people who entered the drawing,” Ficenec said. “New subscribers came from Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Cambridge and Lake Mills.”

Among the recipients was Jodi Garvin of Fort Atkinson, who said she was grateful that her name was drawn.

“It’s a great way to stay connected to and updated on our community,” she said of subscribing to the newspaper. “I enjoy celebrating the accomplishments of our citizens and local businesses, as well as learning more about community concerns and needs.

“The electronic version is great for quick access and the printed copy is wonderful for saving special articles and giving my eyes a break from the screen,” she added.

Another recipient, Sam M., also expressed appreciation.

“A big thank you to Heart of the City and their donors for sponsoring such a great drawing,” he/she said. “I keep up with the Daily Union online, but I’m thrilled to now have daily access to the full paper!”

Angie Szabo of Fort Atkinson echoed that sentiment.

“Yay! Thank you so much,” she told Heart of the City. “Life is busy and I’ve been meaning to get a subscription for years, and it just keeps getting forgotten about.

“We need to support our local papers now more than ever, as they support our local businesses and community,” she continued. “I’m so thankful to have the Daily Union in town, and now I’m incredibly thankful to have it delivered to my door. There is not a doubt in my mind that I will continue our subscription now that it is started up.”

Daily Union managing editor Christine Spangler thanked Heart of the City members for sponsoring the subscription drawing and welcomed the 23 new subscribers.

“This was a wonderful way to promote community journalism, and we truly appreciate Heart of the City’s support,” Spangler said.

She noted that the current COVID-19 pandemic has kept reporters and editors very busy. At the same time, the Daily Union itself has not been immune from the cuts in staff, hours and pay that many businesses have had to undertake to weather the storm.

In addition, the pandemic’s negative effect on businesses in turn led to a severe drop in advertising, the newspaper’s bread and butter.

“Heart of the City’s purchase of 23 subscriptions not only brightened our day, but also provides us an opportunity to toot our own horn about the importance of having a local newspaper in town,” Spangler said. “Staying informed on what’s happening in our schools, local government and neighborhoods makes us all better citizens and community members.”

Heart of the City is a Fort Atkinson 501©3 non-profit community service group that encourages sustainable development, the preservation of existing and treasured civic characteristics, and active participation of the citizenry. It is devoted to increasing sustainability in homes and communities through education, volunteer efforts, and engagement with neighbors and civic leaders.

Persons interested in joining Heart of the City may visit the group’s Facebook page or website, www.heartofthecity.us, or send an email to heartoffort@gmail.com.

The next member meeting will be held virtually via Zoom on Sunday, July 26.

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