A few years ago, the Carlisle Mosquito had its 15 seconds of fame. An item from the lost and found column appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno:
"Lost — four chickens, last seen on Sunset Road July 14, seen being chased by a fox."
Leno was dubious about their return.
He got his laughs, but no bit of news is too small for the Mosquito, a newspaper sent most weeks of the year free to every household in town. Published since 1972, its first motto was, "All the news to fit, we print!" The founders, women who lived in town, believed their fellow residents should know more about how their local government, even the most obscure committees, worked.
Now the nonprofit paper is celebrating its 40th anniversary — officially, last August — by publishing a book called "Who’s Who in the Natural World" by Kay Fairweather, a collection of columns about more than 300 species of wildlife that she and others have written for the Mosquito.
The newspaper’s first copy had no name. Residents were asked to drop their suggestions in a box at the Superette and eventually, they chose the Mosquito, suggested by Kathy Coyle, a retired school psychologist, who suggested that mosquitoes had the best circulation in town.
For its first several years, the Mosquito had to be hand-collated. Thursday afternoons, after I finished my day's classes at the Junior High school, I'd walk down the hill to the old Congregational Church building, which housed the Post Office in the front part of the basement and the Mosquito's offices in the rear. There, I and a bunch of others would collate copies of the week's paper and bundle them up to be mailed out. A few copies needed address labels, as they were being sent to out-of-town addresses; the vast majority, though, were simply going to "Postal Patron, Carlisle, Massachusetts 01741". Badly misprinted sheets (and there usually were a few in any week's batch) went home with myself and the other youthful collators as doodling paper.
(I didn't see that particular "Tonight Show" act, which apparently aired on October 12, 2009. Nor have I been able to find a clip online. However, I did find a photo of the "Lost - four chickens" ad on the Tonight Show website.)
Originally posted at http://edschweppe.dreamwidth.org/160398.html - comment wherever you please.