As Commission president for the city of West Fargo, I have many accolades I can list that set our city apart in North Dakota. In 2020 alone, we earned the designated of the best city to live in North Dakota, safest city in North Dakota and the best city to stretch a paycheck in North Dakota. However, one of my favorite accolades to brag about is having our very own newspaper, the West Fargo Pioneer.

Despite being part of a large metro area, West Fargo stands apart with a quality source of news devoted to our community. Local news is a recognized community asset that helps improve a community’s quality of life, just like our robust park district, responsive public safety agencies and award-winning school system. In fact, 86% of respondents to a Knight Foundation survey agreed that everyone in a local community should have access to local news regardless of financial contribution.

The West Fargo Pioneer is where our community can go for current, relevant news about the community including what goes on in local government. In fact, I often receive correspondence noting a recent article in the West Fargo Pioneer that helps keep me tapped into the opinions of our community.

The city of West Fargo needs local journalism as it continues to expand in population, housing and commercial development. As we surge past a population of 40,000, there are major decisions in front of us regarding community, commercial, industrial and residential development that calls for local reporting.

In addition, we cannot forget the dedication the West Fargo Pioneer has shown our community in the past, covering elections, major construction projects, the decision to annex property south of Interstate 94, spring flood fights and community celebrations like West Fest and Cruise Night. In fact, this paper has documented the history of West Fargo week after week for the benefit of us all.

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When the West Fargo Pioneer had to make the painful decision to cease printing because of the coronavirus pandemic, they did not stop covering the city of West Fargo. To thank them for this dedication, I want to ask my fellow West Fargoans to help the paper now. Please take the time to subscribe to the West Fargo Pioneer online, follow them on social media or write your own letter to the editor describing your love of this paper. Together, let us join and demonstrate that the city of West Fargo supports a news source that has long supported us.

Dardis is mayor of West Fargo.