Hello Monroe!

A warm welcome to the month of September, and to columnist Chris Diesch who is taking on the task of reporting news for Palermo, my home town for the first 30 years of my life. I look forward to being kept up-to-date on what’s happening in town from your perspective, Chris. Thank you for taking on this role.

Rural anti-racist event

On Saturday, Sept. 12, at 7:30 p.m., the Rural Anti-racist Action Group from Monroe will be hosting an outdoor screening of the documentary film "13th." Directed by Ava DuVernay, and named for the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery "except as punishment for a crime," the movie explores the history and effects of mass incarceration in the United States.

If interested, please join the group at Gesner Park in Monroe on Saturday, Sept. 12, for the movie and on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. for a discussion of the film. If you are planning to attend either event, please RSVP to for more information and to ensure safe physical distance at the event. "13th" is also available to view on Netflix.

Worth celebrating

Congratulations to Mariah Ross and Garrett Gatchell of Monroe on the birth of their newest bundle of joy, Reagan Kay Gatchell. Miss Raegan was born on Aug. 20, weighing 6 lbs. 14 oz. and measuring 18.5” long. She is welcomed warmly by big siblings Paige Ella and Cayson William, maternal grandmother Nicole Ross of Liberty and paternal grandparents Dean and Terrie Brown of Monroe.

Now that her state Realtor's license is officially active, Cassandra McKay of Monroe is excited to join with Better Homes and Gardens: the Masiello Group.

Monroe Elementary School custodian Britney Mayer has been promoted to the lead custodian at the Mount View complex. Sadly, it means Britney’s eight years of working in our small town school have come to an end, but her Monroe colleagues sent her off with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and wishes for the best with this advancement and new adventure. Thank you for all you’ve done for the town, and congratulations, Britney!

Library news

Audio books galore! Check out the selection currently available for loan through the Monroe Community Library, including titles such as "The Death of Mrs. Westaway" by mystery favorite Ruth Ware; "Echo," where fantasy, history and music come together in this young adult Newberry Honor book by Pam Munoz Ryan; "99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret," “a brilliant, eccentric book about Queen Elizabeth’s little sister,” according to the Wall Street Journal; and many more.

The library continues to offer convenient curbside pickup on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while planning for a September reopening. Request books, audiobooks and CDs by searching the Balsam catalog database and emailing your requests to, or by signing into your Balsam account and reserving titles online. Your Monroe library membership also allows you to download many ebooks and audiobooks through Cloud Library.

Doak produce ready

David and Bernys Doak’s farm on Swan Lake Avenue in Monroe has its open flag out for the season. Available now are squash varieties such as buttercup, butternut, acorn, blue hubbard, delicata and sunspot. Forty-pound boxes of winter squash and bright orange pumpkins will also be available to choose from after Labor Day weekend.

Since my pumpkin and winter squash patch got hit hard by bugs this year, I’ll be stocking up from the Doaks soon myself. Thank you, David and Bernys, for growing such healthy, yummy produce!

More apples ripening

Hooper’s Orchard on the Back Brooks Road in Monroe is now open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Williams Pride apples are now ready to be picked — an early Mac-type apple with mild Mac flavor and white flesh. The Hoopers say this variety makes a nice clear cider that looks like apple juice. Also ready for picking is Zestar. This variety is an early ripening cousin of Honeycrisp. It packs a juicy, fruit punch-like flavor and is a crisp fresh eating, pie and sauce apple.

Have a great week!