Each Wednesday morning (except when Monday is a major holiday), our little news staff — me, J.P. and Jay — and Dolores gather to plan the next issue of the paper.

Years ago, I opened this meeting up to the public, gathering at various cafes throughout Idyllwild because our office lacked space.

J.P. continued the tradition throughout the three-and-a-half years I was gone.

Over the years, public participation in the meeting grew and has become an important and necessary element to our news budget each week. The public receives several stapled pages of the news list, the stories we are working.

J.P. goes down the list and we discuss the status of each current story. I keep an “Editor’s log” for the upcoming newspaper based first on this meeting. The log is updated daily, though, based on breaking news and availability of sources.

Public input, whether at the meeting or not, enlightens us as to what is relevant to our readers, which is why these meetings in the open are so important to us.

They begin at 8:30 a.m. We currently meet at two picnic tables outside the office. But as the weather cools, we will need to meet elsewhere — possibly back at Oma’s which J.P. arranged some time ago.

I invite you to join us. It is a great opportunity to learn more about the issues affecting this community, as anyone who attends can attest.

Dolores just started attending since she works the front desk and often receives questions about news-related issues. She also is now a fan.

I promise you they are not boring. They are both informative and entertaining, both because people offer information and opinions, and that several attendees also offer comic relief. We have many regulars who hate missing a news meeting.

Unfortunately, I may have to miss this week’s as my daughter may be in labor as I write this. Watch for the birth announcement soon.