3.7 C
Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, March 25, 2017
  • Joe Merlihan
    Joe Merlihan
    Publisher
  • Donna Rudy
    Donna Rudy
    Sales Manager
  • Steve Kannon
    Steve Kannon
    Editor
  • Patrick Merlihan
    Patrick Merlihan
    Print | Web Manager
  • Liz Bevan
    Liz Bevan
    Reporter | Photographer
  • Whitney Neilson
    Whitney Neilson
    Reporter | Photographer
  • Jake Stallard
    Jake Stallard
    Graphic Designer

The Observer is an award-winning weekly community newspaper serving Woolwich and Wellesley Townships in the Region of Waterloo. Founded in 1996 by life-long residents Joe and Pat Merlihan, the Observer grew to be the area’s preeminent and only weekly newspaper. The focus on reporting  100% local news and acting as a trustworthy servant to the community keeping watch over local government has proven successful. Residents depend on The Observer to keep “in-the-know” about their home.

Our award-winning ways are reflective in all areas of newspaper production. We’ve also captured numerous awards in head-to-head competition with papers across the province and the country. (View our compiled list.)

The Observer is a member of the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA), the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA), as well as the Ontario Press Council.

A newspaper is not simply a commodity, even if some operations are run that way. Locally owned and proudly independent, the Observer takes its brand of journalism seriously. “Community paper” shouldn’t be a euphemism for shoddy coverage, poor writing and useless filler. We know your time is valuable. When you sit down with the paper, it should provide something that’s worth reading, featuring information that reflects the community.

The Observer believes in the historical and fundamental role of the media as a watchdog. A functioning democracy requires a free press that monitors the political process. Keeping an eye on local politics is an essential function, as is challenging those in power to justify their actions. This doesn’t mean gotcha journalism, rather it counteracts the natural tendencies of bureaucrats and administrators to do what’s in their own interest, not the public’s.

No matter how clichéd it sounds, when it’s doing its job, the press acts as the voice of the public, asking the questions and presenting information to the readers. It’s a role that should always be front and center.

That philosophy has been in place since the Observer began publishing in 1996.

Ask A Question

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Joe Merlihan
Publisher
    About Merlihan
    Contact: 519-669-5790 Ext 107

    Joe Merlihan has been keeping the books in order for two decades. He took charge of advertising sales and all of the fancy paperwork that successful enterprises require to grow and stay in business in the Observer’s infancy. The Observer had people that could write and create but neither of those skills keep a newspaper afloat.

    University of Waterloo churned out another graduate with an Economics Degree but few jobs available when it was time to enter the workforce. He had a brief stint at Lazy-Boy working the line before that business went south, literally, which had Merlihan pink-slipped. Taking advantage of his unemployment he upgraded his skills with government-paid-for sales training. It must have been fate. Merlihan had acquired the two most important skills for becoming a Publisher and didn’t even know it.

    Married to his high-school sweetheart, a kid on the way and few prospects for meaningful employment, his kid brother reached out for some help with a new venture. The Observer fresh out of the gates was a work in progress. The community was ready for another voice, but they’ve seen others come and go, they were skeptical. Merlihan put a business plan in motion — the ABC’s — Always be Selling! Book keeping, dealing with official government types, making sure The Observer gets paid are all in a days work. There was a light at the end of the tunnel after each week we published. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Early on Merlihan developed a reputation for big thinking ideas. He was invited to be a delegate for then Jean Chretien’s Prime Minister’s task force on entrepreneurship. He made his presentation to various Senators and beauracrats, including the “Big M” Frank Mahovlich. Mahovlich was impressed enough with Merlihan’s presentation that he invited himself down to see The Observer in full swing.

    The big thinking doesn’t stop either. Early in 1996 The Observer adopted a slogan saying “We’ve only just begun.” Two decades later it feels like that slogan is as relevant today as it was when The Observer published its first newspaper. Continually re-inventing, pushing for better, re-thinking how to do business better… we’ve only just begun.

    Taking/Making Phone Calls
    70%
    Doing Boring Admin Stuff
    90%
    Surfing The Web
    85%
    Head Strategy Ninja
    95%

    CONTACT JOE MERLIHAN

    • Drop files here or
      Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Donna Rudy
    Sales Manager
      About Rudy
      Contact: 519-669-5790 Ext 104

      Donna Rudy grew up in Elmira, did her schooling here, and continues to work here. She has never been afraid of a little hard work. Her summers were often spent on dairy and pig farms doing chores – real work. One of four siblings, including 2 burly brothers, Donna learned early to fight for things. She brings that determination to the office to ensure that our clients are getting the most out of our services.

      Donna joined the Observer in 1998 without any previous advertising or sales training. As noted earlier — she’s not afraid of a little hard work.  She quickly became the voice of the Observer to business clients all over Waterloo Region. Quick to strike up a conversation — (Donna has a large  extended family so this comes naturally) — Donna has become the go-to advertising sales person in the Region.

      Donna is a cowgirl at heart. Her main four-legged love for twelve and a half years was a quarter horse/draft cross named Krash. Krash is gone, but will never be forgotten. Donna continues to get her horse fix by doing chores at the barn where he was boarded.

      2015 ushered in a new opportunity for Donna. She was selected to design cards for a Canadian stamp company called High Hopes Rubber Stamps. In the same year, she had one of her card designs published in the Summer 2015 edition of Canadian Scrapbooker magazine. This girl has skills! She looks forward to more of her work being published.

      Donna  lives with her cowboy, Mark, in Drayton. In the summer of 2014 they adopted the world’s cutest dog named Moe. (Patrick Merlihan contests this claim however.)

      Advertising Selling
      90%
      Answering Questions
      75%
      Sending Email
      85%
      Special Princess Powers
      100%

      CONTACT DONNA RUDY

      • Drop files here or
        Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
      • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
      Steve Kannon
      Editor
        About Kannon
        519-669-5790 Ext 103

        Steve Kannon has been a newspaper Editor for more than two decades. He holds the top post at the Observer for the past fifteen years. In that time he has mentored upwards of a hundred journalists.

        Kannon has crafted a winning formula of editorial columnists, cartoonists and journalists over the years. Under his tenure The Observer has earned more industry awards then any other newspaper in Waterloo Region. Some years the awards earned were more than any other newspaper in the province.

        His own writing and opinions have earned numerous nods at the provincial and federal levels as well. Most recently Kannon won first place in Canada for Best National Editorial as well as a third place for Best Editorial Pages.

        Writing
        90%
        Editing
        95%
        Meetings
        45%
        Wish it were the Weekend
        100%

        CONTACT STEVE KANNON

        • Drop files here or
          Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
        • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
        Patrick Merlihan
        Print | Web Manager
          About Merlihan
          519-669-5790 Ext 105

          Patrick Merlihan has led the design side of The Observer since inception. He has more than two decades of experience on the software and creative side of effective newspaper and advertising design earning provincial and national accolades year-after-year.

          He has mentored some of the top talent in Canada and recently reunited with his student newspaper Imprint, at the University of Waterloo. In 2015 Merlihan was voted the first outside voting member of the Board of Directors of Imprint. Merlihan found his calling in the newspaper industry at Imprint. His time at Imprint had him fill posts as Photo Editor, Arts Editor, Production Assistant and President of the Board of Directors. The experience was unmatched. It was the groundwork that led to the creation of The Observer in 1996. In fact, the first edition was produced at Imprint.

          As a life-long resident of Elmira Merlihan launched the Observer in his hometown with a collective group in March of 1996. The first edition was published March 26, 1996 in honour of The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.  Joe Merlihan joined the paper soon after as the newspaper’s Publisher. A lot happened in between 1996 and today. Merlihan is married to the super beautiful/intellectual woman he met at Imprint, has two kids, is a certified basketball coach, is a Township of Woolwich Councillor and has one of the cutest dogs that ever lived. Life has been busy, but good. There’s only more good stuff to come.

          Graphic Design
          90%
          Web Design / Nerdy stuff
          75%
          Other Boring Admin Stuff
          45%
          Planning for a Zombie Apocolypse
          100%

          CONTACT PATRICK MERLIHAN

          • Drop files here or
            Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
          • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

           

          Liz Bevan
          Reporter | Photographer
            About Bevan
            519-669-5790 Ext 102

            Liz Bevan is a journalist from Toronto. After working in community newspapers in Alberta and British Columbia, she has made her way home to Ontario. She earned a print journalism degree at Sheridan College in Oakville in 2012 and has since had stories and photographs published across the country in The Globe and Mail, The Edmonton Journal and more.

            She is new to Elmira, but hopes to become a part of the community for a change from the pace of city life.

            Finding a story
            70%
            Writing a story
            85%
            Illustrating a story
            75%
            Glad to be back in Ontario
            100%

            CONTACT LIZ BEVAN

            • Drop files here or
              Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
            • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
            Whitney Neilson
            Reporter | Photographer
              About Neilson
              519-669-5790 Ext 101

              Whitney Neilson is a reporter at the Woolwich Observer in Elmira. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism from St. Thomas University in 2013 and was the news editor of her school paper.

              Her previous reporting gigs took her to Campbellton, New Brunswick, and Collingwood, Ontario. She writes news, business, human interest, and sports stories in Woolwich and Wellesley Townships. You can find her at the market on Saturday or at @WhitneyNeilson on Twitter.

              Snapping Photos
              70%
              Crafting up Words
              95%
              Following a lead
              75%
              Ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte
              100%

              CONTACT Whitney Neilson

              • Drop files here or
                Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
              • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
              Jake Stallard
              Graphic Designer
                About Stallard
                519-669-5790 Ext 109

                Jake Stallard is a perfect fit for the Observer. The day he interviewed for the position the server crashed and files were lost, havoc ran amok, and really bad words were said. He saw first-hand the perils of the newspaper business. Since his employ he’s experienced the joys — and thankfully there’s been way more of those then the other. He likes it that way.

                Jake was born and raised in Kitchener — he’s a local boy. Did all of his schooling in K-town including earning an Advertising Diploma at Conestoga College.

                After college he joined a large office supply conglomerate working 6 years putting together catalogues, in-store promotions and doing too much data configuration gobledygook….yawn! He got tired of the corporate grind. Enter the Observer in the summer of 2013. Jake has been putting that Advertising Diploma into overdrive. He spends most of his day pumping out award-winning ads and editorial layouts — this boy can design!

                His creativity extends outside the office too. Jake likes to slap the bass in a local band, whose name would make most people blush, and plays occasional gigs in and around KW. He likes to record, write music and listen to other fantastic bands perform at clubs. His lovely wife has got to be the best cook around — you should see this guy’s lunches! In the summer he is a full-time baseball dad to his son.

                Graphic Design
                98%
                Editorial Layouts
                85%
                Info Graphic Presentations
                75%
                Playing Tom Sawyer with Geddy Lee
                100%

                CONTACT JAKE STALLARD

                • Drop files here or
                  Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                Joe Merlihan
                Publisher
                  About Merlihan
                  Contact: 519-669-5790 Ext 107

                  Joe Merlihan has been keeping the books in order for two decades. He took charge of advertising sales and all of the fancy paperwork that successful enterprises require to grow and stay in business in the Observer’s infancy. The Observer had people that could write and create but neither of those skills keep a newspaper afloat.

                  University of Waterloo churned out another graduate with an Economics Degree but few jobs available when it was time to enter the workforce. He had a brief stint at Lazy-Boy working the line before that business went south, literally, which had Merlihan pink-slipped. Taking advantage of his unemployment he upgraded his skills with government-paid-for sales training. It must have been fate. Merlihan had acquired the two most important skills for becoming a Publisher and didn’t even know it.

                  Married to his high-school sweetheart, a kid on the way and few prospects for meaningful employment, his kid brother reached out for some help with a new venture. The Observer fresh out of the gates was a work in progress. The community was ready for another voice, but they’ve seen others come and go, they were skeptical. Merlihan put a business plan in motion — the ABC’s — Always be Selling! Book keeping, dealing with official government types, making sure The Observer gets paid are all in a days work. There was a light at the end of the tunnel after each week we published. The rest, as they say, is history.

                  Early on Merlihan developed a reputation for big thinking ideas. He was invited to be a delegate for then Jean Chretien’s Prime Minister’s task force on entrepreneurship. He made his presentation to various Senators and beauracrats, including the “Big M” Frank Mahovlich. Mahovlich was impressed enough with Merlihan’s presentation that he invited himself down to see The Observer in full swing.

                  The big thinking doesn’t stop either. Early in 1996 The Observer adopted a slogan saying “We’ve only just begun.” Two decades later it feels like that slogan is as relevant today as it was when The Observer published its first newspaper. Continually re-inventing, pushing for better, re-thinking how to do business better… we’ve only just begun.

                  Taking/Making Phone Calls
                  70%
                  Doing Boring Admin Stuff
                  90%
                  Surfing The Web
                  85%
                  Head Strategy Ninja
                  95%

                  CONTACT JOE MERLIHAN

                  • Drop files here or
                    Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                  Donna Rudy
                  Sales Manager
                    About Rudy
                    Contact: 519-669-5790 Ext 104

                    Donna Rudy grew up in Elmira, did her schooling here, and continues to work here. She has never been afraid of a little hard work. Her summers were often spent on dairy and pig farms doing chores – real work. One of four siblings, including 2 burly brothers, Donna learned early to fight for things. She brings that determination to the office to ensure that our clients are getting the most out of our services.

                    Donna joined the Observer in 1998 without any previous advertising or sales training. As noted earlier — she’s not afraid of a little hard work.  She quickly became the voice of the Observer to business clients all over Waterloo Region. Quick to strike up a conversation — (Donna has a large  extended family so this comes naturally) — Donna has become the go-to advertising sales person in the Region.

                    Donna is a cowgirl at heart. Her main four-legged love for twelve and a half years was a quarter horse/draft cross named Krash. Krash is gone, but will never be forgotten. Donna continues to get her horse fix by doing chores at the barn where he was boarded.

                    2015 ushered in a new opportunity for Donna. She was selected to design cards for a Canadian stamp company called High Hopes Rubber Stamps. In the same year, she had one of her card designs published in the Summer 2015 edition of Canadian Scrapbooker magazine. This girl has skills! She looks forward to more of her work being published.

                    Donna  lives with her cowboy, Mark, in Drayton. In the summer of 2014 they adopted the world’s cutest dog named Moe. (Patrick Merlihan contests this claim however.)

                    Advertising Selling
                    90%
                    Answering Questions
                    75%
                    Sending Email
                    85%
                    Special Princess Powers
                    100%

                    CONTACT DONNA RUDY

                    • Drop files here or
                      Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                    Steve Kannon
                    Editor
                      About Kannon
                      519-669-5790 Ext 103

                      Steve Kannon has been a newspaper Editor for more than two decades. He holds the top post at the Observer for the past fifteen years. In that time he has mentored upwards of a hundred journalists.

                      Kannon has crafted a winning formula of editorial columnists, cartoonists and journalists over the years. Under his tenure The Observer has earned more industry awards then any other newspaper in Waterloo Region. Some years the awards earned were more than any other newspaper in the province.

                      His own writing and opinions have earned numerous nods at the provincial and federal levels as well. Most recently Kannon won first place in Canada for Best National Editorial as well as a third place for Best Editorial Pages.

                      Writing
                      90%
                      Editing
                      95%
                      Meetings
                      45%
                      Wish it were the Weekend
                      100%

                      CONTACT STEVE KANNON

                      • Drop files here or
                        Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                      • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                      Patrick Merlihan
                      Print | Web Manager
                        About Merlihan
                        519-669-5790 Ext 105

                        Patrick Merlihan has led the design side of The Observer since inception. He has more than two decades of experience on the software and creative side of effective newspaper and advertising design earning provincial and national accolades year-after-year.

                        He has mentored some of the top talent in Canada and recently reunited with his student newspaper Imprint, at the University of Waterloo. In 2015 Merlihan was voted the first outside voting member of the Board of Directors of Imprint. Merlihan found his calling in the newspaper industry at Imprint. His time at Imprint had him fill posts as Photo Editor, Arts Editor, Production Assistant and President of the Board of Directors. The experience was unmatched. It was the groundwork that led to the creation of The Observer in 1996. In fact, the first edition was produced at Imprint.

                        As a life-long resident of Elmira Merlihan launched the Observer in his hometown with a collective group in March of 1996. The first edition was published March 26, 1996 in honour of The Elmira Maple Syrup Festival.  Joe Merlihan joined the paper soon after as the newspaper’s Publisher. A lot happened in between 1996 and today. Merlihan is married to the super beautiful/intellectual woman he met at Imprint, has two kids, is a certified basketball coach, is a Township of Woolwich Councillor and has one of the cutest dogs that ever lived. Life has been busy, but good. There’s only more good stuff to come.

                        Graphic Design
                        90%
                        Web Design / Nerdy stuff
                        75%
                        Other Boring Admin Stuff
                        45%
                        Planning for a Zombie Apocolypse
                        100%

                        CONTACT PATRICK MERLIHAN

                        • Drop files here or
                          Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                        • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

                         

                        Liz Bevan
                        Reporter | Photographer
                          About Bevan
                          519-669-5790 Ext 102

                          Liz Bevan is a journalist from Toronto. After working in community newspapers in Alberta and British Columbia, she has made her way home to Ontario. She earned a print journalism degree at Sheridan College in Oakville in 2012 and has since had stories and photographs published across the country in The Globe and Mail, The Edmonton Journal and more.

                          She is new to Elmira, but hopes to become a part of the community for a change from the pace of city life.

                          Finding a story
                          70%
                          Writing a story
                          85%
                          Illustrating a story
                          75%
                          Glad to be back in Ontario
                          100%

                          CONTACT LIZ BEVAN

                          • Drop files here or
                            Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                          • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                          Whitney Neilson
                          Reporter | Photographer
                            About Neilson
                            519-669-5790 Ext 101

                            Whitney Neilson is a reporter at the Woolwich Observer in Elmira. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism from St. Thomas University in 2013 and was the news editor of her school paper.

                            Her previous reporting gigs took her to Campbellton, New Brunswick, and Collingwood, Ontario. She writes news, business, human interest, and sports stories in Woolwich and Wellesley Townships. You can find her at the market on Saturday or at @WhitneyNeilson on Twitter.

                            Snapping Photos
                            70%
                            Crafting up Words
                            95%
                            Following a lead
                            75%
                            Ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte
                            100%

                            CONTACT Whitney Neilson

                            • Drop files here or
                              Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                            • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
                            Jake Stallard
                            Graphic Designer
                              About Stallard
                              519-669-5790 Ext 109

                              Jake Stallard is a perfect fit for the Observer. The day he interviewed for the position the server crashed and files were lost, havoc ran amok, and really bad words were said. He saw first-hand the perils of the newspaper business. Since his employ he’s experienced the joys — and thankfully there’s been way more of those then the other. He likes it that way.

                              Jake was born and raised in Kitchener — he’s a local boy. Did all of his schooling in K-town including earning an Advertising Diploma at Conestoga College.

                              After college he joined a large office supply conglomerate working 6 years putting together catalogues, in-store promotions and doing too much data configuration gobledygook….yawn! He got tired of the corporate grind. Enter the Observer in the summer of 2013. Jake has been putting that Advertising Diploma into overdrive. He spends most of his day pumping out award-winning ads and editorial layouts — this boy can design!

                              His creativity extends outside the office too. Jake likes to slap the bass in a local band, whose name would make most people blush, and plays occasional gigs in and around KW. He likes to record, write music and listen to other fantastic bands perform at clubs. His lovely wife has got to be the best cook around — you should see this guy’s lunches! In the summer he is a full-time baseball dad to his son.

                              Graphic Design
                              98%
                              Editorial Layouts
                              85%
                              Info Graphic Presentations
                              75%
                              Playing Tom Sawyer with Geddy Lee
                              100%

                              CONTACT JAKE STALLARD

                              • Drop files here or
                                Accepted file types: jpg, tif, gif, png, pdf, doc, txt.
                              • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.