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  • A custom-made greeting card, one of many drawn by students, faculty and alums of the Center for Cartoon Studies at its open house in White River Junction on Friday. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy)

    A custom-made greeting card, one of many drawn by students, faculty and alums of the Center for Cartoon Studies at its open house in White River Junction on Friday. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy)

  • Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)

    Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)

  • Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)

    Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)

  • A custom-made greeting card, one of many drawn by students, faculty and alums of the Center for Cartoon Studies at its open house in White River Junction on Friday. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy)
  • Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)
  • Students from the Center for Cartoon Studies create customized greeting cards in the so-called Sketch Factory during a First Friday open house at the school last week. (Center for Cartoon Studies - April Malig)

Welcome to the new Valley News website. My name is Maggie, and I’ll be your web editor.

What does that mean — “web editor”? Who knows! We’re still figuring out this “Internet” business as we go along, but here’s the vision: In addition to managing our online content in much the same way our editors manage our print edition, I’ll report an Upper Valley blog, the birth of which you’re witnessing right here in this debut post. (In an email a few weeks ago to our publisher, Mark Travis, I wrote that blog posts would be “in search of the curious and quirky” and “find new angles to old stories,” so I suppose I should do some of that.)

In preparation for the new gig, I’ve been equipped with a fancy iPhone for picture-taking and video-making. The iPhone is a wonderfully dynamic and versatile tool which I immediately forgot at my apartment en route to my first blog escapade: Visiting a First Friday open house celebration at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction.

I also arrived with three wrinkled dollar bills in my pocket — two bucks short of the $5 charge for the center’s so-called Sketch Factory, in which guests could choose from a series of characters to be drawn onto greeting cards by tables of elf-evoking cartoon school students.

No iPhone, no cash. It was looking pretty grim, until — get this — one of the students pulled $2 out of his wallet for me to put toward my greeting card, and another, who had a camera, graciously agreed to send me some of her photos after the fact. Cartoon Christmas miracles!

Since arriving in the Upper Valley about a year ago, I’ve written about the Center a couple times: I profiled director and co-founder Michelle Ollie in a piece about women leaders in White River Junction in August, and filed a light bright a few days earlier about the school moving more than 10,000 zines, graphic novels and other books into its new Schulz Library in the old Post Office building.

Friday night’s open house served as the new library’s public premiere, and more than 350 people showed up, according to the school’s tallies. It coincided with an ongoing fundraising push by the school, which was founded as a nonprofit in 2004 and boasts an enrollment of about 50 full-time students.

At the Sketch Factory on Friday, alumnus Jesse Mead and student Tom O’Brien collaborated to prepare for me not one, but two greeting cards, both featuring a Super Santa and Cartoon Elf. After they were done, I asked them what they wanted to see out of an Upper Valley blog. Their answers, in no particular order:

Mead: More pictures! Kittens! People like looking at stuff.

O’Brien: Less reporting. (More) restaurant reviews. I’m always looking for new places to eat since I’m new to the area.

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O’Brien: Cartoons are always good. I might be a little bit biased on that.

Mead: Only the funny ones. No one wants to read the political ones.

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Mead: Shorter paragraphs. Did I say kittens? That’s what’s in right now.

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So, we’ll see what we can do about that.

Elsewhere in White River on Friday, Tuckerbox barista Celeste Pfeiffer echoed several other readers when she asked “Where are the Classifieds?!” (They’re listed under the “Marketplace” dropdown in the dark green navigation bar above.) And a few storefronts down, gallery owner Stacy Hopkins — who opened Scavenger Gallery on South Main Street in May and was busy hosting a First Friday artist bazaar — said she’d like to see the website “highlighting places that people don’t know about” and offering information on events around the Valley.

What do you want to see? Email me at mcassidy@vnews.com. Questions, thoughts, concerns and tips are welcome and encouraged.

See you in the blogosphere.

Maggie Cassidy is the Valley News web editor.