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The New Falcon Herald
 
If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
– Anne Bradstreet  
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  Volume No. 11 Issue No. 4 April 2014  

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Face to Face in Falcon
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Angie Morlan
  THE NFH – 10 years and counting
  Publisher seized an opportunity
  By Angie Morlan
  Photos by Angie Morlan

   Michelle Barrette has been the owner/publisher of The New Falcon Herald for 10 years. Little did she know after mailing one newsletter to the homeowners in Falcon that the newsletter would quickly turn into something a bit larger.
   
   Luckily, Barrette’s life experiences and background in marketing helped her transition from a newsletter to a newspaper in a matter of weeks. The area was hungry for a community newspaper in Falcon.
   
   Barrette grew up in Lincoln, Neb. At age 13, she moved to Denver, Colo., with her mom and younger sister; after her parents divorced. “My mom’s sister lived in Denver,” she said. After a few weeks, Barrette’s mom found a job as a credit manager for the Fruehauf Trailer Corp.
   
   Barrette graduated from Mapleton High School in Denver, which has since closed, in 1980 and attended the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. “My intentions were to be a school teacher, but I didn’t end up graduating from there,” she said. “I ended up going to Aims College, also in Greeley, and got a business degree.”
   
   During her freshman year of college, Barrette met her husband, John. “We both lived in the same dorm. I don’t remember the first time we met, but I was very shy,” she said. The romance began during a spontaneous dance party in the hallway of their dormitory. “John had his speakers in the hall, and everyone had come out,” she said. “I did not really want to go down the hall (to use the restroom); and he said, ‘Would you like dance?’ I didn’t want to but I said, ‘what the hey.’” They dated all through college and married Nov. 3, 1984.
   
   After they graduated from college, Barrette said they didn’t know where they wanted to live. “It was just kind of a race to whoever got the first job, and that’s where we were going to move to,” she said. “He graduated first, and he got a job with Honeywell in Colorado Springs.”
   
   Barrette found a job as a registrar for Management Development Foundation – a company that provided national technology seminars. She worked there five years and then became the marketing director. In 1988, their first daughter, Megan, was born. “I loved, loved that job,” Barrette said. “But I did not want to leave Megan at home.”
   
   Two months after Barrette quit her job to stay home with the new baby, John Barrette lost his job at Honeywell. They moved to California, seeking technology-related opportunities that existed near the San Francisco Bay area. “Both of us with no job and a new baby,” she said. “But John made one phone call and got a job with a company in the Silicon Valley.” They lived in Sunnyvale, Calif., 18 months before John Barrette’s employer in Silicon Valley transferred him to the office in the Denver Tech Center.
   
   “All of our family was in Colorado,” she said. “We just wanted to get back to Colorado.”
   
   Their second daughter, Jill, was born as they were house hunting in Colorado. They settled in Parker; and, in 1993, moved to Castle Rock, where they welcomed a third daughter – Laura.
   
   For 12 years, Barrette stayed at home with her girls. “I stayed home and raised all my girls,” she said. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just loved every minute of it.”
   
   All three girls attended college: Megan graduated and is now married. Jill is about to graduate, and Laura is a junior. “They are each others’ best friends,” Barrette said.
   
   “I know people don’t believe it, but they have never given us an ounce of trouble. They are just good girls.”
   
   In 2002, they made one last move to Monument, Colo. John Barrette continued his commute to Denver, and Michelle decided she was ready to go back to work. “I was looking for an opportunity where I could still be home in the morning when my girls went to school; and work while they were at school and then be home when they got home,” she said. For a couple years, Barrette sold Mikasa dinnerware in the Castle Rock outlet mall.
   
   In 2003, Barrette and her husband decided to go into business for themselves. John Barrette started his own windshield repair business in Falcon.
   
   After talking with a friend who created newsletters for a neighborhood in Castle Rock, Michelle Barrette decided she would try something similar. “I just called my girlfriend in Castle Rock and asked her if she had any ideas of bringing her newsletter to Monument,” she said. “It was her idea, and I didn’t want to do it if she was already planning it.” But Barrette’s friend planned on staying in the Castle Rock area, and encouraged her to start her own newsletter. After attending a BNI (Business Networking International) meeting in Monument, Barrette’s first newsletter, the Woodmoor Monthly, took off. “I went to one business meeting, and I got four ads at that one meeting,” she said.
   
   In 2004, Barrette added the Glen Eagle Monthly; and, in 2008, the Jackson Creek Monthly. Each newsletter contains activities and events relevant to each neighborhood or area. When it comes to the newsletters, Barrette is a one-woman show. “It’s just me. I sell the ads. I design the ads, and I get the information of what’s going on in the community,” she said. “I lay out the paper. I send it to the printer. I get it back and take it to the post office.” Barrette said she hopes to add a fourth newsletter in the North Gate area at the beginning of 2014.
   
   A year after starting her first newsletter, Barrette met Marylou Doehrman Bride, the Monument Chamber of Commerce executive director at the time and a reporter for the Colorado Springs Business Journal. Doehrman Bride suggested Barrette start a newsletter in the Falcon area; however, Barrette said (emphasizing the “you part”), “Yes. You should start one out there.”
   
   Doehrman Bride eventually persuaded Barrette to partner with her. In December 2004, the two women put together Falcon’s first newsletter. “I clicked with Marylou from the get-go,” she said. “She is very contagious.”
   
   As the sole advertiser, Frank Patton, owner of Frankie’s Too, agreed to promote his pending opening in Falcon in the newsletter. Doehrman Bride wrote a couple news stories related to Falcon, and the newsletter was mailed to residents in the 80831 zip code area.
   
   “The phone started ringing off the hook as soon as it hit mailboxes, with people saying they wanted to advertise,” Barrette said. She credits the news stories and Falcon’s innovative business owners for the hair-triggering transition from newsletter to newspaper. “I don’t remember if it was eight or 12 pages,” Barrette said. “But it was a newspaper by month two.”
   
   Ten years later, more than 5, 000 copies of The New Falcon Herald are printed each month, and Barrette said the website receives more than 20,000 hits a month. “It has become a real resource for local information,” she said. “We are adding a real value to our community and a real value to our advertiser.
   
   “I’ve learned you must surround yourself with people you want to work with. And I am also so grateful to the Falcon and area residents for all their support.”


 
  

Michelle Barrette
 

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