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A good friend told me she went to pick up the Journal last week and froze. Here on her regular newsstand was an imposter, someone was trying to steal our name and good will, not to mention our readers. She was not about to patronize a new ruthless, sleazy competitor -- except she couldn't find the real Journal. Finally, she gave in to curiosity and slipped the paper from the rack.

Yes, we've had a makeover, hopefully not extreme. Our new look even made some of the local blogs. Several posters (do we call them that?) lamented the "name change." One warned that such change comes "when an organization is addressing a deficiency."

Relax. No name change. The company (later corporation) has always been North Coast Journal Inc., with stock owned entirely by two people, me and Carolyn Fernandez.

The newspaper itself is the North Coast Journal of Politics, People & Art and our nickname, "The Journal." Our website, which you'll be hearing a lot more about soon, is www.northcoastjournal.com. (Not yet, techies. Soon.)

Let me address another shocking development in this week's paper you hold in your hands: No Dandy! ("OMG!") This is temporary, I promise. Hank is taking two weeks off for paternity leave. This week's paper -- our annual Summer Fun issue -- was very full anyway. The following two weeks we will have mystery Dandy imposters -- Warning! Warning! -- and then the real Dandy will be back.

About the makeover: We have in house the most talented group of graphic designers lead by art director/owner Carolyn Fernandez and production chief Linda Schwend. Graphic designers Holly Harvey and Lynn Jones contributed ideas and critiques from the concept stage forward and Holly had the very big job translating the new design onto the page.

I also want to thank and acknowledge McKinleyville graphic designer Rose Welsh who was responsible for the original logo and graphic design in 1990. Readers may recall that Rose was our "third partner" in the early days of this business venture, leaving for motherhood duties. She helped us select the type fonts and treatment for our new logo "thejournal." I take full responsibility for the choice of the second typeface -- "of politics, people & art." I wanted something whimsical and well, it's called "they're coming to take me away." (Yes, that's an actual name of a font and some say occasionally my state of mind.)

Carolyn reminded me that this is not our first makeover. We've changed headline fonts and even body copy several times in the past. And we did a substantial refresh to our graphic look on Sept. 3, 1998, the day we converted from a monthly publication to a weekly schedule.

Let me know what you think.

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