VINALHAVEN — The Wind is more than just a newspaper, said former editor Susan Radley.

“The Wind is as much a part of the island’s way of life as is swimming in the quarries, eating lobster, and sitting in line waiting to catch the next ferry,” Radley said.

This weekly Vinalhaven newspaper has been in circulation since 1974, and is still operating out of Union Church where it began as a church-affiliated newsletter.

“The paper has changed a lot in its 45 plus years of publication,” Radley said. It used to be one page and was mimeographed at the church.

Now the paper is about 20 pages, and is scanned and emailed to the copy shop for printing.

While Radley said the paper is mainly ads, the team of volunteers that creates The Wind also tries to incorporate additional content. “We try to make the paper interesting for everyone,” she said.

This may include trivia, historical newspaper clippings, word searches and puzzles, obituaries and birth announcements and senior profiles. The Wind also publishes photos of local events and writings from Vinalhaven High School classes, along with articles and selections from other sources.

Radley said an “Aging in Place” poll indicated 80 percent of islanders got information about local events and programs from The Wind.

The Wind is free to all islanders, and is available online each week since spring 2020. This makes the advertising income even more important, Radley said. “We don’t make money on subscriptions and must depend on business ads and donations,” she said.

The Wind is also available in a yearly subscription through the mail. The price for this subscription was $50, but starting in March the price will increase to $55.

Radley said this is the first price increase in years.

The Wind is operated by a small group of volunteers. While Radley said none of them had any background in journalism, they all enjoy the work they do. “It’s a lot of fun. Lots of laughter,” she said.

Radley joined The Wind in 2004 as the editor. She was born on Vinalhaven, then lived on the mainland for a few years. “I’m happy to be back here,” she said.

Her children and grandchildren also live on the island.

Radley currently takes care of advertising and billing with friend Cynthia Dyer. Torry Pratt is the editor now. “She’s more organized,” Radley said.

All material is submitted to The Wind by 9 p.m. Monday nights by email. Then a team of six volunteers gets together Tuesday mornings at Union Church to assemble the paper.

“We enjoy getting together, sharing stories and laughing together,” Radley said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Pratt always comes prepared, Radley said. She will have typed up anything new for the paper that week before they arrive.

Radley and Dyer then measure each advertisement and keep track of the cost and how long the ad will run.

Two other volunteers, Pam Johnson and Amy Calkins, then arrange the advertisements by hand on 11-by-18 inch papers. “We do a cut-and-paste technique,” Radley said.

Before the pandemic, once the newspaper was assembled, Radley used to take it to the ferry and find a volunteer to take it to the mainland. “We had some regulars,” she said. Once the ferry arrived in Rockland, someone from the printing company would be waiting to receive the final product.

Now, Radley said, they use the scanner at the Vinalhaven Town Office and email it to the printer.

The Wind copies are then sent back to the island on Thursdays, and a group of local women label and stamp the subscriptions by hand.

Then Hugh and Sue Martin take the extra copies around town and distribute them to local businesses, the post office and the ferry terminal. The Martins also monitor those locations during the rest of the week and refill The Wind copies if any businesses run out.

“We enjoy doing it the way we do,” Radley said.

Volunteers put together The Wind, Vinalhaven’s weekly newspaper, at Union Church.

Putting labels and stamps on Vinalhaven’s weekly newspaper, The Wind.