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Behind the scenes of Ask Joan: Why I’m trying so hard to answer your questions

Ask Joan large header

Hopefully, many readers of our family of blogs are familiar with my Only in York County blog, home to features on a variety of topics about life in our area.

As I say on the blog’s intro, I’m Joan, I’m a lifelong Yorker, and I love it here. I get to blog about weird York County foods like scrapple and butcher bologna, fun things we say – I call them Yorkisms – and memories of stores and restaurants of the past. (Some of those are turned into a column called “Do you remember?” that runs each Sunday in our Your News section, section Y of the York Sunday News.)

But I also get to write another column that you might be familiar with: Ask Joan. This appears Sundays as well, almost always in our Local section, section C, and is pulled from material that first appears on my blog each Monday. (Check out the archive here.) It’s even been the subject of a fun ad campaign; you might have seen me throughout your paper and some of our other publications.

Well, that’s neat, but do you wonder how I got into this whole “answer girl” role?

Well, in part, it’s because our goal here at the YDR/SN is to meet our readers’ needs. And the fact is, people have, for decades, called “the paper” for answers to all sorts of questions. There aren’t many editors here who don’t have a story about that 2 a.m. phone call to settle a bar bet (yes, I’ve fielded my share) or an exasperated message from someone who has no idea on what day they put out the trash in their new home (yep, had that too). Then there was the email on what to feed a friend’s pet cockatiel (still not kidding).

We knew the need was there. For years, we’ve addressed those questions as they’ve come to our various departments, and we have done our best to help when we can. But we never sought out those questions. I mean, really, do we WANT people calling us about the original owner of some scrap of paper from the 1970s or emailing us about where to get their shredding done?

The answer is: YES. Resoundingly yes. We want to be the No. 1 source for news and information about York County, and that means all questions, large and small, are welcome. You can “Ask Joan” here, or you can also find the form on every page of the Only in York County blog.

I’m open to hearing from readers – via email (joan@joanconcilio.com) and, yes, when you run into me in the grocery store. You’ll be able to recognize me by my hair and glasses – or so I’m told. And I’m friendly – so say hello!

But to best help me help you, please do submit your “Ask Joan” questions. How I manage all those questions and, eventually, try to find answers will be a subject of a future post. Until then, though, if you’ve always wondered something? Well, ask me. I’m here to help.