Utica, NY (WIBX) - What began as a free monthly newspaper nearly ten years ago, has recently been designated an official newspaper by the Library of Congress.

The Utica Phoenix has been awarded two ISSN registration numbers, identifying the paper both online and in print.

In addition, the paid weekly paper now qualifies to serve the community as an official publication of record for the county's towns.

Both announcements come after September's New York Press Association's meeting, where the Phoenix was accepted as its newest member.

Cassandra Harris-Lockwood is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for the Phoenix. She says her paper provides something for everyone in the city of Utica.

"The Phoenix is a homegrown publication," Harris-Lockwood said. "We focus on in-depth stories that mainstream media often does ignore. We give attention to innate integrity of the individual, and tell stories that make a difference."

The Phoenix began in October 2002, as a free monthly paper. In August 2010, it went online and four months later, became a paid weekly newspaper.

According to Harris-Lockwood, all revenues made through advertising and sales of the paper help to support local communities, along with many programs operated by For The Good, a nonprofit organization in Utica that assists low-income families overcome poverty.