Archive for Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Opinion: A swan song

August 7, 2002

When I was in high school, I was in "The Sound of Music." No, I wasn't the elegant Captain Von Trapp or the boyish teen idol Rolf. I was some random Nazi with perhaps one line. Mostly, I hung out with the roadies, building sets and pretending to be rock stars after shows by taking turns on stage lip synching to Iron Maiden while another roadie ran the spotlights.

Given my propensity for heavy metal in the days of my youth when I was taught what it meant to be a man (Zeppelin reference), it seems strange to admit my favorite song in that show was "So Long, Farewell." You know the song; each cute little Von Trapp child has a little song and dance at the big gala before they go to bed (and again when they make a break for it to Austria). So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen goodbye. It just opened my eyes that there are so many ways to say some things. Even goodbye.

So today I bid adieu, to you, and you and you. I've accepted an offer to be the publisher for the Olathe News and this is my last week at the Chieftain/Sentinel. In the more than two years that I've been here, I've learned more about community journalism than in the prior 10 years that I'd been in the business. In the spirit and tradition of employees exiting stage left (Rush reference), I'd like to recognize a few people who made my stay here more pleasant.

Jeff Harrington, Charlene Biles and the Chamber were so welcoming. Vickey and Carla at the Basehor Library are great, too. They all work hard to make this community a better place. Because of them, it is. Mary Ann Allen and Genevieve Donahue chewed me out over the phone because the paper wasn't meeting their expectations. I want to thank them for making us better. I hope you keep the paper on its toes. Tom and Pat Berning, J.R. Nolting and David Hoppes at Mutual Savings have been loyal advertisers. Thank you for your support of community journalism. Without you, there wouldn't be a hometown paper.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Simons family, owners of this paper. They are the nicest people for whom I have ever worked. Dolph, Dolph and Dan have been so good to me professionally, but also to my family. Thank you for all you have done for us.

And to the team here at the Chieftain and Sentinel: your work ethic is unmatched. Kevin, you've exceeded my expectations. Continue to find new ways to make yourself better. You've made me proud. Scott, your ability to make a council meeting exciting is inspirational. Josh, you care more about getting better than anyone I've worked with. I know you'll make it big someday. Matt, I identify with you not just because we've both lived in Colorado. There's a bright road ahead of you. Teresa Thompson and Annette Hess, ebony and ivory, have made coming to work fun. Thanks for helping me remember how important it is to have fun in the face of stress. I was so happy Brandi Byram took a chance by leaving Chicago to join us. I hope you feel it was the right move. Susan, Sandy and D'Erin keep the doors open on this place. They deserve more credit (and money probably) than they get. Thank you all.

The sun has gone to bed and so must I. Thank you for two great years.

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