About a week before my 24th birthday, I got a phone call from Dave Bonner, offering me a position at my hometown newspaper. I had just returned from a seven-month stint abroad, and I wasn’t …
About a week before my 24th birthday, I got a phone call from Dave Bonner, offering me a position at my hometown newspaper. I had just returned from a seven-month stint abroad, and I wasn’t quite sure what direction my life would take.
I took the job. That was more than a dozen years ago, when I was fresh out of college and fancied being able to fit everything I owned into a Saab, ready for the next adventure.
But my adventure didn’t involve a cross-country trip to a new city. Instead, I saw a familiar place in new ways.
I rented a cute apartment above my favorite coffee shop, then later moved around the corner to live above the movie theater. I covered the Powell City Council and got to know local leaders. I made tough decisions as an editor that kept me up at night.
Eventually, I started writing about Park County School District 1 and walked the hallways of my old high school shortly before it was torn down. I attended more than 100 school board meetings, and I came to truly appreciate our local schools, students, leaders and staff.
For several years, I handled obituaries and met people while their worlds were falling apart. I helped grieving families write the final words of their loved one’s story.
While I have shared moments of sorrow with Powellites, I’ve also been blessed to share in their joys. That included meeting tiny new babies who arrived on New Year’s Day … or a few days later. It always amazed me how parents were willing to share their child’s first moments with me, a journalist they didn’t know.
In telling stories about people’s lives — the joyous beginnings, the tragic ends and all the milestones in the middle — I fell in love with community journalism all over again, and started to appreciate my hometown in new ways. Rather than seeing Powell or Wyoming as a place to leave, it became the community where I chose to live.
Not only did I discover where I wanted to be, but more importantly, the one I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. In an unexpected blessing, I met my husband in the newsroom where we both worked. We got married in 2014 and later bought a lovely home — much more spacious than a Saab — and planted roots in the place where we both grew up. A couple of years ago, we welcomed our baby boy, who is adorably sweet and brings true joy to our lives.
Over the past two and a half years, I have felt torn between a community newspaper that I deeply care about and this darling child I love more than I thought possible. This past spring, when working exclusively at home, the challenges as a working parent became even more pronounced. My husband and I had recognized for a while we needed a change in our jobs, and 2020 emphasized that fact.
Since CJ and I both worked at the newspaper, we’ve had a hard time getting away. There’s always the next edition, always a looming deadline, always another story to write. While I love writing about this community — especially our exceptional school district — I longed for a lifestyle that wasn’t so tied to the newspaper’s publication schedule.
I also have come to believe what everyone says about kids: They grow up so fast. It is a truth I see every day in my baby, who is now a rambunctious toddler and will be a kindergartner before we know it.
So while the decision involved a lot of prayer and some heartache, it was clear: I’d like to be at home more with my family and not distracted by the next deadline.
I will miss writing regularly for the newspaper, but I hope to still contribute an occasional column or article. This also isn’t the first time I’ve written a farewell column for the Tribune. I initially started working at the paper in early 2003 as a senior at PHS. When I left for adventures in my late teens and early 20s, the Tribune graciously welcomed me whenever I returned home, whether for two months or 12 years.
As I leave this time, I am pursuing what I’ve found to be the most challenging yet rewarding adventure: parenthood. It is one I don’t want to miss.