I hope it’s also been a fun read, sometimes for its little quirks. I don’t think I’ve been to an Andover party in 20 years when someone hasn’t talked to me about the police log, which often includes some unusual incidents. My personal favorite came from a simple animal-complaint call. The dispatcher’s Hemingway-esque notation read, “Bat out of house. Husband out of closet.”
I believe that community approach will continue. After I made the decision to leave the paper, a new publisher, Karen Andreas, was named. She has tapped my replacement, Sonya Vartabedian. They are great community news people and I know I’m leaving the Townsman in the capable hands of people who care. Karen has already put plans in motion to improve the property and Sonya joined me Sunday at the Run for the Troops to get a head start on learning more about the town.
As for me, I’ll be working for Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm on Route 133 in Andover. It’s a tremendous nonprofit that uses horses to help make breakthroughs with people with special needs, most often children. It is expanding to offer its services to cancer patients, veterans returning with post traumatic stress, elders with memory issues and other groups. They do tremendous work there, but have never had anyone there who could focus on telling their story. That’s what I’ll do, as its first marketing director.
Community journalism, done right, is a calling, something to feel good about and to throw yourself into. I feel passionate about my new gig, too, and will wake up every day feeling proud I’m involved in something that makes a difference. I’ll also be able to remain in the area, working just down Route 133 from where my middle child will go to preschool next September. And I’ll have a great view of the horse farm.
To use the easy, horse-related visual: this isn’t me riding off into the sunset. I’m just moseying down the road.
For all the years, and all the memories, thank you. It’s been a privilege and a joy.