Well, that time has arrived. This is my last week at Nashoba Publishing — which makes me very sad.
I’m leaving the newspaper because I’m getting married in the spring — which makes me very excited and happy.
But I’m moving 2,900 miles across the country to California — which makes me very happy, sad, excited, overwhelmed, ecstatic, crushed, thrilled and depressed.
Did I mention that I was on an emotional rollercoaster?
I think back to when I first came to Nashoba Publishing. It was a Saturday morning in March; March 30, to be exact. And the reason I can remember the day is because my very first assignment here at the paper was to cover Harvard’s Annual Town Meeting.
What a way to be introduced to one of the new communities I was going to be covering — a nine-hour town meeting. It was very uncomfortable sitting in the bleachers for all that time and it was an interesting way to get to know one of the towns I was trying to build a rapport with.
Needless to say, I made it through that meeting. I also had my first three, or four, or however many stories from that meeting published in the Harvard Hillside.
Over the past eight months, I have met some interesting people in Ayer, Devens, Harvard and Shirley; some perhaps more interesting than others.
I enjoyed working with the selectmen and town administrators in Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, the members of the Devens Committee, the Ayer Board of Health and various other boards and committees that I’ve come to know during my time here.
The Ayer Police and Fire departments have been outstanding in showing me how things work in town.
A special thanks to police Chief William Murray and fire Chief Robert Pedrazzi for always being available to me whenever I called or popped into their stations.
One of the best days I ever had was when Ayer Fire Lt. Timothy Shea had me put on his gear, mask and air tank included, and walk around the station. Boy, that equipment is heavy! I’ve always respected public safety employees, but I have a new level of respect after spending a day with the Ayer Fire Department and a night with Ayer police Officer Kellie Barhight.
Harvard Selectman Chairman Leo Blair delivers some of the best quotes and quite a few of them were adapted into some pretty catchy headlines.
Come on as if you all didn’t pick up the paper when Leo said he thought the old Hapgood Library would be a “great place for a bar” or that he wanted JBOS meetings to be spontaneous, like sex.
I don’t think anyone would expect me not to mention the Harvard School Committee.
Please don’t take it personally that I wrote so many stories about the lack of communication within the committee and its Open Meeting Law violations. I was just doing my job.
Chairman Stu Sklar, Vice Chairman Virginia Justicz and members Willie Wickman, Keith Cheveralls and Patty Wenger know how to create controversy. That’s not meant to be mean-spirited, it’s just well sometimes the best stuff a journalist can cover.
I can’t forget my time working with MassDevelopment and members of the U.S. Army. A very special thanks to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steven Nott for all the time he’s given me, even though he’s a New York Rangers fan. Sorry, colonel my Boston Bruins are topping the East and looking back at your Rangers.
I honestly couldn’t have been successful during my short tenure here without the support of the town officials and residents, but also the support I had in the newsroom itself.
Senior Staff Writer Don Eriksson taught me the ropes in the newsroom and was always willing to give me advice on how to approach a source or just listen to me babble about work, life and everything in between.
Copy Editor Bill Conlon has more humor in him than most people get to see, because he works hard behind the scenes to ensure the writers look like we know what we’re doing.
I have never worked with a photographer like John Love. The passion he has for his pictures, the newspapers and the communities he photographs is amazing. He truly is the best photographer I have ever worked with. Nashoba Publishing is very lucky to have him.
When I first came to this area, I was used to working on a newspaper that did more features than news stories and Editor Kate Walsh was patient with me as I made the transition into my new role. Her dedication to the communities, her staff and the newspaper itself speaks volumes.
She challenged me each and every week, day and night in the newsroom and honestly I thank her for that. The way Kate pushed me made me a better journalist.
As I get set to make the long drive across the United States, there are a few things I’m going to miss about New England. My family and friends, my colleagues and editor, the people in the community that I have formed great relationships with and of course the Boston Bruins, Celtics and Red Sox — thank goodness my fiancé already has Direct TV so I can still watch all my favorite sports teams.
One thing I won’t miss, at least not right away, is the cold, snowy New England winter — especially after the nasty ice storm we had last weekend.
Thank you to everyone at Nashoba Publishing and in the communities that I’ve had the chance to meet. It truly has been an honor to serve as your “town reporter.”
Happy holidays to all of you and your families.