Speaking Personally

It’s Good to be Back
There’s always something going on in Howell County if you know where to look. When my husband and I chose to make our home in the Ozarks five years ago, one of the biggest reasons why was how peaceful it seemed here compared to St. Louis. As the saying goes: in the city you ignore sirens and worry over the gunshots. In the country it’s the opposite, and that’s the way we like it. This is why, when we took over the newspaper in 2019, it was very pleasantly surprising to discover how much intrigue and news there really is to track here. 
Over the last six weeks, I stepped outside of that stream of information and connection to give birth and take time with our newborn son, Joseph. Regular readers will have noticed that the newspaper did not suspend publication during that time, and the reason we were able to keep publishing issues was thanks entirely to certain pillars of the community who stepped up and helped to continue to bring the news to our readers. Without these people, the stream of information would have continued almost entirely unrecorded. 
The first word of thanks must be extended to the incomparable Lou Wehmer, who filled in as a guest reporter and writer. Watching him work and reading his articles was, honestly, very humbling. His work made me remember how much I still have to learn and gave new heights to my goals of professionalism and integrity. Lou is both well known to all and universally liked, and without him Howell County News would have been a pale excuse for a newspaper while I was gone. 
Next, Kim Rich, the former publisher, stepped in and offered her unique expertise at a critical time during my absence. Her consummate familiarity with the news industry would have been impossible to replace, and I am grateful she was willing to help my staff to navigate precarious situations when I was unavailable. 
Perhaps the person who worked the hardest to help me was Ann Hines. Ann served as copy editor during my absence to collect and edit every single piece of writing that appeared on newsprint while I was gone. Her devotion to the pursuit of perfection was inspiring. Her patience with my process must have been a labor of love. Without her superlative organizational skills, my time to care for our new baby simply would not have been possible, and for that precious time I will be forever grateful.
The news office staff and freelancers each stepped up and took more responsibility to keep the home fires burning. Thanks to Marsha Asberry, Sarah Hines, Thom Hoglen, Everett Merritt, and David Hines for working harder than ever over the last month. 
Finally, my husband Ron, the co-owner and art director of this publication, did not take any time off. When our new son was three days old, Ron put together a special graduation issue while simultaneously juggling the rigors of our new family of five, increased time at the office to pick up my slack, and our farm chores. I cannot write a note of thanks without expressing how absolutely indispensable Ron is to the success of the newspaper every week. Ron works harder than anyone I have ever met, and I am daily grateful to be his wife. 
Finally, to my readers, thank you for your touching support. So many of you have stopped by the office or sent gifts to congratulate us on the new arrival. After the isolation of my maternity leave, it was a balm to return to so many well wishes from the community. 
Now, I’m back at the helm, and baby Joseph is along for the ride. It’s good to be back.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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