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New opportunities, new frontiers

Friday, December 23, 2011

There is never a good time for good-bye, but for me that time has come. After nearly three and a half years with The Tribune, it is time for me to move on to bigger and better things.

Effective today, my time as a reporter, photographer, and assistant editor for The Tribune will end. My time with The Tribune has been full of opportunity -- chances to see things I never thought I would, to meet people I never imagined and to accomplish things I never imagined.

While working for The Tribune I have been very fortunate to cover events ranging community dinners to presidential visits. The highlight of my time is most likely traveling to Joplin, Mo., on May 29 to cover the remarks made by U.S. President Barack Obama. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have the opportunity to be in such close proximity to a U.S. President. I've had the opportunity to meet with various local, state, and national politicians and a host of others including Luke Bryan and George Brett.

I have had the opportunity to write about a vast range of topics -- stories relating to community events and local achievements. As much as I did enjoy it I also wrote about some not-so-pleasant topics, such as tragic vehicle accidents and various court proceedings.

I think my favorite story that I ever wrote just fell into my lap on Friday morning. I was the only one in the newsroom when I heard over the scanner that a car had run off the road and overturned in a creek. What I found the most amazing was the individuals who went in to save the little girl who was trapped underwater, still in her car seat. It was such an amazing story that it nearly wrote itself. I was a tragic event that showcased local heroes and the best part was that the little girl was just fine.

For the lion's share of my time with The Tribune I focused on the goings on within the Fort Scott city government. I worked with three different mayors and two city managers. My interest in city leadership was expanded and my abilities to learn the workings of a city government were challenged. Recently I began covering the local school districts in the county, and in just a few short months, I learned a great deal about the behind-the-scenes workings of a school district.

Quite possibly, the most important thing I learned in the last three and a half years is just how important a newspaper is to a community. In a tough economy and the days of instant news at your fingertips, nothing can replace the feeling of holding the newspaper and having the ink rub off on your fingers. I have finally realized why my father reads the newspaper every day, sometimes more than once a day.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had in Fort Scott. I was fortunate enough to be named assistant editor in November 2010. Also I was honored as receiving four Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence for my writing, photography, and page design.

Fort Scott has been a large part of my life for the last three and a half years and I will never forget my time here. There are good people in Fort Scott and a lot of people who are working extremely hard to make it a better place. I hope and pray their efforts pay off.

I tried to take advantage of every opportunity that came across my path and now it is time for me to take advantage of a new opportunity.

After today, I will take a week off to spend some much needed time with my wife and beautiful new daughter. Then after the first of the year I will start my new job as a senior coordinator for the KU Medical Center's Area Health Education Center.

Thank you to everyone in the community with whom I've interacted.

I'm not ever going to try to name names because there isn't enough room in the newspaper to do so.

You have all impacted my life and I am a better person for it.



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Michael Pommier
The Shrinking Man