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Day by Day: To everything there is a season, but this has been a touch spring

I think by now that anyone who reads this column knows how I feel about change. ...I don’t like it, not usually anyway.

While I have been thinking about my own retirement in about a year, I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that my friends and colleagues around my age might be thinking the same thing.

But all that changed recently when our company, Forum Communications, decided on some reorganization and gave people the opportunity of a “buy out.”

Now while I have  been thinking about what retirement would be like, I never really thought of it as something I could sell off. And as it turns out, it is not the right time for me to sell so I will be staying around, as will, thank you Jesus, the only and the best boss I’ve ever had, our editor Doug Stohlberg.

But others are going, people I have worked with for more than 20 years and I am beginning to imagine just how different work will be without them.

Randy Hanson and I sit in back to back cubicles in our office in River Falls. He’s younger than me by several years but I have tried not to hold it against him. We have similar politics which has sometimes put us at odds with others on the staff, but what is best about the people who put out the Star-Observer is our respect for one another. And Doug has always let us speak our minds no matter what the particular beef might be.

When Randy was hired he was described to me by our then publisher Steve Dzubay as a “kick-ass reporter who would take no prisoners.” I wasn’t thrilled but it didn’t take long to find out that Randy wasn’t going to make a habit of kicking people and he was, all in all, a pretty mild-mannered Swede who only occasionally goes on a curmudgeon tear.

But what I have learned about Randy over the years is that he cares deeply about the newspaper business -- and like the rest of us, has struggled at times to come to terms with how things have changed over the years.

Randy treats city council meetings the same way he writes a good feature story or covers an awful fire. They get his full attention and the details matter, all to the benefit of you, our readers.

He has a dry sense of humor and just about the loveliest wife you can imagine so their retirement together should be fun. It will be a little less so around here but we have our “Randyisms” to get us by.

There are a lot of paths crossing these days. Just as life is changing at the HSO, so are things at home with the arrival of our first grandchild just weeks away. I am thinking this spring about my late dad who would have been bragging about the 100 tomato plants he had started from seed right about now. Not this year. I will have to buy my plants just like everybody else. And my son-in-law is now Dr. Joshua Hamborg and I can get my blood pressure taken any time I want. So that makes the path a little less scary.

So on it goes and that’s OK. But for those guys on a different path, you will be missed.

And since Randy is fast leaving the city council beat, could I perhaps suggest something? That new dog park we need -- how about the old dog track? Nothing much going on there these days and the dogs might just keep the vandals at bay. Just a thought. 

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604
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