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What a short, great trip it’s been

The first time I stepped foot into the Demopolis Times’ building was one year ago Tuesday.

Although I had to double check my calendar because the last 12 months seemed more like three months, I have been in my role as publisher of The Times for nearly one year.

More importantly, my family and I have been residents of Demopolis and Marengo County for one year. And if this first year is any indication of all the years we have left here, we have a lot in store for us.

Sitting in my office in Russellville, Ala. early last June, I received a call from my boss, Bill Beckner, telling me about an opportunity in West Alabama. We came down for a visit a few days later and immediately made the decision that Demopolis was the place we wanted to be.

Since being here, I have never had second thoughts.

I have made mistakes in the past year, and I will make mistakes in every year from here on out. I am not afraid to face that fact. A good friend of mine, Jeff Findley – who is the publisher of newspaper in Georgia – used to say, “If you’re not making mistakes, you ain’t workin’ hard enough.” I’m inclined to agree.

But my goal in every decision made at The Times is to serve our readers and customers. Many of you have let me know about some of those mistakes. I appreciate that. I welcome input and will always take a telephone call or a visit to my office from our readers and customers.

Oh, much has happened in the last year.

Some change I expected, some I did not.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,400 one year ago. Yesterday, it closed at right about 4000 points lower. Our economy has suffered through a rough stretch that I hope and expect is behind us.

In the past year, the first African-American was elected to the presidency of the United States.

In the past year, Demopolis has seen its school system be recognized nationally and worldwide and it now in the midst of key personnel issues.

In the past year, the finishing touches were put on another jewel of the city, the new Demopolis High School football stadium.

In the past year, I experienced my first Christmas on the River. That every community doesn’t have an event like this is a tragedy. That Demopolis has one with the size and polish of COTR is amazing.

In the past year, I have made many new friends and acquaintances and gotten to better know a great staff here at the newspaper. There is no better group of people around.

In February, The Times went back to a twice-weekly newspaper; the fruits of the very phone calls and visits I had with our readers and customers early on.

In the past year, I have come to realize that Demopolis and Marengo County is where my family and I like to call home. Thank you for letting my family and I become part of such a great community.