With great respect and deep affection for this newspaper, this industry, my employer, and co-workers, I submitted my resignation last week.
I was going to wait and write one final editorial for my last issue, addressing all the thank-yous on my way out the door. However, prompted in no small part by an irritated text message from a family member who heard it through the grapevine, I can see the wisdom of saying something now.
It seems ahead of my saying anything, rumors and speculation are flying around like wind-driven snow. Speaking as someone who reports the news, it is a surreal experience actually being news.
I have worked for this newspaper for almost 17 years, virtually the entirety of my professional career, which is to say I stayed on about 15 years longer than I planned when I initially took a job here in 1999.
Starting as a general assignment reporter, I moved up to web editor in 2005, and became editor in 2008. It has been my honor to be a part of your lives; for this I am truly grateful.
Now it’s time to move on. Our children have graduated from school and are spreading their wings out in the world. My wife, Cynthia, and I have taken a long look at what comes next and we have decided to move closer to Portland where we both spend much of our time.
Stepping down now is at once invigorating and a little frightening, but I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life. I am, as I used to say about past employees, “exploring other professional opportunities.”
For me, in the immediate future those opportunities include more music and private teaching gigs. I am sure you will have a chance to hear about those activities as I hustle for business in the months and years ahead.
My decision to leave The Lincoln County News comes at an excellent time for myself and this newspaper. Led by J.W. Oliver, we have a solid team who will continue to bring you the news important to your community swiftly, accurately, and ethically.
It’s always best to leave while you still have an invitation to stay, and I am blessed to be able to do so now. I have a few more weeks of work ahead and then our roads diverge.
I want to thank my employer Chris Roberts and the Roberts family for entrusting me with the responsibility for this precious entity.
I want to thank my personal panel of experts, people I turned to when I needed guidance or advice. At one time or another that chorus included Lucy Martin, Robert Clifford, Dominik Lobkowicz, Greg Latimer, Kim Fletcher, Newcastle Fire Chief Clayton Huntley, Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus, current Bowdoinham Town Manager Bill Post, and a prominent local attorney.
I want to thank my political sounding boards who helped me guide this newspaper more than they know: Chris Roberts, Steve Maclachlan, John O’Connell, David Trahan, and Stuart Smith, all of whom are thankfully still among the living, and especially Greg Hodge, who, sadly, is not.
I want the people of Bristol to know their late selectman, Bob Fossett, was a particularly important influence on my tenure in Lincoln County. We were never close, personal friends, but I learned a lot about this area covering Bob and I still keenly feel his loss.
Most importantly, I want to thank my wife, Cynthia Finnemore Simonds, without whom my days would be empty. Thank God for you baby. I’ll be home soon.