Nine years ago, I answered an ad for a reporter. It seems like yesterday, but all the telltale time markers suggest that this is not the case.
A lot can change in this many years.
And, just as interestingly, a lot can remain the same.
I’ve been lucky enough to witness change and growth in the cities I’ve covered for the Crow River News. Both Rockford and Greenfield were preparing for development when I got on board and pulled through the sluggish market and hard economic times that followed with perseverance, pragmatism and a belief that potential was always within reach. It’s served them, and they are positioned well as the pendulum begins its swing back.
I’ve witnessed some pretty amazing community accomplishments over my Crow River career. Among them, the formation of a viable chamber of commerce for both cities as well as a food shelf; some stable new commerce at the corner of Highway 55 and County Road 92 in Greenfield; the continued push for a retail grocer and a great volunteer effort to start up a co-op; a levee on the Crow River in downtown Rockford (good timing); an operating levy for the Rockford Area School District, 883, as well as a referendum that’s breathing new life into old bones with a timely face-lift to enhance classrooms, campuses and athletic competitiveness; Greenfield’s first city park with great recreational potential and lots of momentum; the purchase of the Rockford Mall by the city of Rockford with plans for an event center; and, oh, so much more.
I’m adhering to a word count policy, but I could go on for hours. What I haven’t mentioned above, I have written about in one or more issues. I’ve seen it all from a front-row seat, and I’ve been proud to be there.
What hasn’t changed, or even wavered, through good times and those more challenging is the willingness of community members to share thoughts and information, a virtual lifeline to a reporter. Thank you. Some of the kindest and most interesting people I’ve ever met live in the outer west metro.
The rest of them are working diligently to get quality newspapers to you every week. I have been one member of a talented, supportive and tremendously hardworking team.
Maybe you’ve inspired me; I’m experiencing growing pains of my own.
I’ve been writing fiction for years, here and there, and have a few titles published under the pseudonym Ellis Hoff. I’m ready to explore that path, now, with more time and focus.
Which is not to say that I won’t — as a neighbor a “stone’s throw” away in Medina — follow up on what’s going on in the cities I’ve written about for close to a decade.
We may not be related by zip code, but are connected through ink.
Actually, quite a bit of it in nine years.
Linda Herkenhoff, Crow River News Community Editor