Times are definitely changing at the North Grenville Times. A few months ago, David Shanahan stepped back from the paper, making room for Lorraine Rekmans to take his place as editor. While it was sad to see him go, working with Lorraine over the past few months has been a pleasure. With her background in journalism and politics, she has brought a fresh perspective to the paper, which I believe has been well received. Although no longer the editor, David has still been around, contributing his much-loved history articles as well as the odd council report and editorial. I am sure our readers are glad that his voice has not been lost in this transition.
Speaking of transitions, it is now time for me to announce one of my own. My husband and I are expecting our first child at the beginning of August (a baby girl!), and so it is with some sadness that I myself am taking a step back from the Times. This is the last paper where you will see my byline, at least for the foreseeable future.
As I reflect on my six years as a reporter with the North Grenville Times, I can’t help but get a little emotional. When I moved to Kemptville to live with my boyfriend (now husband) after graduating from journalism school, I didn’t know what was next for me. As a journalism grad, jobs are competitive and many of my fellow graduates moved across the country, chasing positions at some of Canada’s top media companies. I, however, decided to follow my heart to Kemptville, where my partner already had a successful business.
I applied for many jobs throughout the months after graduation, but nothing ever panned out. As residents of North Grenville, we received the weekly edition of the North Grenville Times and, on a whim, I decided to reach out on Facebook to see if they could use a reporter. David got back to me early the next day – “Let’s talk,” he wrote.
Boy, did we talk! And we haven’t stopped since. Our first meeting at the Municipal Centre lasted well over an hour, which turned out to be typical of our regular editorial meetings. I always looked forward to our meetings at Geronimo (now Bubba and Bugs), as it would not only produce some great story ideas for the paper, but David always had a great story or anecdote to share. As an editor, he encouraged me to find my voice as a writer and was always supportive of my story ideas and queries as a newbie on the scene in Kemptville.
As I got more comfortable in my position, I started learning and writing more and more about the local community, eventually covering both North Grenville and Merrickville-Wolford Council. Some people may think I am crazy, but covering both councils is something that I have enjoyed immensely. Even though the first meeting I ever went to in Merrickville-Wolford was four hours long, I learned a lot about how municipal governments work and how the decisions made around the council table affect local residents. Municipal government is at the heart of the community, and I am very thankful to have been at the centre of that for the past several years.
It is through working at the paper that I truly learned to love this community. I have met so many amazing people over the years, and I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to share their stories. I could have chosen to chase a job at a large media company after graduation, but I am so happy that I followed my heart, because it led me to a community that I am now very proud and grateful to call home; a community where I am so excited to grow my family and continue to contribute in one way or another.
It would be remiss not to mention what a pleasure it has been to work with all the staff at the North Grenville Times. To Pat, Gord, Peter, Christine, and, most recently, Lorraine, thank you for your support and kindness over the years. Most of all, thank you to the fearless leaders of the North Grenville Times, who have been serving the community for well over a decade, Marguerite Boyer and David Shanahan, for giving me a voice and the opportunity to make this community feel like home.
I leave you in the capable hands of the Times’ new intrepid reporter Rachel Everett-Fry, whose enthusiasm for the job reminds me of my own. She has a leg up on me, as she is already an active member of the community, and I am sure she will do well in informing all of you about the goings-on in North Grenville.
Thank you to everyone who has supported my work over the years and for trusting me to tell the stories of the community. After all, the North Grenville Time’s slogan is “The voice of North Grenville” and I am so happy to have been a part of that. I will always cherish my time as a reporter in this community and wouldn’t change it for the world.