Oh, man. Just typing “Sopris Sun Staff” and realizing it’s for the last time gave me pause.

I’ve never been shy about my love for Carbondale, and much of that comes from my experience with The Sun (and, in a more limited capacity, KDNK). The relationship a reporter gets to have with the community she’s covering is particularly lovely, in my opinion. You get to know the personalities of the people who make the town tick, so to speak, from meeting agendas to conversations over cups of coffee. You get to see people’s passions in public hearings that subsequently impact real decisions for the landscape and future of a community. You get to celebrate organizational wins with the executive directors and teams that made them happen, and you get to mourn losses with your neighbors who are willing to share their stories in hopes of serving a greater good.

In short, it’s complicated. And beautiful.

Particularly in a moment in our national history that feels especially divisive, it can feel downright therapeutic to relish Carbondale’s grassroots efforts to cultivate everything we love about “the bubble” while still plugging in to bigger issues.   

Being able to write the fun pieces that celebrate our town while still being able to shine a light on its less-than-flattering aspects, to me, is the real definition of love. It’s also gotten some recognition for which I’m proud. When several Main Street restaurant openings were simultaneously on the horizon, the story caught the attention of both Bloomberg, which cited The Sun in its own coverage, and the Colorado Press Association, which awarded me a second place for Best Business Feature at this year’s convention.

While I wasn’t thrilled to find that gender-based income disparity is higher in Garfield County than in Pitkin County, the state and the country, I was happy to see the story earn second place for Best News Story in our category.

At Will’s pushing, I’ve also made huge strides in conquering my fear of the camera. Big thanks to all of you who have sat patiently — or posed awkwardly — while I figured out what the heck an ISO setting should be.

In my relatively short tenure with The Sopris Sun, I’ve counted my first journalistic awards, added photo credits to my bylines and forayed into radio with “Everything Under the Sun” and, subsequently, hosting “Express Yourself” and “All Things Considered.” Again, huge thanks to everyone who has interviewed with me for the paper only to then offer more of your time on-air in the KDNK studio.

Thank you. I’ve grown so much thanks to you. I hope you’ll still read my bylines even though they’ll be in Aspen Daily News.