This is getting to be an all-too-familiar routine and one I really wasn't expecting. It appears that I'm having to get used to saying goodbye to some of my dear friends.
And it's not getting any easier.
The first happened in late January when I had to say farewell to Kelly Everitt, who served as the managing editor of the Mountain Home News for more than a quarter century. He left the journalism profession and stepped into the world of public relations with the state education department.
I'm sure that decision didn't come lightly and was one that probably kept him up at night. While I know there were those out there that appreciated the change in the newspaper's management once he left, Kelly genuinely loves this community and worked more hours than he was willing to admit to ensure the newspaper provided in-depth coverage of the stories that mattered most.
In the six years that we worked together, Kelly was more than my boss. He was the best friend and best mentor I could ever have and did his best to prepare me for the challenges when I stepped into his extremely large shoes.
Despite the challenges, I somehow managed to get myself into an established routine and rapidly made the transition from being a staff writer to being the one overseeing the newspaper's editorial department.
At the same time, the changeover put me in the perfect position to introduce Tim Bondy to our newspaper family. His tireless dedication to covering issues affecting the city and county helped me bridge the tremendous void, and together we've maintained a steady rhythm to ensure the Mountain Home News hits the streets each Wednesday without incident.
I know I threw a lot at Tim in those first few weeks when he made the transition to the world of photojournalism. To a point, I really felt sorry because I knew it was a lot to digest in such a short amount of time.
He made that transition fairly quick, and he's been my right hand for the past nine months. I don't think I tell him enough how much his efforts are appreciated, so thank you, Tim.
But once that transition was complete, I think I must have left my guard down. Just when I thought my world was perfect, fate decided to throw another curve ball I didn't see coming.
At the end of the high school's baseball season, Alvin Powers stopped by the office and announced he was retiring as the "voice" of the Mountain Home Tigers' sports program. Losing Alvin just a few months after Kelly left another huge void our newspaper had to fill.
Alvin's contributions to our hometown newspaper were invaluable. Each Monday, my e-mail inbox was filled with stories he pieced together one at a time to highlight our high school sports programs.
Whether the Tigers were having an exceptional season or they were down on their luck, it never seemed to phase Alvin one bit. He ensured that our young athletes received as much attention as possible with a focus on their achievements and less on the times where they struggled.
Today, we've started to overcome Alvin's departure thanks to the dedication of parents and sports representatives in our community. The contributions of these individuals are greatly appreciated, and I hope they will help keep our sports community better connected.
At this point, I must have let my guard down once again, thinking that everything was finally getting back into a predictable routine. And once again, I was wrong.
Just a few days ago, I was brought into the publisher's office and told that our newspaper was going to lose another member of the family. Melanie Brown, who relaunched the newspaper in Glenns Ferry approximately 20 years ago, announced that she was retiring so she can devote some much-needed time with her family.
Mel was the one I relied on to keep me posted on the major happenings in eastern Elmore County. She had a keen eye on knowing the issues affecting the residents in these communities and being able to communicate it with our readers. I will miss her unique perspective and her friendship.
Her departure also means that the Glenns Ferry Gazette will come to an end when she publishes her last newspaper Jan. 5. It could leave a significant void in Glenns Ferry in addition to the rural communities of King Hill, Hammett, Bruneau and Grand View.
But it doesn't have to be that way. I can assure our readers in these communities that we won't forget about them.
However, we will need some help. Just like they did for the Gazette, we're asking our readers in these communities to send their stories and photos to the Mountain Home News. It will allow us to continue highlighting the news in these towns with little to no disruption.
Contrary to what some people might believe, the Mountain Home News family is a fairly small one, meaning that our resources are very limited. Our family includes just 13 people, and together we tackle everything from writing stories and shooting photos to selling advertising, printing our publications, maintaining our budgets and delivering our papers.
Simply put, it doesn't give us a lot of resources to regularly drive to these rural communities to cover the stories they were used to seeing in the Gazette. This is why we're asking for your help.
For those out there concerned about the newspaper's next chapter, I ask them to give us time to put our plans in motion. Once we establish a new routine, I strongly believe that our readers will find that this change will actually be a benefit versus a burden.
At the same time, I just need to learn that I'm not allowed to get complacent or let my guard down. I'm not ready to say goodbye to anyone else.
-- Brian S. Orban