Adjust fire and drive on

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You may wonder why there are no stories from our new reporter in this and following editions.

As Iíve told others, itís best to just be honest and open. In silence, rumors rule the day.

The reason Rima Austin gave for leaving this past weekend without notice was housing.

Iíll leave that at that. I wish her nothing but good things in her life, as I do for anyone.

But, I want to apologize to you, readers.

I know there has been a lot of turnover in past years, and I had planned ó still do ó to end that.

But, one of the most important lessons the Army taught me is there in the title: Adjust fire and drive on. Worry, bitterness and fear are all wastes of time.

Whatís not changing

And I want to clear something up: I am going to be here as long as your Western News and you will have me.

As I started introducing Austin around, people asked when I was leaving.

Unfortunately, given the past, I think that was understandable.

But I want to put that perception to rest.

Iím not making a promise when I say Iím not going to leave. Iím just stating the obvious, such as the direction of north, or the effects of gravity.

I have met some simply amazing people here ó deeply-humbling kind of amazing.

I think this community deserves a solid newspaper that puts you first, in every word printed.

You deserve a paper that shares your interests and stories; that roots for you in everything you seek, and cheers for you when you get it.

You deserve a paper that you can look to for clarity, objectivity and unrelenting dedication to facts, because anyone can spread unsubstantiated claims on social media.

And you deserve a paper that does those things while being mindful that stories have real impact on individuals, and that journalism isnít an excuse or a license to act callously.

And, I will be honest, your Western News isnít 100 percent there. Not as much as I want and you deserve. But, getting it there has become my lifeís mission.

Your paper

Two papers a week solo isnít easy. Although, on my hardest day, I still donít work half as hard as a lot of you.

Every press release, brief, announcement or obituary, if thereís a mistake that makes it to print, thatís on me.

Every article you read ó and picture, headline, typeface, box or squiggle ó thatís my call. Iím your reporter, editor, and designer who decides where it all goes.

So, some of these papers are going to feel a little thin until we find a new reporter. But, I donít want to give you a bunch of third-party filler, or sacrifice quality.

And Iím going to miss some events. And I will agonize over what gets covered when thereís a conflict.

Thatís part of why Iím grateful for all the people out there, busy as you are, who submit photos and write-ups.

And Iím humbled by the kind welcome so many have given this stranger from Ohio.

I know what this paper can be. And it can be everything you deserve.

While itís just me, Iíll do everything I can. And, Iíll be looking even harder than before for a fellow journalist every bit as dedicated to making that vision real.

I donít quit. I donít walk away willingly ó sometimes to a fault.

So, I offer my apologies for this rough patch as things get righted-out.

Yet, I give you my word they will be right, and I will be here to see it through until I die, I retire or you all get tired of me and kick me out.

ó Ben Kibbey, Editor of Your Western News

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