It has been almost one year since I started at the Plaindealer, and with one year more experience I am leaving to pursue another opportunity.

It has been almost one year since I started at the Plaindealer, and with one year more experience I am leaving to pursue another opportunity.

For me, leaving is part of my new experiences. I have never left a job for another. I was telling my family while I was contemplating leaving that even the thought of moving on felt adulterous. St. James has been a very welcoming community and I feel more involved with this community than any other.

But, when an opportunity comes your way, no matter how difficult the decision or uncomfortable the transition, it is important to embrace the experience.

I have met more interesting people in this last year than I have in the last 5 years. I have heard countless numbers of wonderful stories, and I have done my best to pass those stories on to you.

St. James is a wonderful place with wonderful people. From a city manager who makes an appearance at almost every celebration in the city, to volunteers who help out at the food shelf, the nursing home or with children in after school programs – St. James is a city that just keeps giving.

In good, journalistic tradition, I will let you all know my top three favorite experiences writing for the Plaindealer in St. James.

3) Pink Gloves Dance Project
The Pink Gloves Dance Project was one of the first stories I wrote for the Plaindealer. The hospital in Madelia created a music video for breast cancer awareness. The organizers of the video were so full of energy and passionate about the material that it made for some of the best interviews I have ever had as a writer.

2) Railroad Days Parade in the Rain
This wasn't a great story that I wrote, but rather an unique experience in the rain. I spent most of the day in the hot sun sweating through every bit of clothing I had, so by the time the parade rolled around I think I was more ready for a summer shower than anyone else. It was a warm rain, so I couldn't complain too much, and I don't think I've ever been to a parade with such a full downpour.

1) The Carreon House Fire
This story is still vivid in my memory because the house burned so fast. As I wrote before, I have seen homes burn, but never like this. I remember walking home from McDonalds and seeing black smoke rising above the houses in the north. I didn't even take the time to eat, I got in my car and was one of the first on scene – along with just one fire truck from St. James.

There are plenty more stories I wrote and people I've met that have impacted my life – but I don't have to room or the time to mention them all and thank them. So, in one blanket statement, I would just like to thank the city of St. James for being such an accommodating and great place to live. I'm excited to come back and see how the Highway 4 project is going and how people are getting along in this quiet southern Minnesota city.