Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 11, 2013

Getting to know Kokomo

— When the Kokomo Tribune flew me out to interview, I left behind a false mountain spring and disembarked to a blustery, stinging snow. I checked the forecast before leaving, but still packed dreams of flowers in bloom and birds in song. Despite the bone-chilling two days I spent being whisked around Kokomo, I said yes when the newspaper offered me a permanent place on its staff.

It has been just more than two weeks since I was flung full force into my new position, and I think things have transitioned smoothly. You’ll see more of my influence as time goes on, and I want to get to know more of the community and the people who live here.

About me: My high school was small, and since my graduation has gotten smaller and, by that, been forced to get bigger. What once was two tiny communities commingled into one school is now three, consolidated into a busing system that brings children from miles around to learn together. It’s still hard thinking of our former football rivals as our teammates. My parents still live there in rural Iowa, a flat land with long horizons and the distances between neighbors ever expanding. It’s a true testament that we are moving to cities and abandoning our rural communities for commonality and economic prosperity.

I moved west in my early 20s and found myself in Oregon. There I learned about people, love, responsibility and fulfillment. I had several jobs before I enrolled in college: 7-Eleven clerk, military surplus sales, retail auditor. They were unsatisfactory and in college I found passion in journalism.

After school, I went to work in Klamath Falls, a town just smaller than Kokomo located 20 miles to the north of the California border. It was isolated, nestled at 4,100 feet on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. Its beauty is unsurpassed, but it offered little in the way of good jobs. It was an existence that, for my husband and myself, was unsustainable, no matter how lovely.

Now a resident of the fair city of Kokomo, I am beginning to reach out to various community leaders. I’m getting settled and trying to find the hidden gems (restaurants, stores, parks and recreation). I am also guiding the Kokomo Tribune’s news coverage to ensure we reflect the communities we serve and provide perspectives from the many different viewpoints in our region.

If you have a story idea you want to discuss, or a community concern you think the newspaper should address, call or email me. I’d love to hear from you.

City editor Jill Bond can be reached at 765-454-8578 or jill.bond@kokomotribune.com.

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