On the Cover of The Daily News

To the tune of, well, you get it.

I’d say I’m as rooted in my new job as the hops vining up the side of my house, and the clips keep climbing likewise.

My official beats now are the city of Longview (where I get to do stuff like this); Lower Columbia College (graduation tomorrow); and Cowlitz PUD, our ever-scandalous public electric utility (here’s this month’s quagmire).

It’s fantastic getting to meet people I might otherwise never even see — like Dr. Fuesler —and be the mighty check on governments that, even at the local level, have plenty to hide.

And then there are the squirrel bridges:

The Longview Sandbaggers and Squirrel Fest mascot Sandy B. McNutt unveil Longview's fourth squirrel bridge during opening ceremonies of the 2013 Squirrel Fest. Photo by John Markon.
The Longview Sandbaggers and Squirrel Fest mascot Sandy B. McNutt unveil Longview’s fourth squirrel bridge during opening ceremonies of the 2013 Squirrel Fest. Photo by John Markon.

It’s a strange place, Longview.

Of course I’m still working toward getting my byline on the cover of the Rolling Stone (see what I did there?) so I popped out a review of the ramblin’ Jonathan Warren and The Billy Goats for the Indy this week, alongside Bozeman, Mont.’s surprisingly solid Panther Car.

In other news, Americans are using the word “nil” with increasing frequency, though experts predict a drop-off by mid-July. Cheers.

Winning, Etc.

First off, big ups to Native News 2013 for bringing home the gold at the Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence awards. I was thrilled to see some reporters and photographers — including Sam Wilson, who was my partner on our now-award-winning story — make some waves as well.  Oh, and the Kaimin had a good showing too, unsurprisingly.

Next up, let’s sit down and have a chat about marijuana, young man. As my reporting will show, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to sell.

But don’t think I’m getting lazy. I took a ride in a Tesla, (do not let your driver put it in sport and floor it if you liked your lunch); hopped on a controversial septic company story; and didn’t let the landslide bring me down.

Also, in case I don’t update every every week, click on Read, see it up there? OK, after clicking on Read you’ll see a new link to my current archives. Bookmark away, friends and strangers.

I’ll leave you with the view of the Columbia from my porch:

Oh Columbia

Whirlwind week

Or, week and a half.

I’ve been everywhere, it seems, meeting just about everyone I’ll need to know and seeing everything I need to see to cover Longview, Lower Columbia College and Wahkiakum County. I’ve got the stories to prove it, too.

My first cover story also became my first owned issue, and I even claim credit for the headline:

FirstA1 It’s always nice to see a packed Parks and Rec meeting following a real ball-breaking issue like this.

And don’t miss my favorite lead I’ve written so far: “Jesus came to town in a gray Honda Civic with Oregon plates.”

But I’m still a music man, too, so I got to write up the review for Missoula’s psych-pop “scuzz rock” quartet Skin Flowers.

And don’t miss photographer and close friend Tim Goessman’s 2011-2013 Missoula DIY reflections. He unveiled the little-before-seen archive of photos from the scene we were both very invested in, and the results are a good look at what makes it tick. Even got a shoutout on the Indy’s arts blog.

Off to a City Council meeting; is my tie on straight?

Onward!

It’s been a busy few months to start off the year, and there is certainly no slowing now: I’ve accepted a position at The Daily News in Longview, Wash. The twist: I’ve been uprooted from the copy desk and back into reporting. So you can expect a bit more reading material from my oft-vacant blog, including the first story I wrote on my tryout day in Longview almost two weeks ago:

Photo by John Markon / Naomirose and Chad Mauro of Vader wait at St. John's Hospital with their 4-month-old son Ethan, who was born with only one kidney and without a bladder. Eight local tattoo shops will be conducting fundraisers for the child next week.
Photo by John Markon / Naomirose and Chad Mauro of Vader wait at St. John’s Hospital with their 4-month-old son Ethan, who was born with only one kidney and without a bladder. Eight local tattoo shops will be conducting fundraisers for the child next week.

Excited to be back on the frontlines of Truth, a student of American culture, and deep in the Northwest. Off to being well and doing good work.