After nearly eight years at the helm of Sierra News Online, the time has come for me to move on to the next chapter of my life.
As many of you have already heard, I have sold Sierra News Online to my Sales and Marketing Manager Lisa Clark. I had intended to consider retiring at the end of the year, but my father went into hospice care in Montana in late May, which required me to be out of town for long periods of time and generally without much notice, thereby causing a major shift in my plans. Though I will continue to serve as consultant and advisor for the time being, I have retired.
Kellie Flanagan – a talented writer who has been with me nearly from the beginning and has over 30 years’ experience in communications and as a manager – is doing an outstanding job of continuing to hold SNO to the high standards that both she and I have set forth over these past years. Some of you have already had the opportunity to work with Kellie and know that she is a pleasure to deal with and a consummate professional. The success of SNO has been largely due to her insights, influence, and unique voice.
Our new reporter, George Lurie, came on board in February, bringing a lifetime of experience and knowledge to the team. Add to that a staff of three more dedicated individuals – Jill, Leonard and Doug – and Sierra News Online is well-equipped to continue providing the excellent coverage you have all come to expect.
I have always approached this job with the goal of celebrating people who are contributing to their community and making a difference, and fashioned SNO after CBS Sunday Morning and what Charles Kuralt said about his reporting – sharing the news “with an absence of malice.”
Sierra News Online was started in 2011 at my kitchen table, published our first story in May 2012, and has far out-paced my wildest expectations, largely due to the participation of you, our readers. You have shared your stories, your news tips, your photos and yes, your criticisms – all of which have helped us to learn and grow and work every day to provide the best local news coverage possible.
As local news outlets continue to struggle and fold across the country, having the participation and support of the community is critical to the continued success of sources such as SNO. We are thankful every day for our wonderful advertisers and for the SNO subscribers who voluntarily contribute each month, making it possible to bring you the stories that matter to our mountain communities.
One of the best parts of this job has been the incredible people with whom I’ve been privileged to work, including the Madera County Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices, Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office, the CHP, Cal Fire, Madera County staff, Madera County Fire, the Board of Supervisors, Sierra National Forest, the American Red Cross, VOAD, the Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Central California Animal Disaster Team, local chambers of commerce, Visit Yosemite | Madera County, our local service clubs and many other professional organizations (I apologize for any I have neglected to mention).
I want to give a special thanks to Candace Gregory, who has been posting stories of her adventures across the central Sierra weekly – without fail – since the fall of 2012. She is a treasure! And to Don Grove, who has been inviting us to explore the little-known or long-forgotten stories of our area with the monthly History Mystery since 2013. Great work Don!
And most of all, thanks to my long-suffering husband Dale who somehow adapted and accepted the fact that the soundtrack of our lives, whether at home or on the road, has been the squawking of the fire and police scanner, 24 hours a day!
To all our readers, advertisers, subscribers and partners, thank you for your support, your contributions, and your friendship. I have been hugely blessed by each of you!
Sierra News Online – Founder/Publisher/ Editor/ Reporter – Retired
Email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
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(Photo by Virginia Strauss)