HAMMON: Thank you for loving your community newspaper

On May 30, I will be loading up a moving truck and heading west to my hometown of Longmont, Colorado. I have missed the Rocky Mountains, my family and old friends — but I know this move will also bring me more heartache, because I’m leaving behind my Niles family now, too.

It has been incredibly rewarding to have been a news reporter for the Niles Daily Star, and I have a lot of people to thank for my time here.

For starters, General Manager Ambrosia Neldon gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. Three years ago, when I was new to the Michigan and Indiana area, I stumbled across Michiana Life online. Knowing nothing about my new home, I felt the magazine provided a road map of adventures and businesses I could visit. I knew I wanted to write for the publication. I emailed Ambrosia with a bit of a plea, something like, “Can I pretty please write for you? I love your magazine.”

If you don’t know, Leader Publications produces a variety of magazines and four newspapers, so when Ambrosia answered my email, a freelance magazine opportunity turned into an internship and finally into a full-time job as a reporter for the Niles Daily Star.

I quickly learned how passionate the Leader Publications team is about bringing news that engages, inspires and informs their readers. This team has spent late election nights that have turned into mornings, watching the polls — fueled by Pizza Transit pizza and gallons of coffee. They have spent their weekends, holidays and after hours covering events, breaking news and scouring social media for tips. If ever I had a bad day, I had only to look at them to remember why I love my job.

Of course, I also have many people in the community to thank, too. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to tell your stories.

One of the most inspirational parts of the job is seeing the number of people in Niles who are dedicated to making it a better place to live. Like our Leader Publications team, they work tirelessly. There are too many to name here, but they are residents who have spent their time planning events and festivals for locals to enjoy, who have helped to open a free medical clinic, a dog park and who put their boots to the ground to help when a historic flood inundated homes and businesses. They are also the city, township leaders and a mayor who want to create a future for Niles residents — of course, to name but a few.

In a digital age, newspapers are part of a versatile but changing industry. So, these people mentioned above have been pivotal in keeping local journalism alive. We need our residents, and not just to buy a subscription (though you can do so by calling our circulation department at (269) 683-2100). Please continue to share your stories, news tips, events and announcements with us, because this is your community newspaper.

I’m excited to be near my family in Colorado once again and you can be sure I will be reading the paper from afar. While goodbyes are never easy, I know that this team will continue to be here to tell your stories, to keep our leaders in check and serve as the bedrock of Democracy.

So, thanks to all who have helped me be part of this legacy. I am taking a lot of great memories with me and Niles will always be my second home.

Kelsey Hammon has served as the Niles Daily Star reporter since 2016.

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