It's my anniversary

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By Carolyn Risner

A year ago last week I stepped into a long lineage of newspaper editors who, for the past 130 years, were dedicated to the people of Williston and the surrounding community.

It was a daunting responsibility–just knowing that one day in the annals of history, my name would be included as editor of Levy County’s oldest newspaper. It was, and is, something I take seriously–and pridefully.

Of all the towns and communities in Levy County, Williston was one I was not familiar with, ranking closely behind Inglis and Yankeetown.

I was more than indimitated.

I shouldn’t have been.

From that first day in the office on First Avenue to our move a few blocks away on South Main, so many of you have called, came by, written or e-mailed to welcome me, suggest stories or just pass 15 minutes with good conversation.

You have made my job easier, more enjoyable and the transition couldn’t have been smoother. You embraced me, and I couldn’t help but embrace you.

In some ways, like most things these days, it seems like I have been here forever.

Other times, I remember just how green Iee^am. Iee^don’t know the family networks. I don’t know a lot of past history of the town’s evolution and politics, but I am learning.

This past year has brought new friends, new experiences and new ideas.

Apologies upfront: if you aren’t mentioned in the following paragraphs, it’s not because you aren’t worthy. There just isn’t time or space to summarize 52 weeks of people and stories.

The first week started with the National Day of Prayer ceremony in Heritage Park. Anything Mayor Gerald Hethcoat organizes is well worth attending. It’s always interesting, entertaining and best of all, the right time limit. Those are the kinds of events newspaper people thrive on–and the community should too.

I was brought to tears at the Memorial Day commemoration at Orange Hill Cemetery. I was amazed at the horse farm of Loren Nichols, one of the residents of Montbook/Morriston who was openly opposed to a limerock farm. I baked enough desserts to feed an Army with our 2009 contest “What is it?” It was so much fun and reader response was so terrific that it will make a return this summer.

I wrangled a standing invitation to Williston Rotary Club and have never regretted it. Like the mayor’s events, Rotary has all the elements necessary to keep me interested and when I tell them, “This is the highlight of my work week.”, it is sincere. And they also do good work. You should find out how you can join them and help make a difference.

With Rotary, the Williston Pioneer made sure that every third grader in Williston and Bronson had his own dictionary. And as I told the students during the presentation, “Words are important. The more you know, the better you will read and the better you read, the more advantages you will have in the world.”

I attended my first July 4 parade and event at Horseman’s Park.ee^ Iee^just wish it had been in December–it was way too hot.

Iee^have toured gardens and marveled at the talent our residents have when it comes to painting, landscaping, writing.

I even made a new friend when I interviewed Jim Pitt, a Willistonian who is carving his niche in the film industry. We have stayed in touch since that December interview at Driftwood and I know our lives will forever be enmeshed.

And there was songwriter Eden Langworthy, 90-year-old Virginia Celoria, beefmasters John Pendray and John Markham, cancer survivors and fighters Royal French and Adelia Vachon, world walkers István (Steven) and Ferenc (Frank) Ivanics and Jamaica native Amy Dixon who danced on her 95th birthday. The list is endless.

They’ve all touched me. I hope their stories touched you.

One year. 52 newspapers. Hundreds of stories. Thousands of new-found friends and readers.

And it would be remiss of me not to give props to my team: Chris, Lieah and Ada here who keep me straight-and on time to Rotary and to my co-journalists Steveee^Waters, Kellie, Steve Jaboe, Pat, Donna, Lou and Mark and everyone who sends in pictures and stories. Thank you. I’m looking forward to the next year.