I didn’t originally apply for a job at the Courier-Herald.
A few months before I was set to leave college, I sent my resume out across the country, mostly to large-ish papers that seemed like they’d take on a newly-minted journalist.
The only publication to respond was the Bellingham Business Journal, so on the day of my graduation, I drove from Olympia to Everett to meet with the then-vice president of Sound Publishing before hoofing it back to the Evergreen State College. Driving 70 miles an hour while trying to get that darned robe on was not the wisest decision I ever made.
(Actually, the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber — a sister paper of the Courier-Herald also responded… but about five or so years after I was hired.)
I got a call from the Journal during my graduation about wanting me to come in for a second interview. The catch was, though, that it wouldn’t be in Everett, but in someplace called “Enumclaw”.
“Bellingham would be too boring for you,” I was told.
It’s not that I didn’t disagree with that assessment — preparing for a colonoscopy is more fun than being assigned the business beat — but I had never heard of this city, which also meant I didn’t expect it to be particularly exciting.
In fact, a lot of people make that assumption; it’s not uncommon to be asked, “Is there a lot of news in Enumclaw?”
Oh, yeah, there’s a lot of news. And it’s all I can do to stay on top of it.
Hopefully you’re already aware of the Enumclaw School District bond, the Enumclaw City Council’s proposal for a new community center, the Allan and Joann Thomas tax fraud court case, and the outrage over a home for sex offenders that opened outside the city — these are stories I’ve been following for weeks, even months, and there will be many, many more articles to come.
But there’s so much I haven’t got to yet.
In business news, The Sequel bookstore is now The Dusty Shelf and under new ownership, and Sweet Necessities sold to the owners of The Casting Iron.
In city news, the city of Enumclaw is restoring its historic city hall building; the city of Buckley is expanding their city hall; and Black Diamond has been talking about repealing its ban on pot shops.
Concerning the environment, I missed out on spreading the word about a public comment period for an expanding mine operation off Enumclaw Franklin Road; there’s a potential buyer for a plot of land outside Auburn that hopes to kick off the current leasee, who violated county and state laws concerning waste management; and the Enumclaw Plateau Community Association is working hard to revegetate the Foothills Trail with native plants.
Former Black Diamond Mayor Gomer Evans Jr. recently died; there was a small wildfire off SR 410 that closed the Kummer Bridge earlier this month; Olson’s Meats won big at a regional meats competition; the Enumclaw Expo Center is planning a special opening ceremony for the King County Fair; local state representatives responded to the governor’s veto of a budget line item that would have required giving notice to communities about the placement of sex offenders in the area; the county held meetings about flooding in the Lower Green River Cooridor; Lake Tapps was fully filled; Attorney Bob Ferguson talked to the local Rotary about the decline of local news; Rainier Foot and Ankle had a grand opening; Black Diamond opened a Lake Sawyer recreation survey and the local Special Olympics Masters Team took silver and Building Beyond the Walls gifted a shed to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program program in Buckley and the Enumclaw skatepark is still being designed and local authors held a “How to Self-Publish” talk and theres the police blotters and Deans List students and road closures and —
Woah, sorry, I forgot to breathe and just kinda blacked out.
My point is, there’s so much happening on the Plateau that I simply can’t keep up. I’d need a staff of four to be able to adequately cover our three cities, not to mention a far larger newspaper to print all this news.
But even though those items are at the top of my Christmas wish list, I don’t think Santa is going to be pulling them out of his sack anytime soon.
So until then, there are many ways you can support the Courier-Herald so we can work toward printing fatter papers and bringing on more reporters. An easy way is to comment and like articles on our social media pages, send in letters, and subscribe so we can tell advertisers you’re paying attention to us.
Better yet, look at our ads and patron those businesses. The more local businesses know their ads are bringing them customers, the more ads they buy, and the bigger our paper gets.
And finally, you can become one of our community columnists and share your thoughts and opinions with our readers.
Community columnist applications are due by June 30, so I can make appointments and select the four people I want to publish in July and get their first columns printed in August.
Here’s exactly how to do that:
■ Come up with a theme. What are you going to write about? And more importantly, can you write 12 columns, each being between 800 and 1,000 words, on that topic, and will you be able to submit those columns by deadline every month?
■ Put together an introduction column, which will be published first. Who are you? What’s your history on the Plateau? What does your topic mean to you, and what sort of expertise do you bring to the table? What is your goal for writing a column, and what do you want your readers to get out of it?
■ Complete a finished draft of a column. No matter what your topic is, make sure you list your sources by including them in the body of the piece (not at the bottom, like a bibliography) where relevant. Applicants who do not use or cite sources will not be considered.
■ List out the other 10 potential columns you want to write about. This will be easier to do for some topics than others, but what I want most is to see that you have thought this through for an entire year.
■ Email all the above to me (email@example.com, subject line: “Columnist Application”) by June 30, 2023, and set up an appointment to meet in person. If you don’t receive a response, call me (360-802-8220) to ensure I received the email. Interviews will take place over July, with an announcement of our new columnists by the end of the month.
I’m excited to see what this year’s applications will bring — hopefully yours will be among them.