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Oh, what a year brings

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By Brent Schanding

This Saturday marks my one-year anniversary as editor of the LaFollette Press.
Oh, what a year it’s been.
The past 12 months of my career here have been marked by turbulence at times — but they were always rewarding.  
Last March, I was moved by the thousands in our community who rallied for a teenage cancer victim who eventually passed as she lived out her final dreams.
In April, I was outraged when allegations of improper euthanasia techniques and animal cruelty surfaced at our animal shelter.
This summer, I was inspired by dozens of community organizers, who successfully railed against a proposed coal fly-ash dumpsite. I was simultaneously entranced by the testimonies of a serpent-handling Pentecostal congregation who gained national attention with a cable reality show.
Last fall, I marveled as a young football team came together for an unprecedented season of firsts.
And just this month, I was perplexed by the judicial proceedings which ultimately altered the life of a 22-year-old school shooter, who now remains free after an eight-year stint in prison for his crimes.
But my career this past year can’t adequately be measured by newspaper headlines.
In the past 12 months, I’ve also connected with elected officials and voters, marina owners and fishermen, coal miners and artists, park rangers and loggers, athletes and debutantes.  
Each have shared personal tales with me about their Campbell County.
In a way, their insights have helped me write my own story about Campbell County this past year.
It’s a tale of wondrous juxtaposition that continues to evolve. And while a year here doesn’t yet provide enough perspective for me to sum up the essence of our great county, I’d like to thank those who opened their hearts and homes to me this past year and welcomed me to the community.   
I look forward to sharing my future tales with readers on the pages of the LaFollette Press.

Brent Schanding is the Editor of the LaFollette Press. Email him at bschanding@lafollettepress.com.