An unexpected path
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
I left the office late on Friday evening. Late in the afternoon, a call came over the scanner. A grass fire had broken out near the train tracks. I went over, took some pictures, talked to the folks who were gathered and agreed to take a look at (and possibly publish) a photograph one of them had taken recently. I’m looking forward to it.
On the way back, I stopped to take some pictures of the beautiful chalk paintings on the sidewalk near Thomas Owens Park. Three artists came in to Two Harbors from Wausau, Wis., where their ChalkFest is in its ninth year, to kick off the first annual Chalk-o-Lot festival here. See John Lundy’s story about that on the website(which, if you think you read it already, is different than his article in the Duluth News Tribune.) What could have taken 10 minutes at the park took an hour because I couldn’t just take pictures. I wanted to know about the artists, their training and something about why they chose chalk as a medium of expression. It was all so fascinating.
Earlier in the day I had lunch with Jan O’Donnell and learned about her previous life as a farmer and her career with a nonprofit organization that promoted sustainable agriculture. She’s now involved with AEOA in Two Harbors, which has a community garden project under way. That was fascinating, too. Watch for that story in a couple weeks.
Reporter LaReesa Sandretsky spent most of her weekend in Finland covering the goings-on. She picked up the camera Saturday morning. I’m eager to see what she brings back from her adventure. See the Shorelines section for that.
Mike Holbeck stopped in to pick up his paper at the News-Chronicle office and I overheard him talking to Shari Melton, our office manager. They were discussing the boil order issued by the city of Two Harbors after a mishap at the water tower resulted in the precautionary measure being taken. I had questions! Mike stood patiently answering them and even consented to give me his home phone number in case I had more.
I just can’t seem to help myself. I’ve always been curious about people — what they do and why they do it. I’m curious about lifestyles, cultures, religions — how people perceive the world and how they interact with it. Aren’t you? Perhaps that’s what made human services a good fit for me for so many years. I worked primarily with crime victims, but I was also a volunteer at the St. Louis County Jail for quite some time. I facilitated education and support groups there for women awaiting trial and sentencing. I am a doula — a person who supports women during labor and delivery. I am also trained to provide grief support and mediate family disputes that might otherwise have to be resolved in family court at great expense. I have loved my work and the people I have had the privilege to meet.
But in 2010, I decided to move on and go back to school. I’ll graduate in January, but I won’t have earned a journalism degree. In fact, I never imagined that being a newspaper editor would be in my future. But I’m so glad it worked out this way. I can continue to pursue my fascination with people and their stories, community events, politics, art, and news of all kinds and share those stories with you.
I also want to know what interests you. Come in and tell me about your ideas, comments and criticisms. Send us the photos you’ve taken of the sunset on the lake or the fundraiser your organization had, send letters to the editor, news about your upcoming event, or correct us if we’ve made a mistake. This is your community paper. Call us at 834-2141 or email me at tfrancois@lcnewschronicle. com.