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Vogt's Notes: Let me introduce myself

Greetings, Pine River Journal readers!

I know some of you know me as editor of your sister newspaper, the Lake Country Echo. And I realize I’m a new face and “voice” to many others.

So while it seems a bit odd to introduce myself when I’ve been with Echo Publishing for six and a half years, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

After a year of significant changes in 2012, bear with us as we expose you to a few more in 2013. These changes aren’t quite as drastic as closing our Pine River building and consolidating our operations with the Brainerd Dispatch, both of which happened in early 2012.

The start of 2013 has simply brought you a new editor and a new reporter. I’m the editor; Travis Grimler is the reporter.

Your previous editor for more than seven years — Kelly Virden — left us in November to pursue another career path. We continue to miss her every day and decided to get through the rest of 2012 before finalizing plans for her successor.

That successor turned out to be me.

I worked alongside Kelly for the past six and a half years as editor of the Lake Country Echo. Before that, I worked for 14 years at the Brainerd Dispatch, first as a reporter and then as a copy editor/page designer.

I grew up in Lakeville and graduated from what was then called Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications-print journalism. I spent the first five years of my career as a reporter and copy editor in Owatonna.

That’s where I met my husband. In 1992, we got married, moved to the Brainerd lakes area and bought a house between Brainerd and Nisswa. We have two daughters who attend Brainerd High School, and my stepson lives in Owatonna.

As editor of both the Journal and the Echo, I won’t be as visible in the Pine River and Backus communities as Kelly was. That will be the job for Travis Grimler, our reporter who started with us on Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Travis graduated from Pine River-Backus High School and lives in Backus. He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bemidji State University.

Travis shouldn’t be a new face because he was an intern for the Journal and Echo during the summers of 2009 and 2010. And he has periodically contributed to our publications since then, through columns from his time spent teaching in China to stories for our Love of the Lakes magazine.

Reporter Kate Perkins rounds out our writing staff. She has been with us for just more than a year as a reporter for both the Journal and the Echo.

Publisher Pete Mohs is coordinating and editing sports coverage for both the Journal and the Echo. Tracy Wallin continues to design Pine River Journal pages, and Marcy Nickel does the same for the Echo.

With the change in personnel, we reiterate what we said a year ago when the Journal, Echo, Echoland Piper Shopper and website consolidated with the Brainerd Dispatch: You shouldn’t notice any difference in your newspapers.

As it has for the past 77 years, the Pine River Journal will continue coverage of the Pine River and Backus communities.

And as it has for the past 41 years, the Lake Country Echo will continue coverage of the Nisswa, Lake Shore, Merrifield, Pequot Lakes, Jenkins, Breezy Point and Crosslake communities.

The Echo Publishing office in Pequot Lakes remains open from 8 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday with limited staff. Don’t hesitate to contact us as outlined below. We look forward to continuing to provide the best news coverage possible for you.

Nancy Vogt: 218-855-5877 or

Travis Grimler: 218-855-5853 or

Kate Perkins: 218-855-5858 or