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Fresh Cut: An unexpected departure

When I moved back up north nearly six months ago to begin writing for the Echo Journal, I never planned to leave the position as quickly as I've ended up leaving. Rarely in my life have I left a job quickly or unexpectedly, often lingering at semi-dysfunctional places of business perhaps a bit longer than I should. My mom tells me I'm "loyal to a fault."

That's what makes my exit from the Echo Journal so shocking to me. I'm leaving the best job I've ever had after working at it for less than a year. When I learned of the reporter opportunity available at the Brainerd Dispatch, however, I knew it was one I couldn't pass up. My loyalty has prevented me from taking chances and pursuing my dreams in the past, and this time, I was not going to allow that to happen.

On Aug. 4, I will put pen to paper as the newest reporter on the block in Brainerd, covering the Crow Wing County Board and heading up the monthly special section distributed in both the Dispatch and the Echo Journal, "In Our Prime."

The last couple weeks, while I've wound down my time here at the Echo, have been bittersweet, to say the least. The Echo Journal is a truly irreplaceable community resource, and the people who bring it to you are committed to excellence.

Editor Nancy Vogt is, hands down, the best boss I've ever had the pleasure of working for, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an editor that cares more about accuracy, fairness and thoroughness than she.

Publisher Pete Mohs advocates for the Echo at every opportunity, ensuring members of the community know about and come to cherish the pages that bring them news you can't find anywhere else.

Staff writer Travis Grimler knows the communities he covers like the back of his hand, and you can always count on him to do what needs to be done and to present a fresh take.

Online director Becca Clemens works wonders with the video camera and website, and she and page designer Marcy Nickel turn our words and photos into visual works of art each week.

Media consultant Kathy Bittner Lee is the paper's most visible presence in our coverage area, pounding the pavement every day to sell the advertising that supports the journalism we bring to you, and media consultant Doreen Nelson is working hard to expand our advertising reach as far north as Walker.

There are countless others who contribute to the success of each issue of the Echo Journal, from the people who print the paper to those who deliver it, but especially all of you, our readers. You tell us what matters, you keep us on our toes and you are the people we all do this for.

I've dreamt of being a daily newspaper reporter for as long as I can remember, and I am excited for the new journey that awaits me. But I will never forget the amazing chance, afforded to me by the Echo Journal crew, to work for my hometown newspaper and return to a profession where I feel most at home.

I will miss everyone I've come to know, but I'm not going too far. Be sure to follow my stories in the Echo Journal's sister newspaper, the Brainerd Dispatch.

Thank you for reading. I'll see you around.

Chelsey Perkins

Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.

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