We never forgot you, Mazama. The search for a columnist to take Mandi Donohue’s place on the Valley Life page just took longer than expected. You haven’t stopped politely reminding me of the void that needed filling.
Good news, Mazamans: I’m pleased to announce that Erika Kar takes on the weekly task of representing the far reaches of the valley beginning with this issue.
Erika introduces herself in this week’s column, so I won’t dwell on her background much other than to say that she and her husband, Christian, live in Lost River with their sons Sebastian and Bellamy. They also have a cat and a dog. The Kars have lived there most of the past 10 years except for a two-year sabbatical in Mexico. They were neighbors to Lliam and Mandi before the Donohues decamped to California.
(Maternity update: Mandi reports that on Monday, Feb. 12, Ruby Clementine Donohue finally made her way into the world at 7 pounds, 9 ounces, and 20 inches long.)
Because of some earlier scheduled travel, Erika won’t hit her full weekly stride right away, but expect it soon. And she will need your help. Email her at email@example.com. She will be delighted to hear from you. We’ll also be getting a new column photo of Erika soon so she will easier to spot and regale at the Mazama Store and elsewhere.
The Kars own a coffee business, One Cup Coffee Company, in the Seattle area, but manage it from the Methow. A portion of all the company’s proceeds are donated to local and global charities. Check it out at onecup.org.
In her application letter, Erika said that “We love the Methow, and particularly Mazama, because of the tucked-in feeling you get here in the natural splendor. We love that kids can be kids here, that you can know exactly where your food comes from, that neighbors help each other and that you can still pick up hitchhikers.” Her earlier forays into writing included poetry and a blog. I think her Mazama musings will be full of interesting insights and humor.
Erika joins Ashley Lodato, Joanna Bastian and Sarah Schrock (in order of longevity) as the regular Valley Life columnists. Former Mazama columnist Bob Spiwak also remains a periodic contributor.
We had a great field of candidates once again for the Mazama position, which made the selection process more challenging. That experience revived an idea I’ve had for a while of creating a “columnist at large” spot on the Valley Life page, featuring contributions from local writers who have something to say about the Methow. I’m mulling how to launch that, and will provide details as soon as possible. Think about it.
• Also new to the Methow Valley News team is Susan Finn, who took over as the newspaper’s office manager this week. Susan, who lives in Twisp, most recently was the office manager at the Winthrop Inn. She’s the person you’re most likely to encounter first when you call us or visit our office on the TwispWorks campus.
• We seem to have solved a few of our mail delivery problems in the past couple of weeks, but that’s a fingers-crossed, knock-on-wood observation. We’re still trying to track down how some copies of the paper go astray when most get where they are supposed to. If yours doesn’t arrive, please let us know. We are collecting information and making sure it is part of our subscription database that is relayed each week to our printer, the Wenatchee World.
• TwispWorks is going through a review of its signage with a goal of making it easier to find things on the now-full campus. We are celebrating two years at TwispWorks this month, and we still have people coming every week who didn’t know we moved from our longtime Glover Street site. Somehow they manage to find us, often after getting directions over the phone (“it’s the green building behind the red building with the Methow Valley News sign in front”). The TwispWorks project will help everyone visiting the campus to find who and what they need. Meanwhile, we’re still in the green building behind the red building.