It’s common these days to recapitulate the bygone year with a data-driven lens. Spotify tells us our top played songs, Strava reports how many miles we ran and the Herald editorializes on our most frequently reported topic (think my Dec. 16 editorial).

In this week’s newspaper, we summarize 2021 in narrative form through our annual Year in Review compilation found on pages 9-12. And what a year it was!

2021 kicked off with two staffing transitions at the Herald after our former reporter and copy editor moved on to new adventures.

Patrick arrived in Leadville in March and hit the ground running. Nine months later, we continue to be impressed by the growth of his writing and reporting. Hannah, who has worked as the Herald’s office manager since 2016, took over copy editor responsibilities in March. She is an incredibly thorough and skilled copy editor and we are lucky to have her.

The Herald’s staff participated in the COVID-19 immunization process throughout the spring, which for us served as a green light for in-person work. We are proud to have co-worked in our small office throughout 2021 without spread of infection.

Throughout the summer, staff members adopted a puppy, explored mountain bike and running trails across the Arkansas Valley and kayaked local waterways. We travelled to New York and Scotland to visit family and friends, and to San Francisco to see Phish perform live.

Patrick and I kicked off a multi-month series on forest health and wildfire risk in July, while Hannah concluded her series on the ghost towns of the Arkansas Valley. Stephanie began production for Discover Winter Magazine and Marcia began researching historic restoration grants for our building.

As the aspen leaves started to yellow, we visited the new hospital, wrote articles on budgets and Election Day, co-sponsored Bud’s Sparkle Fest to raise money for the preservation of the Clarion Hotel and decided the theme of the 2022 Leadville and Twin Lakes History Guide over margaritas.

And just as 2021 kicked off with staffing transitions, the year is ending with them too.

Aaron Kelts, our distribution coordinator of more than three years, recently left the Herald to take a full-time job with another local business. Aaron was a pillar of consistency in an often chaotic job and we will miss him greatly.

The Herald welcomed Jacob Batwinas to the team last week as our new distribution coordinator. If you see Jacob refilling our newspaper racks around town in the coming months, be sure to say hi!

Lastly, the time has come to announce that I will be leaving the Herald in late February to pursue a master’s degree in public policy. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities provided to me by Arkansas Valley Publishing Company, to the team at the Herald for all they have taught me as coworkers and friends, and to our readers for their thoughtful support and criticism over the last four and a half years.

We are beginning the search for a new editor-in-chief this week and hope to find a talented individual who is ready to share a passion for community journalism with Lake County. Until then, I’ve got various editorials to write, special editions to publish and events to cover.

It’s been a fantastic year for the newspaper and we are looking forward to what 2022 might bring.

Rachel Woolworth

Herald Editor

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