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Keep giving, Newberg, and never give up

Reporter Tyler Francke reflects on the town and his work at this newspaper


I’m no old pro, but I have been playing this writing game for what seems to me like a pretty long time. It’s been long enough anyway, that I can’t even remember the last time I sat down at a computer with dread in my stomach, with a blank white screen before me that I had no idea how to fill and with that frightful specter some call “Writer’s Block” threatening to rear its ugly head.

This, however, is one of those times.

These farewell columns are so darn hard to write. Honestly, I don’t know why we make ourselves do it. Saying “goodbye” is hard enough; saying it in 800 words or more is torture.

Nonetheless, here we are.

Beyond what I’ve already subjected you to, I’ll make every effort to spare you the tired old tropes and clichés. You won’t see me trot out any “Parting is such sweet sorrow” Shakespearean melodrama, and the day I’m ever caught quoting the Grateful Dead’s “Truckin’” in a goodbye column is the day I give up my notepad and pen for good.

So, instead, let’s just cut to the chase. It’s been only a year and change that I’ve been a welcomed part of this community, but it’s been a very good year indeed. And though I’m excited for the next stage of my life’s journey to begin, I must admit that it’s not without some sadness that I move on.

I may not be “dead” or in a band, but all the same, I remain immensely “grateful” to the many local government officials, police and fire personnel, business owners and entrepreneurs, farmers, artists and authors and, especially, all the residents who make this little corner of the Pacific Northwest so special and who have made my job here at The Newberg Graphic the best that any reporter could dare hope for.

Newberg’s motto centers on “growing,” and indeed it is growing fast, and many people grow many beautiful things here. But if it were up to me, I’d choose a different g-word to describe the town. From what I’ve seen, this area is all about giving.

From the throngs who opened their businesses, vehicles and ultimately, their pocketbooks, to help a beloved local pet store get back on its feet after a devastating fire last December, to the tiny group of dedicated volunteers that has made the St. Paul Rodeo a massive success for three times longer than I’ve been alive, “giving” is the common thread woven through most every story that’s come across my desk.

It’s that same spirit, I believe, that has carried Newberg and Dundee through some very dark times the past year. The loss of a child is never easy, and by my estimation you’ve had more than your fair share in recent months. But even in your grief, I’ve been amazed by the way you give, even to me, as you’ve shared your pain so that healing might take place and future pain be avoided.

It’s convinced me that a person — and a community — that gives is also one that refuses to give up, and that’s a lesson I’ll never forget. So, thank you all.

As for me, my next stop is not a new job as much as an entirely new focus. I’ve long been fascinated by the intersection between faith — especially, but not exclusively, religious faith — and the “real world” (not the TV show), and I’m feeling drawn to explore that much more in depth. Earlier this year, it led me to the completion of my first novel, and the bulk of my time and efforts in the near future will be put toward seeing it published in some form or fashion.

I’ve got no shortage of inspiration for some other long-form projects as well. I know it’s not an easy road that lies ahead, lacking even the relative security of the newspaper industry (which isn’t exactly at the heart of Stability Street itself these days), but I think it’s at least worth my best shot.

You may still see my name pop up in these pages for a freelance assignment here and there, but for the most part, you’ll remain in the extremely capable hands of the editorial, advertising and production staff that have formed the strong heart of this institution since long before I came around, as well as the next new reporter — who I’m confident will have no trouble filling my shoes and then some.

If you have any interest in staying in touch, you can follow my latest exploits online at tylerjfrancke.com. Thanks again, for everything, and keep reading The Newberg Graphic.




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