After four years of college journalism, it was only natural for me to intern with a weekly paper. So my first day on the job, in June 2007, the editor Chuck Anderson sent me into the sandhills of Henry Cowell to cover a preservation ceremony. I took some photos and it made the front page.
Three months later, I was hired as a news reporter. I covered everything from water district issues to Michael McClish’s trials for rape and murder. I learned to keep my emotions in check and a level head as I dealt with difficult situations and sometimes difficult people.
The assignments that stick out in my mind are the flight I took in a single-wing training plane out of Watsonville Airport. As I conducted my interview about Angel Flights, I had the chance to grab the stick while we flew over the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Another time, I went on a midnight foray to the Brookdale Lodge to follow around some ghost hunters who sought documentary film footage.
My most memorable celebrity interview was a 1 ½ hour sit-down with the co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak. The surreal day included taking Woz out to the former Skypark airport and asking him to ride his Segway across the barren runway while wearing a cape -- the same place he had crashed a plane in the early 80s.
I covered the fight against a Target store building next to the Hilton in Scotts Valley and wrote about the wildland fires that burned in Bonny Doon in 2008 and 2009.
These years have flown past, and have been the longest of my life. The amount of information I have processed, and the amount of people I have met is astounding.
I have met some incredible people as editor; many of whom I wish to emulate in some way. Annette Marcum, the founder of Valley Churches United, was an incredibly empathetic person. Up until her death, she cared about others before herself and her staff of mostly volunteers has continued that tradition.
I learned to appreciate and respect the people who put politics aside to get the job done. The community volunteers who make our area run are incredible. The SLV Boosters, the Falcon Club, SVEF, local service clubs and many others are simply filled with people who care about each other and the community.
I have covered athletics in our area as well. I had the chance to interview now NFL star Andy Levitre, an SLV graduate. I’m also rooting for Robbie Erlin to succeed...I was watching him throw no-hitters at Scotts Valley High before he was making major league starts for the Padres.
I am amazed by the dedication of some of the long-term coaches at our schools.
Doug Morris and Dave Poetzinger, Louie Walters, Ken Pollastrini, Mark Brown, Jim Hart, the Troxell’s, Doug Chase, Ken Kannegaard, Jared Norman, Rich Hager, Shane Sutcliffe and Thea Jorgensen, Rob Collins (and many more) who have spent thousands of hours improving young people’s lives. My hat goes off to Julie Haff who is retiring this year after a wonderful career as an educator with SLV.
These are just a sprinking of the wonderful people who make up the valleys we live in, and I will miss working with all of you. Thank you for all of your support over the years. It has truly been my pleasure working in our community.
Finally, I certainly encourage all of our readers to continue reading the Press-Banner regularly and supporting the businesses that advertise in the paper. In order for the Press-Banner to be a free newspaper, there must be enough advertising to support it. It’s really a straightforward formula. If you read the paper and visit local businesses to purchase goods and services, you are doing your part in supporting our community newspaper.
So, I bid the Press-Banner adieu. And in the words of famous TV journalist Edward R. Murrow, “Good night, and good luck.”
- Peter Burke served as editor of the Press-Banner from July 2009 to April 2014.