The wetlands near the Juneau International Airport, facing the Mendenhall Glacier. Photo courtesy of Clara Miller.

The wetlands near the Juneau International Airport, facing the Mendenhall Glacier. Photo courtesy of Clara Miller.

Farewell, from the CCW Editor

This July 18 issue will be my last working for the Capital City Weekly.

I’ve found working at my local newspaper has made me see my hometown in a new way. There are so many people I might have never met, stories heard, events attended, places visited, or knowledge gained if it wasn’t for my three years here. I will always be grateful for these experiences.

I started at the Juneau Empire in the summer of 2015, fresh out of college. I assisted the editor at the time, Charles Westmoreland, by performing news clerking duties as I learned about the world of newspapers from him. In the spring of 2016, I became the Neighbors editor, deciding upon content that would go in the Sunday section, coordinating the columnists and the occasional freelancer, and writing feature articles. In the fall, I took on the staff writer position for the Capital City Weekly.

The Capital City Weekly covers arts, culture and community happenings in Southeast Alaska, subjects which had interested me for a long time, so I found the position to be a wonderful fit. Mary Catharine Martin, editor at the time, was a thoughtful mentor from whom I learned a great deal.

For my first trip, she sent me to Skagway to cover yuletide festivities and look at the new exhibits opening for the Klondike Gold Rush Historical Park. Winter in Skagway is different than what tourists see in the summer, but just as welcoming. Downtown was quiet with the tourist shops closed, only the occasional person tromping through the dusk and slush, but the streets soon brightened with families lining the streets to see Santa drive in on a fire engine and flip the light switch on the town’s Christmas tree. Many swung by to see the new exhibits at the park afterward, too. From personal experience, I can say Skagway is a great place to accidentally get snowed in for an extra day.

I also visited Haines to learn about the improvements on the American Bald Eagle Foundation’s raptor center, and Sitka, to cover the Sitka Jazz Festival as well as the city’s first legal pot shop Weed Dudes.

As staff writer, one of the best parts of the job was seeing the positive effect words could bring. One instance that comes to mind is an early article I wrote on the Kake Community Library. For 16 years it had remained closed, but due to the determined efforts of volunteers, the doors reopened. During an interview, a volunteer informed me some books in the collection were damaged and the most recently printed books were almost two decades old. That information went into the article with details on how to send in books if readers wished. At the time I figured a few people would decide to send in few newer books they no longer wanted. I was wrong. Months later that same volunteer wrote to tell me that after the article went out, boxes of books from around Southeast started arriving at the library to replenish the shelves — about 500 books total. This is only one of many times I’ve gotten to witness Southeast’s generosity but they are all memorable.

In May of 2017, my editor left for five months to research a book she was writing, leaving me as interim editor until her return. When she left permanently in March 2018, I became the editor. Many parts of the job would bring a smile to my face, like seeing what beautiful and artistic photos would be submitted to Art in Unusual Places, or working with poets and writers on creative pieces for Writers’ Weir. Also, there’s nothing quite like holding a week’s effort fresh off the press.

I’m going to miss the Capital City Weekly but have decided it’s time to move on to new things. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I’m excited to see where I’ll be five years from now. Five years ago, I certainly wouldn’t have expected that I would write for or even one day edit the publication I used to flip through as a child.

To all of you, thank you for sharing your stories with me and reading the Capital City Weekly.


• Clara Miller is the editor of the Capital City Weekly. Her last day with the paper was Tuesday, July 17. Looking to reach the CCW? Email editor@capweekly.com.


More in Neighbors

Visitors look at an art exhibit by Eric and Pam Bealer at Alaska Robotics that is on display until Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Conservation Society)
Neighbors briefs

Art show fundraiser features works from Alaska Folk Festival The Sitka Conservation… Continue reading

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski meets with Thunder Mountain High School senior Elizabeth Djajalie in March in Washington, D.C., when Djajalie was one of two Alaskans chosen as delegates for the Senate Youth Program. (Photo courtesy U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office)
Neighbors: Juneau student among four National Honor Society Scholarship Award winners

TMHS senior Elizabeth Djajalie selected from among nearly 17,000 applicants.

(Photo by Gina Delrosario)
Living and Growing: Divine Mercy Sunday

Part one of a two-part series

A handmade ornament from a previous U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree)
Neighbors briefs

Ornaments sought for 2024 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree The Alaska Region of… Continue reading

(Photo courtesy of The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
Neighbors: Tunic returned to the Dakhl’aweidí clan

After more than 50 years, the Wooch dakádin kéet koodás’ (Killerwhales Facing… Continue reading

The 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest winning painting of an American Wigeon titled “Perusing in the Pond” by Jade Hicks, a student at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
THMS student Jade Hicks wins 2024 Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Contest

Jade Hicks, 18, a student at Thunder Mountain High School, took top… Continue reading

(City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors Briefs

Registration for Parks & Rec summer camps opens April 1 The City… Continue reading

Easter eggs in their celebratory stage, before figuring out what to do once people have eaten their fill. (Photo by Depositphotos via AP)
Gimme A Smile: Easter Eggs — what to do with them now?

From Little League practice to practicing being POTUS, there’s many ways to get cracking.

A fruit salad that can be adjusted to fit the foods of the season. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: A Glorious Fruit Salad for a Company Dinner

Most people don’t think of a fruit salad as a dessert. This… Continue reading

Pictured from left to right are Shannon Easterly, Sam Cheng, Alex Mallott, Edward Hu, Leif St. Clair, Peyton Edmunds and Shelby Nesheim. The five students in the middle are the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé team that won the Tsunami Bowl in Seward on March 22-24. (Photo courtesy of National Ocean Sciences Bowl)
Neighbors: Team of five JDHS students wins Tsunami Bowl

Five students from Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé won the Tsunami Bowl,… Continue reading