Hello from the new Neighbors editor

I’ve been with the Juneau Empire since August of last year, and am now assuming the role of Neighbors editor. When I first started at the Empire, I was a recent college grad with limited experience in the world of newspapers, but I found welcoming people willing to introduce me. It’s been a positive environment — there has always been someone willing to answer questions, give guidance or crack a smile with. There’s a sense of community, of people supporting each other as they write stories and make deadlines and produce the paper day after day.

I view the Neighbors section in a similar way. When I started as the news clerk at the Empire and helped out with the section, I got to see the thank you letters come pouring in as organizations and people showed gratitude to one another for generosity shown; read about fundraisers and events meant to help one another or raise awareness about key issues; saw students and other community members push themselves in their studies or chosen fields and witnessed the fruition of their efforts; read columns by talented writers who tried to find the sunny side of life through lessons in personal experiences or just something to laugh about. It can be easy to forget the good happening around us.

So often in the news we read about what’s wrong with the world, and don’t always spend much time on what is going right. Here I’d like to continue to share that with all of you, and to point out the interesting occurrences happening right at home.

Since working here, I’ve met so many fascinating people with intriguing stories who I likely never would have interacted with if I didn’t work here. I could have passed these people on the streets and never known of their colorful life experiences or struggles. I’ve gotten the chance to talk to local reality TV stars who appeared on an Alaska show; seen how a former Iraqi refugee is giving back by welcoming Syrian refugees to America by collecting household items for them to start their new lives; peeked behind someone’s fence and taken a tour of the secret garden he was growing; tasted the food of a woman who quit her day job in an office to realize her dream of opening her own food truck; walked around a new house an anonymous Juneau couple built for cancer patients traveling to Juneau for treatment; even got to pet the nose of a long-lived pony who was said to be as mischievous as he was adorable.

I’m a Juneau girl, born and raised, and yet, this job has let me learn even more of Juneau’s rich history. I’ve learned about the silver service of the U.S.S. Juneau, and got to see it returned home where it now rests protected behind glass at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Around that same period of time, the Satko family from Virginia, filled with pioneering spirit, built what came to be known as the Ark of Juneau, and sailed from Washington state to Juneau; the Buick engine that powered the Ark can still be found on the beach by Territorial Gov. Ernest Gruening’s cabin. It was privilege to speak to Paul Satkos’s grandson about his family, and I had a great time playing sleuth to figure out where the remains of the Ark rested.

To Juneau, I ask you to continue sharing with me your stories, recognitions, news items and snap shots of local events. I look forward to continuing to get to know all of you and seeing the sunny side of Juneau life.

• For Neighbors submissions, email neighbors@juneauempire.com. Contact Clara Miller at 523-2243 or at clara.miller@juneauempire.com.

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