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It’s great to be back in central Indiana.
Having previously lived in the region for 16 years, I’m on familiar ground. The first time, the digital directional readout on my car dashboard pointed north from the Circle City. This time, three years later, it’s pointing south. Despite the 180-degree turn, my internal compass tells me I’m in exactly the right place.
Thank goodness for that.
Like me, others also have found their way to Columbus in response to professional opportunities. We’ve come here to work but also to enjoy the area’s fine quality of life.
Between 2000 and 2010, the city’s population increased by 5,000, a whopping 12.8 percent. In just the past year, Bartholomew County employers have added 2,000 jobs.
More jobs, more people, more stories for Republic reporters to write, explaining the impact this trend is having on the market.
Soon after landing here, I ran into other newcomers at the housing complex that is home for now — a place that specializes in accommodating the temporary shelter needs of people needing to quickly move into the market to start a new job.
Newcomers like me are also out exploring the town, learning where to find the various other things we need.
On my first full day in the city, circumstances brought me and another newcomer together. I needed a haircut, her shop was open on a Sunday, and she had an empty chair. I sat down.
“I need you to make me look good,” I said matter-of-factly to Ciera, the shop manager, who had just located here from Aurora, near Lawrenceburg along the Ohio border. Admittedly, that could be a challenge.
“I’m the new editor at The Republic, and I start my new job tomorrow,” I explained.
To this point, the initial banter sounded like small talk. And it was. But it was also a segue to something that was about to be more than that.
“I’m going to get my picture taken for the weekly newspaper column I’ll be writing. Just so you know, our readers are going to be looking at the haircut you’re about to give me — and they’re going to be seeing it every week, probably for years to come.”
“No pressure there,” quipped Ciera, who picked up her shears and went to work.
The next day, I did too. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wear a stocking cap over my head.
I have been in the publishing business my whole adult life, having gotten the itch while still in high school. Decades later, after professional stops that began in my native Wisconsin, then took me to Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and now back to Indiana, I haven’t come across a talcum powder that could make that itch go away.
No matter where you go and what you do, there are things that connect us to each other.
For example, salon manager Ciera trims and shapes hair to make it look good. I help shape our news coverage, making sure stories are complete, accurate, relevant and insightful — and not any longer than they should be.
The Republic strives to be the primary news and information source that brings people together in Bartholomew County and places nearby, no matter who they are or where they come from. When you open our newspaper and pore through the pages, I hope you will see yourself or others like you.
If you have ideas on the types of stories you would like to see appear in The Republic, this editor is all ears. Thanks to Ciera, you can even see them.
Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. He can be reached by phone at 379-5665 or email at email@example.com
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