RBC | A special thank you this week to all the staff at the Rio Blanco Herald Times, but especially Niki Turner. I write an “occasional” column in the newspaper. It started out as a crazy idea I had in order to bring “public” back to public health. To get health information to the masses and challenge people to think.
I decided a year ago to walk into the newspaper office and pitch my idea. I distinctly remember Niki sitting in an office alcove near the front desk. I assumed she was a receptionist and proceeded to explain the nature of my visit. I was taken back when she said, “I’m the owner and editor.” Wow, I actually met the editor!
She embraced my idea and soon my typing hands and thoughts started to work. I submitted articles and immediately found them in print! Niki has been helpful when I put a comma in the wrong spot or maybe forget to check spelling. I quickly learned that my weakness was choosing a title for my columns. I wasn’t sure how long, what words, how to catch the reader’s attention. Niki and her staff now routinely help with the title of my article. They are supportive of most any topic, no matter how edgy. Thank you.
It is gut wrenching to hear and read about the death of Niki and Pat’s son. I never met Ethan, but by reading about him in the newspaper I feel like I did. I still can’t believe amidst the tremendous grief of the Turner family, the paper still went to print, and coverage was fantastic of our county-wide news. Rio Blanco county is blessed with a fantastic newspaper that is shedding the reputation of being a “Meeker only” paper. I am learning more about both communities with informative articles, great photos and balanced news. The newspaper and Facebook page is the most accurate news we have in the county.
My job as public health director is to provide assurance that all residents’ health and wellness needs are met. It is a big job and one never completed. It is a job I cannot do alone, it takes collaboration, relationships, shared work and partners. I am proud to say that Rio Blanco Herald Times has been a critical partner, simply by allowing me space in the paper to share my thoughts. Thank you Niki and staff, you are a blessing to this community and I am so sorry for your loss.
By JULIE DRAKE | RBC Director of Public Health