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Thanks for the memories, Longboat

Community editor Katie Johns reflects on her time with Longboat Observer before heading off to a new job in her hometown.

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  • | 5:00 a.m. May 16, 2019
Police Chief Pete Cumming, Katie Johns and Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi
Police Chief Pete Cumming, Katie Johns and Fire Rescue Chief Paul Dezzi
  • Longboat Key
  • Neighbors
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By the time you read this, I will be gone.

My editor jokingly said I had to start with that sentence, so I had to oblige.

But in all seriousness, he is correct. Like many of you snowbirds who have or are getting ready to fly back north, I’m going with you. My stay there, though, will be permanent.

After almost three years as a staff writer and community editor with the Longboat Observer, I am turning in my press pass on May 15 for a new challenge. Starting in about a week, I will be an assistant editor at Modern Salon magazine, a publication for beauty professionals and consumers, in my hometown of Buffalo Grove, Ill.

It’s sure to be much different than what I’ve been doing since June 23, 2016, my first day with the Observer.

I probably won’t be writing about swans or hurricanes or pickleball.

But the reporting skills I’ve gathered while here will help me, thanks to you all. You’ve taught me to ask as many questions as possible, to fact check every detail and, most of all, to listen.

Before reporting on Longboat Key, I had never set foot in Florida. I had pinned it as Disney World, beaches and palm trees, but you all have shown me it’s a lot more.

I did not expect to step on an island full of residents who cared for it so deeply.

So because of that, I wanted to thank you. Over the past three years, you’ve taken me in as one of your own. You’ve let me take your picture thousands of times and never got mad if I needed a reminder on how to spell your name. 

You’ve tried to feed me countless meals and scolded me when I said “no.”

You never made fun of me for not understanding pop culture references from the 1970s even though I know you really, really wanted to.

I could take up three more pages sharing memories and stories you’ve all left me with, but there’s actual news to report, so, for all of your hospitality and lessons, thank you.

It’s harder to say goodbye than I thought, but I’m sure I’ll be back for a visit. As many of you have reminded me over the past few days, the Midwest gets cold.

If I knock on your door, please let me in. I’d love to catch up.


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