How quickly three years have passed me by

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

As I was driving down U.S. 52 last Thursday, my oldest son, Brandon, said to me, "Hey Dad, do you know you have been at The Ironton Tribune three years today?"

Now in the back of my mind, I knew my third anniversary with the newspaper was coming up, though I did not remember the exact date. Sure enough, a look through our January 2001 bound volumes verified Brandon's observation. How quickly the time has passed by.

Three years is not a long time by no means, but a lot has happened in Lawrence County since I've been here. These are just a few that stick out in my mind:

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4No sooner than I got settled into my office on Jan. 8, 2001, the River Valley situation was starting to surface. A mere few weeks later, the hospital was closed. Now, three years later, the building remains empty.

4A few days prior to my arrival, Elizabeth Keating allegedly shot her business partner, Debra Dickens. I watched the case make its way through the legal system and in July, Keating was sentenced to six years in prison on attempted aggravated murder and theft charges.

4I have watched as some exciting economic development news has come out of Lawrence County. Duke Energy has constructed an energy plant in Hamilton Township and Calpine has signed a tax abatement plan and expects to start building a $550 million facility next year. Meanwhile, The Point and the South Ironton Industrial Park have made strides in landing tenants. Ohio University Southern has grown with addition of the Bill Dingus Technology Center and plans for the OUS Proctorville Center and the Center for Development, which will be constructed at The Point.

4Patriot's Point at Woodland Cemetery was dedicated, honoring the area's veterans with inscribed bricks, a monument and two restored Parrott rifles. Meanwhile, after being closed for more than three years, the bridge to the Ironton side of the cemetery was constructed.

4In 2002, the Chesapeake Bypass project finally got under way. While some of the project has been completed or is under construction, the final two phases were not funded through the TRAC committe's funding list for 2005-2010.

4Every time I drive out State Route 93, I will remember the ice storm of February 2003. Never have I seen something that, at first glance, appeared to be a moderate winter storm cause so much damage. The area looked like a war zone.

4Without a doubt, the most memorable moment of my three years at The Tribune was Sept. 11, 2001. As we were working on deadline, a co-worker's wife called to tell us the World Trade Center had been hit by an airplane. After that, we turned on the television set in the newsroom and watched, firsthand, as the rest of the day's events unfolded. The days after - the utter shock, dismay and grief of Americans and Lawrence County in particular - are moments I will never forget.

4Lastly, I think the newspaper has come a long way during my three years as managing editor. By no means am I taking credit for the improvements, but I think, collectively, the folks we have on staff in all of our departments have a common goal - to produce the best community newspaper around - and have worked hard to achieve this goal.

In my three years here, I have discovered Lawrence County is truly a great place to work, live and raise a family. The residents of our communities are some of the friendliest I've ever met, and I am proud to say that I am Lawrence countianr and plan to be a Lawrence countian for many more to come.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445, extension 19 or via e-mail at shawn.