Editor’s note-this is a personal account of our journey to Kanab. The Southern Utah News will be moving to a new location at 245 S. 200 E., the old Southwest Public Health building. If I wax a bit nostalgic or editorialize a little, please give me a little latitude.

 

In 1993, we had a choice to make. One of our four sons had serious asthma and was having nearly life-threatening attacks. Our doctor in Madison, WI said we might want to consider moving to a drier climate.

That was a challenge. Dennis was a partner with his father and brother in a successful lumber wholesale business. I was a freelance travel and feature writer, and also worked as a humor columnist and editor for a newspaper in Wisconsin.

Life had seemed safe at the time. We were (moderately) financially stable, both of our families were in the area. We were happy there, had good friend and family support, and we were comfortable and the boys were thriving.

But as every parent knows, your childrens’ health issues are more important than anything. We were told with Dennis’ business skills and my writing skills, we might want to look into buying a small paper. We looked into several newspapers including Tucson and Sedona, but the small newspaper owned by the Marlin Brown family in Kanab seemed a better fit.

I told our sons that life was an adventure and that we were embarking on a new one. I’ll never forget looking in the rearview mirror of the U-haul when we left, watching our home disappear and feeling...lost. Had we made the right decision? I worried about education here, since all four were great in midwest schools, and sports...that was seriously important to them.

After making the decision to buy the Southern Utah News, we were then just blessed by people willing to help us. My publishers in Wisconsin worked with and trained Dennis in computer layout and newspaper managing skills. I honed up on writing more news stories. Once we got to Kanab, Marlin and Matt Brown spent countless hours over several weeks helping us learn the production and marketing end of producing the paper. They were tireless in helping us to succeed.

Our first office was in small quarters in the back of the current Verizon store. We later moved into a larger office at 26 North Main, where we’ve been since. My mom, Ruthie Koontz, moved here with us and was an important fixture at the office as our receptionist and participated in the community until her death. I’m so lucky to have had her as a mom, and she was good for the community. Ruthie got involved and became an important fixture here. Her funeral (thanks to the kindness of the LDS church community) was held and the church was overflowing.

Ruthie and our family’s affiliation was with the United Church of Kanab and Fredonia. I mention that only because it has not only been where we worship, but our best friends who we value incredibly, and have supported us throughout everyone’s up and downs were within the congregation, and have always...always, been there for us.

The years have gone by rapidly. When we came here, our youngest son Cody was in first grade, Kyle was in fourth grade, Rory was in sixth grade and our oldest son Jeremy was a freshman. Now our oldest son is 32, and our youngest son is 25. They enjoyed a great education and life here in Kanab, especially sports. They’ve all had success in their adult lives. Jeremy is the producer for the Jazz basketball team, Rory is an online business and sports editor for Yahoo, Kyle works for Skywest Airlines, and Cody is a sports editor at Yahoo. They all graduated from Utah colleges and bonus…I’m ‘over the roof’ proud of them (no matter what Old Crankcase says).

When I first moved here, I thought I was in for a boring career. Nothing could be farther from the truth! I’ve met actors, presidents, heads of state, interesting personalities, and normal Joes. I’ve been stuck in quicksand, and spent all night out rescuing someone. I’ve done stories that have been picked up internationally.

We’ve been lucky to have excellent employees, former and current, that have helped Dennis and I look good, and have always been there for us. Current employees include our receptionist Sharlotte Brewer (who showed up when Ruthie passed away, offering to work as long as we needed her...we still do), Hilda Fivecoat (another crazy transplanted Midwestern gal who handles our books and advertising), and Larry Sorensen (new to Kanab, but a great find for us, who does printing and graphic design).

We also have some great stringers reporting for us... Myrna Cox, Carol Sullivan, Tracy Hiscock, Jeff Frey, Kelly Hilding and Mary Ellen Craven...all who do a great job writing for us, so we can print it for you to read.

We’ve been embraced and welcomed in Kanab. People have shown incredible tolerance in understanding that ‘we aren’t from here’. The Southern Utah News has been successful largely because people were willing to accept that we don’t always share the same views, but that we have been a good asset to the local communities. Intelligent dialog is a good thing!

Dennis and I call Kanab home now. The extraordinary scenery, friendly people and great atmosphere are something we’ve come to value and cherish. We’re banking on the future becoming even brighter for this area. Thank you northern Arizona and southern Utah for allowing us to serve you as your small town newspaper.