I have been in the newspaper industry since I was 11 years old, thanks to my stepdad.

My grandpa Earl and Grandma “Tootie” owned the Goodhue County Tribune, the Pine Island Record, Mazeppa Journal, Wanamingo Progress and the Covington, Okla., Record. When my stepdad and my mom married, we had a family “print shop” and ended up owning the Pine Island Record in Pine Island, Minn.

I have also worked for a couple of other newspapers in Minnesota - The Lake City Graphic in Lake City and the Post Bulletin in Rochester. My mother owned and operated a real estate magazine in the Rochester area. Times were sure different back then.

Through it all, I found my niche in graphic design. Creativity is an addiction for me. I’ve been working for the Aitkin Independent Age and the Mille Lacs Messenger since November 2012 as a graphic designer. It is a craft and a science – and the design can tell a story all at once. I truly love creating something that the customer or reader can feel.

My family and I had moved “up north” in October of the same year. Although I had been out of the newspaper industry for a few years, it all came back to me like riding a bike. Working with design guru, Diana Banks, pushed me to try to become an even better designer. I create advertisements for the newspaper and special sections for both newspapers. I also do most of the website and Facebook updating as well as photo adjusting.

When Adams Publishing Group acquired both of the newspapers in 2017, I was hired on as an independent contractor for graphic design of special sections. When typesetter Mary MacArthur moved on, I added typesetting to my list of responsibilities for the Aitkin Age and once again the photo adjusting and website/Facebook administration. I have also worked with Tidholm Productions and created community education brochures for the Aitkin and Crosby-Ironton school districts.

Although I have never really written before, at least not for a newspaper, I’m now in a position to add yet another skill to my resume, writing. I asked advice from some writers in the office on “how to write for the paper.” They suggested I write about something that evokes passion.

While pondering what to write about for a first column, I was ultimately inspired by Monday’s deadline and decided to introduce myself. I am first a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt, a daughter and a friend.

I am also involved with Scooby’s Animal Mission. Currently, I have three of my own dogs (one I adopted from SAM), a cat, my granddaughter’s dog and am caring for a hospice dog. I love gardening and am involved with the Aitkin Farmers Market when I can be.

But I also bleed ink. The Aitkin Age is like my home and the crew is like my second family.

Hello, Aitkin. You are the friend I’ve known and the place I love to call home.

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