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Time has flown since a job recruiter contacted me and I inked a contract in November 2022. My first columns for the Daily News-Miner told of the driving challenges my wife Gosia and I faced as we moved from a house on the Indiana-Ohio border to Fairbanks by navigating the ALCAN in mid-winter.

On Saturday, as the light of day ebbed, Gosia and I headed east on College Road just as a westbound car kicked a chunk of rock or ice into my driver’s side window. The glass shattered into a mosaic of crystals but stayed intact a few seconds until pieces fell harmlessly onto the road and into the cab. We were lucky it held. Flying shards might have injured us.

A friend informed us that researchers at Alfred University in New York State, led by chemist Frank Hyde, developed a process for laminating glass layers with a clear plastic material called polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This innovation became a standard feature in car windshields, enhancing passenger safety by reducing the risk of injuries from broken glass during accidents, Norm Pollard told me.

This sure is a time of transition for us. Early this morning, Gosia flew to Indiana to winterize our Indiana house. In October, I submitted one month’s notice to the Daily News-Miner. My former office decorations such as a WWII Ernie Pyle war correspondent action figure, my old Indianapolis Clowns jersey, and a giant Alaska map sit boxed in my garage.

I thank the present editorial and ad sales staff, editorial board, managers, and freelance contributors for their efforts putting out local news and sports, our mission. I am proud of the articles, editorials, columns, and photos we published. I was privileged to meet and often to interview Alaska lawmakers, mushers, business leaders, athletes, Indigenous leaders, artists, craftspersons and flat-out interesting characters.

All that remains is for me to thank you readers. You called, wrote letters, offered constructive criticism, and sent greeting cards.

I was lucky enough to be a footnote in the history of this storied newspaper. I now will work from Fairbanks as a remote columnist for the Winchester (Indiana) News-Gazette, while courting job options and finishing a contracted biography of Kurt Vonnegut.

Gosia and I not only plan to stay active in Fairbanks Rotary and volunteer activities such as a proposed homeless shelter, but we both will act in the Fairbanks Drama Association’s “Miracle on 34th Street” Dec. 1-17. I’m playing Kris Kringle, and she plays a Macy’s cosmetics counter salesperson. I get to sing a Christmas carol in Polish. Ho, ho, ho.

Best of luck to my as-yet unchosen FDNM successor. An ad for my replacement seeks a managing editor with “Ability to act aggressively, but (who) also possesses excellent intercommunication skills in dealing with both employees and the public.”

I wonder if Clark Kent’s boss, tough-talking, aggressive Perry White of the Metropolis Daily Planet, might apply? Great Caesar’s ghost! Just don’t call him “Chief” if you know what’s good for you.

Winners and Sinners

Winner: Hats off to the eye-opening reporting of Anchorage Daily News/ProPublica reporter Kyle Hopkins who found systematic corruption, coverup, and law enforcement procedural failure in the deaths of two Kotzebue women. The reporting and writing deserve his second Pulitzer Prize.