Title quote – Sheriff Jason McCullough, Support your Local Sheriff (1969)
by Janice Christensen
When I arrived in Riverwest in 1999, I was just passing through. I had been on the road for a couple of years, passing through intentional communities in Wisconsin, Colorado, California and Oregon. I had been living by my wits, picking up paying gigs wherever I could find them. I had phrases in my vocabulary like, “This looks promising,” and, “Time to get out of Dodge.”
Much to my surprise, I didn’t “pass through” Riverwest.
Instead, I found a job that paid me to do what I knew was my passion, working with groups of people in a lively, artistic, cantankerous community. I spent the next fourteen years, more or less, serving Riverwest as a community organizer – a job I will be leaving as of the end of September.
A decade ago I took on the job of editing the Riverwest Currents – in fact, this issue marks my tenth anniversary.
It has been a marvelous adventure. Every month we managed to put out a paper with as much news, information, opinion and fun as we could stuff into the pages of the Currents. Through the years I worked shoulder to shoulder with great people. Vince Bushell has been our anchor as publisher. Tess Reiss was our indefatigable ad manager and detail-oriented proofreader. Tea Krulos, Michael Cothroll, J. Jason Groschopf and Laura Maker have served as comics editors. So many excellent writers and photographers have worked on the paper that I hesitate to single any of them out, but I want to mention my gratitude to Ellen C. Warren, Peggy Schulz, Suzanne Zipperer, Jim Loew and Peter DiAntoni who have, time and again, gone above and beyond the call of duty to turn out consistently excellent work. All of you who I am not mentioning, please know that I appreciate and am grateful to each and every one of you!
We’ve been through some challenging times. The Recession of 2008 destroyed many small publications in our city and nation-wide, and it almost pulled us under. But we tightened our belts, cut back on pages, relied more than ever on the talented volunteers in our neighborhood, and we made it through.
Now it’s time for something new.
In July Lee Gutowski joined our staff as Ad Manager, when Tess Reiss took a full-time position at City Hall. With the next issue I will be handing over the reins to a new editor, Alice Waraxa, a Riverwest-born native with a degree from MIAD who is going to start a whole new era for the Riverwest Currents. Vince will remain as publisher, enjoying his never-ending task of managing the crazy personalities that coalesce onc e a month to produce another issue.
I’m not going too far away. I will retain the title of Editor Emeritus of the Riverwest Currents. I have to hang around at least long enough to write all those Letters from Zagora and figure out how to send them back in time to myself to publish in the paper, or it’s going to play merry hell with the time-space continuum.
I’ll also be doing something new on the organizing front. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but I’m beginning to see the outlines of it, and it looks like a lot of fun.
This winter I plan to spend some time in Southern California with my friend Dr. Dave Schemberger. We have been partners in adventure for many years, and it’s going to be fun to hang out with him and be footloose and fancy free for a little while. We’ll see where that all leads.
I’ll be back in the spring, all things being equal. I’ll see you in the garden!