My big news

So, the big news that I’ve been hinting to the past couple of days is that Danah and I are closing down The Oak Ridge Observer, the paper that we’ve been running the past nine years. (Well, technically, my ex-wife helped me run it the first couple of years, but Danah jumped in and helped me run it the last five.)

I’m still processing how I feel about all this, but more than anything, I feel relieved. As my friends know, I’ve worked my tail off the past nine years and while I’ve had the time of my life,  it’s time for the next phase of my life.

Now, for a quick trip down memory lane. A quick photo essay, of my past nine years with The Oak Ridge Observer…

(Note: Click on the first photo of the newspaper banner and a pretty cool slideshow will begin that shows captions!)

Thanks for watching. Danah and I are looking forward to 2014, and whatever new direction our life takes!

UPDATE:

First media report: After nine-year run, Oak Ridge Observer closes.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.

158 thoughts on “My big news

    • Stan I have faith in believing you and Danah will move on to something greater. When one door closes another one opens.things happen for a reason sometimes we don’t allways know why, so hold your head up high and move on. You and Danah are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you both. Come and see us when you can.

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  1. What do you say, congratulations, good luck or great job all these killing it? The feeling of relief says toe you are doing the right thing. If you start noodling I will go fishing you. Happy New Year Todd Schuchart

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  2. I know it’s been a tough decision to make, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. When the dust clears, hope to see some Mexican Heat! SF.

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  3. I was afraid that was what the big news was about. I was hoping you’d just switch to online rather than shutting down. Either that or you’d won the lottery and were going to start publishing daily. (Yeah, I know, limp.)

    Best of luck to you. The Observer was a quality product, the best around, and we’ll miss it. You’re talented, and whatever you choose to do (fishing???) will be a blessing.

    So what are you going to do for money, other than let it leak out all over the place? Putting Danah on a street corner in mesh tights? Have a booth at the city festivals and offer to write columns as requested by passersby?

    Will you be staying in Oak Ridge or migrating to the beach on a permanent basis?

    Gor blimey, I’ll miss you.

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  4. Good luck Stan. I know how hard it is to give up something you’ve worked so hard for. My health forced us out of the publishing industry, but we spent 22 wonderful years in it, and met many good people. Artists, writers, and historians. Whatever you do, you’ll succeed. Keep writing, it’s the best therapy. It has kept my mind active eleven years after the stroke. God Bless.

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    • Thanks for the comment, Tom. Holy cow, yet another thing we have in common!!!

      At the rate we’re going, I’m waiting for you to say you’re an uncle of mine or something…

      And here’s to much therapy to us both in 2014!!!

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  5. Stan, I’m proud you and of your hard work to help keep the community informed. I know what ever you do you will give it your all, that’s just who you are.
    Thank you for publishing my photos over the years, it has meant allot to me.

    John Westcott

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  6. I remember the red rack purchase well and putting on all those logo decals…they were a big hit, as was the locations listing on page two. In my opinion the biggest thing early on was our scooping the February Oak Ridger Progress Report with our Community Growth in January. It was a fun working with you. Best of luck.

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  7. Stan, Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your dream for 4 1/2 years. I appreciate your support of the individuals I served.

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    • Thanks, Norm. You guys have been great to work with, and in those nearly five years, you all have never let us down.

      As I’ve said to you before, it made my day each and every week to cut a check to folks who were so appreciative to have a job.

      Your nonprofit agency write this on their site: “It has been our experience that individuals with disabilities WANT to work, earn money and increase their independence. Statistics show that when given a chance, they are rarely absent and strive harder to meet employer standards. These potential employees VALUE their jobs.

      Without question, I can vouch for those statements as an absolute fact. Let me know if I can write a letter of reference or anything else.

      (For those who don’t know — or in case I forget in fifty years — Norm works with Emory Valley Center. They are a non-profit agency that serves children and adults with disabilities. http://www.emoryvalleycenter.com)

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  8. Whatever you and Danah do, it will be great. You guys are so talented, smart, and hard-working. The Observer will be missed and I cherish the memories of when I was a part of it. Best wishes and keep us posted on what happens next!

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  9. Dearest Son & Daughter-In-Law, Like Todd, what do you say? Besides sickness or death, this is the saddest news I’ve had and if I can quit crying long enough, I will try to tell you how I feel. Dad and I have been so proud of you, to not be afraid to “Follow Your Dreams”! In spite of all the work (including 24 hour days), trials, disappointments, and everything else you have encountered, you have persevered through it all. Don’t know of anyone else, (except a Marine) who would have endured what you and Danah have in the last nine years. But thank GOD for all the joys and blessings you have had also and that is what we have to remember. I know everyone in Oak Ridge are as proud of you, as we are, and as sad as we are (or more) to not be able to enjoy THE OAK RIDGE OBSERVER every week. Keep GOD first in your lives, which we always tried to show and teach you, and HE will open a door for you all, far beyong your expectations! Dad and Mom, and all your family are here for you at any time day or night. Also I will be looking forward to more Fishing, Cracker Barrell, etc. and Family time with you both. LOVE & PRAYERS TO THE WHOLE OAK RIDGE OBSERVER STAFF!!!!! Dad & Mom. (Marvin & Kathy Mitchell). All things work together for good to them that love GOD. Romans 8:28

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    • Thanks, Mom, for the kind words. You and Dad have definitely been on a roller coaster ride with us, these past few years, and that was even with us trying to hide much of the pain and uncertainty from you.

      Love,
      Stan

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      • What are Dad’s and Mom’s for? We would have loved to bear more of the burden with you, instead of the uncertainty of how you were doing. We are always here for you! Please lean on us! LOVE & PRAYERS, MOM& DAD

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  10. I’m going to be pasting in comments from my facebook, since I don’t think facebook will be here 50 years from now, and I’d like to remember what was said. (If you’ve subscribed to these comments, I apologize, since your email may get bombarded, but please allow me this courtesy in this special circumstance.)

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    • Jeff Haws: “9 years longer than I thought you’d make it. Maybe 10. You guys proved me wrong with every day you made this happen, and I’m proud of everything you accomplished. I still remember the day you walked into the Daily Beacon office the summer of 2002, you started talking to me, and I thought, “I’ve gotta figure out how to use this guy.” I certainly never regretted that. I also remember sitting at your computer when the paper was still just a theory, discussing strategy and marketing approach.

      “I didn’t think the paper could work at all, and I was clearly wrong. To my slight credit, though, I thought that, if anyone could make it a reality, that person was Stan. And I’ve seen what a fantastic inspiration Danah has been for you. All the best to both of you. You’ve taken this thing further than anyone as stupid as me could possibly expect. Can’t wait to see/read what you do next.”

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  11. Meg McDermott: “Wow. That IS news. Did a good job!”

    Rajendra Jain: “Sorry to hear that Stan R. Mitchell will be shutting down the Oak Ridge Observer.”

    Diane Kerley Long: “Oh, no!!!! So sorry to hear this…”

    Karen McNeal Dypolt: Too bad! I find it a very well written paper!”

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  12. Russel Langley: “As a door closes for me one is opening. But this sad sad news greatly impacts my boss, editor, drill sergeant, mentor, and damn good friend, Stan R. Mitchell.

    “I can never repay my debt to you and Danah. You are a great boss, mentor, and friend. God’s speed and Semper Fi brother!”

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    • Yes, that’s correct. I considered putting Mandy in the photo essay, giving her credit she absolutely deserves, but that gets tricky. One, I’m not sure she’d want her photo up on a VERY public site. And two, some might see that as a shot at Danah.

      So, it was a tricky situation that pretty much left me in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.

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  13. Ellen Smith: “Very sorry to get this news, Stan, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I’m not going to “like” this posting, but I’m happy to say “Here’s to the new year, and your next adventures!””

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  14. Angeleque McNutt: “All I can say is Thank You, for seeing our town in a different light and putting your heart and soul into sharing it with us. This is not the end for you my friend, you are far too talented. Excited to see where your journey leads from here. God bless you.”

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    • Thanks, Cortney! I’m glad our paths crossed and my gut tells me we’ll be sharing our adventures with each other in the years to come!

      Can’t wait to keep up with your blog and writing journey. I’m not much of a fantasy fan, but I can’t wait to read your book!

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  15. Jessica Brock: “We are so sorry to hear the news. You and Danah Akin Mitchell created a wonderful paper. Can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you both. Best of luck!”

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  16. Adam Moore: “Best wishes to you and Danah. I’m blessed to know you both. I’m confident God has wonderful things in store for you in the year ahead. I admire you immensely for chasing your dream, few have the guts to take a chance and pour themselves into an endeavor as you all have. Take care.”

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  17. Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank:

    “Stan—

    “You are a warrior. You were 9 years ago and still are. And you are a great writer and I know great things are ahead for you and your best friend and true love, Danah.

    “Suffering and trial are always the most difficult to understand, but as I try to constantly remind not only myself, but also others, we are constantly being shaped and molded. And like iron hammered and heated, most of our shaping comes through pain. And to be useful, we must be shaped.

    “This is a tough economy, Stan—and we’re still not back from 2008. Many years of recovery are ahead. And locally, though there is light ahead, it’s still tough. I look at the numbers. Heck, I ran on the numbers. Declining sales tax revenue doesn’t just mean less in the government treasury, it means few retailers and fewer sale—and for media, that translates to fewer advertising dollars.

    “Add the changing world of media and Stan, you absolutely have no apologies to make. It’s not just challenges for Stan and Danah— the challenges are the same for the big media (New York Times, Time) down to every family owned or small town paper. Media is changing and many outlets are barely hanging on. Some, like Forbes or Scripps, are trying to diversify and change the model in order to survive.

    “You aren’t walking away. You are adapting. And you are a pioneer, an entrepreneur.

    “I remember meeting you over a decade ago—shaking your hand at what was then our Melton Hill Regional Industrial Association meeting. I knew you were different then, and you still are. You have a passion and enthusiasm that is contagious—and I know I certainly haven’t heard the last of Stan and Danah Mitchell. You’ve made a business decision and sometimes those decisions are tough. You’ve got nothing but my highest and strongest respect. You are changing courses, but in all, your integrity and honor stand as proudly as ever.”

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  18. Janice Melcher: “Well I guess I will just go buy some more copies of Sold Out and Little Man. The Oak Ridge Observer filled a big hole and will leave a big whole. This is the bitter/ sweet of life; goodbye to a job well done.”

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  19. Ralph Lockhart: “OH NO! BESIDES SEEING KAY’S WONDERFUL GETTING THE OBSERVER AT NOBLES MADE MY THURSDAYS!!! SOMEHOW WE NEED TO IMPACH OBAMA BECAUSE IN SOME WAY HE THE CAUSE OF THIS!!!!!!!!!!”

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  20. Take the time to slow down and enjoy this time with your wife and the new journey’s you both can share together. Wish you both the best in all your new adventures. Sending love and prayers! ~Trinity & Heather

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  21. Kay Williamson: “Stan R. Mitchell, I’ve loved you since the day you first came into J&C Market and asked if I would let you put the paper in and of course I said ”’HELL YES”.. I have always loved the paper, your charming ways, I hope when you think about me you will always remember my billing issues, (lol) and how I made you laugh.. I hope in the future you will always be the smart loving kind and great writer that we’ve all loved for so many years. I wish you and Dinah the best of luck…”

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  22. Betsy Prine: “This news makes my stomach ache and I still can’t really believe it. All of those days you guys came downstairs to check on me when I should have been coming to check on you! Thank you for your commitment to putting out an unbiased, accurate, and relevant paper every single week for 9 years. I’ve always admired your grit and work ethic and know that will remain in whatever life brings you next. Love you both!”

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  23. Kristy Styles Herron: “You have given the community a tremendous gift, your talent, your time. You and Danah will continue to create a path forward and you accept nothing less than success. I am certain you will continue to serve and touch all of your readers with your gift and talent. May God bless you both in your endeavors.”

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  24. Good luck to you both! Thank you for all your hard work over the years!!! Sad to see the paper go, but I know something better is in store for you.

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  25. Stan,

    Your service to the community was as faithful as your service to our country. You are man of exceptional character who will be successful in whatever you choose to do. My best wishes to you and Danah.

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  26. Charles Campbell: “Very disturbing news! Really enjoyed the paper and looked forward to each Thursday edition. Especially will miss the editorials. Good luck in any future endeavors and SEMPER FI !”

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  27. I’m so sorry to hear this. I was hoping it was good news about your writing, like a deal with a major publisher. I know how hard you and Danah have worked, and I wanted the newspaper to thrive. But I know you both will use what you’ve learned and move on to something better.

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    • That is so well said that I don’t even know how to respond. : )

      I’ve told several people that even with the disappointment, I’m very confident that the lessons I learned and the relationships I made will lead to bigger and better things.

      And I’m sorry I haven’t emailed you in a while… : (

      I need to be a better friend!

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      • I think of you as an excellent friend.
        With your brains and work ethic and attitude, I know you will go on to bigger and better. But the fact that you kept the paper going for nine years, given the Great Recession and everything going against newspapers, says what an amazing team you and Danah are. You just need to pick an industry that isn’t dying!

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          • No, more like a romantic act. I subscribe to my local weekly (The Ark in Belvedere, CA) and still love picking up my NYT in its blue wrapper each morning. Of course, I’ll be 63 next month, so I’m not exactly the demographic of the future.

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  28. All the best for you and Danah. You guys are a class act and the entire community wishes nothing but good things for you. Maybe a best selling novel will be on the horizon for you and for your faithful readers 🙂

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    • Veronica,

      You have been a wonderful supporter and friend. I still remember your first phone call as an ambassador for the Chamber!!!

      And I think I could handle a best-selling novel! : )

      Stan

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  29. It’s always hard to make decisions like these but it looks like you had a wonderful experience. I wish you all the best as you start this new year ready for new adventures!

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  30. Dave Drum: “Stan, I hate to see any small business close. You and Danah have done an incredible job over the past 9 years, and you’ve served our community well. I wish you both the best of whatever is in your future. Bless you both!”

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  31. Steven D. Martin: “Stan, I especially want to thank you for the way you encouraged photographers in our town by featuring photos on the cover. It was a real treat to see what kind of work other people were doing, and a real honor to see my own work published, or in one case, my daughter’s photograph. Thanks for a great nine years.”

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  32. Annie F Stoutt Cacheiro: “I wish you all the best in 2014 Stan R. Mitchell – I have enjoyed The The Oak Ridge Observer and I’m sad to see it go, but totally understand. Good luck in whatever direction you are going!”

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  33. Patricia Hope: “Stan R. Mitchell, you are a remarkable person. I admire what you did in every way. My run with you was short but I enjoyed writing a column and working with you a few years ago. Best of luck to you and Danah!”

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  34. Aaron Holbrook: “Proud of you both for chasing your dream! You work hard and aren’t afraid to take risks–that’s powerful. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know both of you. Best of luck”

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  35. Benjamin Stephens II: “So sad to read you are closing the paper. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute and I know the experience will serve you well. As Bob Hope would say “thanks for the memories!” Be well and have a happy new year!”

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  36. Stan–I can’t believe it’s been nine years since you took the plunge! You are a class act and I look forward to your next venture. Thanks for sharing the photos–

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  37. Pingback: After nine-year run, Oak Ridge Observer closes

  38. You, Danah and The Observer will always hold a special place in my heart. You guys made a childhood dream come true in letting me write film reviews professionally. It was my first paid writing gig and, even if it proves to be my last, it was an absolute blast and quite an honor to have done so. Thank you for the opportunity, the encouragement and for the years of hard work and integrity you poured into this community.

    I look forward to whatever’s next for you guys! Keep us all posted!

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  39. Stan, you did the impossible and kept it going for nine years. Your calling is writing, so my hope is that you can immerse yourself in doing what you love. Life is too short for anything less!

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    • Don Miller: “I wish Kristy’s comment were possible. The Observer has brought much to our town that could not have happened without it. Stan, the man, is much to be admired for his focus and determination.”

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  40. Julio Ibanez: “You, Danah and The Observer will always hold a special place in my heart. You guys made a childhood dream come true in letting me write film reviews professionally. It was my first paid writing gig and, even if it proves to be my last, it was an absolute blast and quite an honor to have done so. Thank you for the opportunity, the encouragement and for the years of hard work and integrity you poured into this community.”

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  41. Debra Carpenter: “Such sad news. I’ve enjoyed writing my column for the Observer and I thank you both for giving me a chance when I was brand new. You’ve taught me a lot! Best of luck to you and Danah.”

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  42. Kristin Parran Faulder: “Hey Stan — So sorry to hear about the paper. I know how hard you guys worked to get that going. Best of luck for you both in 2014; may the New Year bring you much happiness — and a vacation. 😉 “

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  43. Jenn Wade: “Oh Stan – just read about the Observer. So sorry to hear that news — I know it was your baby and such an asset to the community. I hate to see it go, but look forward to the next big adventure for you and Danah. Best wishes to you both. 🙂 Big hugs.”

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  44. Diane Kerley Long: “Terrible loss of our only locally owned independent newspaper. Sad to see them go. Great journalistic integrity, with editorials clearly marked as opinion pieces. Thank you, Stan Mitchell, and good luck to you and your wife.”

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  45. Tom Hanrahan: “Congratulations on entering the next chapter of your life! I’m sure it was an emotional decision as much as a business decision but you had the strength to make it. You were very fortunate to have been able to do something that you enjoyed and were good at. Thank you for nine good years, for the quality product you created and for your contributions to making our community a better place. Peggy and I both look forward to seeing where your passion and your energy takes you in 2014 and beyond.”

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  46. Susan McGetrick: “I know that was a hard decision to make but I am so glad for you too- you worked so hard for so little for too long- both of you are very talented people that I there has to be something better coming down the pike.

    “Not that publishing the Observer wasn’t great — you did a hell of a good job and folks will remember what a great paper it was but it will be nice for you not have to be tied to that obligation every week and endure criticism when you do the best you can with what you have to work with….so congratulations for making this big step! Go enjoy yourselves for awhile.”

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  47. Andy Page (President /CEO at ORAU) wrote: “Stan: Speaking for all of us at ORAU, we wish you and Danah fair winds and following seas. You established yourself as a fair and objective reporter in Oak Ridge and always spoke to the ground truth in any matter. From one Marine to another you have always been faithful to the truth in your reporting… that’s all matters. We wish you nothing but the best. S/F Andy Page President/CEO”

    (Note: Mr. Page was also a full, retired Colonel in the Corps.)

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  48. Christopher D Keever, owner of Anderson County Visions Magazine: “If there is anything I know, it is this… As God Closes Doors, He also Opens New Doors and New Opportunities. I am very sad to hear this news. And as a so-called “competitor”, whatever that means, you were and remain the best. You have always been a good friend to me and my business… for me, your help and opinion was always just a phone call away. You understand life from a bigger lens than most. It is an honor to call you my friend, Stan. Keep your faith and doors will open, a new adventure begins.”

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  49. Becky Crouch Norwood: “I hate to hear this. I thought if anyone could do it, it would have been Stan. I worked with him at The Oak Ridger, he knows his work. I will miss your paper. I pray that you find something that you will enjoy doing. Best of luck!”

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  50. Best of luck to you. At least you tried and you know you gave it your all. Now, a new opportunity will present itself. As they teach in Isshinryu Karate, “the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself”.

    Chris Lawson
    Twitter: @Chris_W_Lawson

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    • Thanks, Chris, for the kind words. And it looks like you’re just up the road from me. I followed your blog and twitter account. Look forward to getting to know you and we’ll have to share a cup of coffee some day.

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  51. Stan, I truly appreciate you & Danah’s blood, sweat, and tears for the last 9 years. And I appreciate YOU. Please know if we can do anything to help, just call. I am confident you will land on your feet, but I know when you are in free fall, it still sucks.
    Rick Morrow

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    • Thanks, Rick! It’s been wonderful working with you and I appreciate all you do for United Way and all those in need in our community. You haven’t heard the last of us.

      Sincerely yours,
      Stan

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  52. Russel Langley: “I began a new career in journalism in September 2012 with Stan at The Oak Ridge Observer. I learned a lot from him and came to admire him greatly over the next year and a half. On December 30, 2013 Stan informed me that after nine years he was closing the paper. This sad news was tempered by the fact that I had just interviewed for a full time journalist position at The Oak Ridger. Today I am happy to report that I have accepted their offer of employment and embark on my new journey on Monday. I owe all of this to Stan who believed in a guy from California with nothing more than a degree in English and a crazy idea. Thanks to my old boss Stan for his mentorship and guidance. Thanks to my new boss for taking the chance and bringing me on.”

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  53. Stan, I have been out of touch with you for a few months, but I also appreciate your hard work and your contributions to the Oak Ridge community. Thank you for all the encouragements that you have given me for my writing. As you follow the next dream, let me know if I can be of service to you.

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    • Thanks, Dale, for the really kind words. It’s been nice getting to work with and know you through these years. I’m not going anywhere, so I’m sure we’ll cross paths soon! Until then!

      Like

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