On the Street

New person in town


Well by now you have probably heard there’s a new person in town.

My first name is Xiomara (pronounced Jamara in English) but there are so many ways to pronounce it. My friends who are Hispanic will say Ciomara or my African American friends will say Zamara. I don’t correct them because that is the way it is pronounced in their cultures. I respect that and love it.

Let me start off by telling you how I came to West Liberty.

I was contacted by Mark Ridolfi, who is the assistant news editor at The North Scott Press which is owned by Index publisher and owner Bill Tubbs, in January about writing some freelance articles for the Wilton-Durant Advocate-News.

In February, Mark told me the editor position at the Wilton-Durant Advocate News was opening up. He asked me if I would be interested. I declined because I felt the commute would be too far for me but said I would continue writing as a freelancer.

About a week later, Tim contacted me and gave me my first assignment for the West Liberty Index. It was about the improv group at West Liberty High School having its first performance since the pandemic.

When I was at the high school covering the event for Tim, I kept telling myself how much I missed going out and getting pictures of events, meeting people and writing articles on what is happening in the community. I told myself I should start to consider returning to being a journalist full-time.

When Tim told Bill he was retiring I applied for the editor position and here I am.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who has welcomed me so far to the community.

The first couple of days I was working alone so I started walking around town to introduce myself to people hence the title “On the Street.”

The first place I went was to the WeLead office. I introduced myself to Ken Brooks. He was wearing a shirt with the Boy Scout emblem on it so I mentioned my husband used to be a Scout Master, my oldest son is an Eagle Scout and my youngest made it to First Class. We spoke about a mutual friend who would cross paths with Ken from time-to-time at scouting events. Ken has also let me know about a couple of people I should stop to meet.

My next stop was to the school district administration office where I spoke with Kara Kruse. I needed to ask her for help with obtaining some information on the graduation program. She said she would try her best and would get back to me and she did. The first thing I noticed about Kara is she is a very reliable person, especially when it comes to information in the school district. I know that is her job but I’ve dealt communication managers in the past who weren’t as reliable or friendly for that matter.

I’ve also met a few members from the West Liberty Rotary Club including Bill Koellner and Tom Brooke. One of Tom’s first questions for me was if I would like to join the Rotary club here. It made me smile because he was beat to the punch by Ken Brooks and Bill Tubbs.

I would often drive through West Liberty going to Wilton and would see the Rotary Club’s sign asking people to wear a mask. This impressed me a lot because I live in an area where you hardly saw anyone wear a mask unless they were at the doctor’s office in late 2021 beginning of 2022. People were over the pandemic and having to wear masks, which I get but it was nice to see a community organization say they cared about their community in such a way as the Rotary club here did.

As I continue to meet people in West Liberty, Atalissa and Nichols don’t be surprised if it’s not mentioned in a column. I love hearing about people, what they’re doing and unique things happening around the community. This is why I’m doing what I’m doing now. Finding items in the community to report on and take pictures of.

If you see me out and about don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to me.