Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Exploring other opportunities. . .

Stan writes: Mark claims it was my partner, Gary Welch, who actually hired him. Gary and I both interviewed Mark at The Statesman Restaurant in the Hazeltine Gates building over lunch one day back in 1979. We were looking for a reporter for our Eden Prairie News. Tom Bartel had left us to start "Sweet Potato," which eventually became the popular Twin Cities weekly "City Pages." Mark says I choked on my Beef Commercial when I heard what his salary requirements were, but then Gary intervened and said it would be no problem. Maybe that's what happened, but I just don't remember it that way. I remember it as being one of the best hires I have ever made and of course the dear, late Mr. Welch can't dispute that.
Mark will leave the newspaper company tomorrow, and he left behind this classy note for the folks in Eden Prairie. See if you don't agree that Gary and I did some excellent work that day. 

By Mark A. Weber 
It’s been a great run, Eden Prairie. But it’s over.

After more than 34 years as a reporter, editor or publisher of the Eden Prairie News, I will be saying goodbye to the EP News and its parent company, Southwest Newspapers, on July 31. As they euphemistically say in the business world, I am exploring other opportunities.
Mark's original column header. It pre-dates the
high-end digital graphics now in use.

But I can’t leave without thanking the thousands of Eden Prairie residents who invited me into their homes over the years by reading the Eden Prairie News. Since cobbling together my first story in June 1979 – about the end of year-round school in Eden Prairie – I have connected with many, many residents and I can say with confidence that all but a handful were truly super people.

That’s the funny thing about Eden Prairie, in my view. The widely accepted perception is that EP is affluent and arrogant. But after working with so many people here, I’d say the more accurate picture of EP residents is intelligent, thoughtful, caring. But, hey, I’ve lived here the past 29 years, so I’m probably biased in my assessment.

So, thank you for taking care of your neighbors, Eden Prairie. Keep it up.

And thanks also for supporting this little news organization of ours. The EP News staff – Karla, Dan, Patty, Jeanne, Veronica, and dozens of others who have supportive roles – are folks who have a genuine affection for Eden Prairie. I challenge you to find that in any other organization that reports news here.

I have been connected with the Eden Prairie News for nearly 60 percent of my life. During that time I have floated above EP in a hot-air balloon, and floated on historically high Minnesota River flood waters. I have written about Olympians and business titans, and have met with governors, U.S. senators and archbishops. I have written about murder and mayhem, but also medical miracles. Mostly, I have written stories about outstanding Eden Prairie people doing outstanding things.

My sainted wife, Roma, and I will continue to live in Eden Prairie, a place we’ve come to love. Please say hello as we pass each other.

But I’ll have a new response when someone asks, “You’re that guy from the Eden Prairie News, right?”

“I used to be him,” I’ll probably reply. “And it was a blast.”

Mark A. Weber has served as publisher of the Eden Prairie News and also, for the past nine years, as general manager of its parent company, Southwest Newspapers. He has begun publishing a blog on www.markaweber.com.

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