Opinion & Editorial

Fifty first names only: March 2023

Noel Nash, publisher

My brothers and I worked for our dad throughout high school – and two of us worked with him afterward for a few years. He was a painting contractor in South Florida for more than 35 years. Cleaning, prepping, painting in ridiculous heat and humidity. We had one water jug in the truck, and I was taught early how to hold it out and upward, tilting it as I squeezed the button to release the water – that glorious, cold water – without the nozzle touching my lips. “Water. Second-best drink in the world,” my old man would say. “What’s the first?” I eagerly inquired. “I don’t know. But there’s got to be something better.” Not to call out dear old dad, but after sampling many, many beverages throughout life, I’m not sure there is anything better.  Wyatt, who has taken over for his dad, Lonny, in running the Eugene Water & Electric Board’s annual Best Tasting Water contest, invited me to be a judge. Despite social media evidence to the contrary, sitting in judgment is always a little uncomfortable. Especially when those being judged are in the same room. I joined Bettina of the Florence Chamber of Commerce, Kori of the Springfield City Council, and Scott, who is a brewer with Falling Sky Brewery – and the most qualified of the panel. Eight water districts competed in the contest, and ranged in size from serving more than a million water customers to smaller districts serving hundreds of people. Ultimately, in the blind taste test – assessing each glass for scent, taste, and aftertaste – the top three finishers were: 1) Corvallis, 2) EWEB, 3) Marcola. … It was a pleasure to meet Monica, and discuss not only her insurance business but her deep interest in high school sports. … I also talked business with Penny, Sandra, and Kayla recently. Advertising interest is definitely picking up. …I’m continuing to meet so many professionals in our area while attending chamber events and networking breakfasts. Emily brought homemade cupcakes, Mindy told us about a cool nonprofit that helps kids grow gardens, Richard is in risk management, Erin, Austin, Ryan, and Paulina. …Thurston and Springfield High enjoyed great success in state tournaments – the Colts in boys and girls wrestling and the Millers girls’ basketball team. I recently met with Justin, the athletic director and head football coach (himself no stranger to state titles), Blaine of Dutch Bros., and Willie of Papa’s Pizza. …


Erin Tierney-Heggenstaller, 

executive editor

Between the rainy weather and the mound of emails I inevitably get buried under from time to time, I spent much of this month behind a computer screen, coordinating coverage with some of our partners, like Jennifer with the University of Oregon and Springfield Public Library. She’s been instrumental in helping me get all the information to publish the Dean’s List for our area Ducks, in addition to helping me coordinate photos at the Springfield Library Book Sale. Bob did an excellent job in capturing meaningful photos of the event, and you can check out his full gallery on our website. … Dawn with Willamette Connections Academy has been a friend of The Chronicle for some years, and she most recently helped capture a moment of a young Springfield reader, Jaxon, who attended a “Read In” event at Eugene Library. It was a sweet, small moment that means a lot to this little Einstein and his mother, and I love sharing those moments with our readers.  … I am thankful for the help I’ve been receiving from Wendy and Jennifer at Smith Lund Mills Funeral Home and Crematorium as The Chronicle establishes a switch from free obituaries to paid obituaries. For years, The Chronicle has been the only publication that prints obituaries for free. Unfortunately, that is no longer sustainable. Don’t worry though, we’re still the most affordable option. We’ll be rolling out those rates starting next week. 


Ryleigh Norgrove, reporter 

This month, it was fantastic to get out and enjoy the sun — and there was no shortage of news in the Southern Willamette Valley! Ed and I talked about unions, composting toilets, and the pride we both feel watching the youth labor movement explode across Lane County. … Dylan and Ranei from DEQ gave me a week-long course in stormwater management and were fantastic fact-checkers on deadline. … Curtis shared some hilarious John Oliver sketches about sewer systems and Alex was open and willing to talk about his love for community policing (and trucks.) … Jeff stopped by the office to share good news from the Cottage Grove Community Foundation: Many local nonprofits were awarded grant dollars to continue their kind, valuable work. Following up, I got to chat with Bruce about all of the work being done to support women and families in the grove. … Michael and Chris helped me keep calm and collected while my nerves got the best of me recording a story for KLCC, and Love made sure to edit out all of my stuttering before the show aired – it’s always incredible to meet women who’ve pioneered a space for young journalists in local news. … Sherri and Alicia from PeaceHealth shared great news about new services coming to Lane County. And Heather, Matt and Lacey continue to inspire me through all of their hard work supporting families, teachers and students through wildfire recovery efforts out on the McKenzie – their hard work and love for their community shines through in everything they do – getting to learn from them is a beautiful break in the clouds. 


Pierre Weil, reporter

The end of the winter sports season and beginning of the spring sports season meant many new or re-acquainted faces. At the state wrestling championships in Portland I met a few journalists also covering the high school sports beat. There was Brian of The Bend Bulletin, Rene from Scorebook Live whom I met once briefly in the fall, and Nik, the high school sports coordinator for The Oregonian. At the beginning of March while covering the Springfield girls basketball team I also met Edith, the education and sports writer for The Statesman Journal and Register Guard. …Now we have the spring sports season, although the weather hasn’t quite got the message yet, and I’ve met multiple coaches in the area, with more to come soon. So far there’s been: Dennis (Thurston Baseball), Jim (Springfield Baseball), Steve (Pleasant Hill Softball), Johnny (Pleasant Hill Baseball), Jessica (Springfield Softball), and Chris (Creswell Baseball). 



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