If you haven’t already heard, Friday was my last day at The Herald-News.
I left to take a job as the executive editor at The Times of Northwest Indiana. It’s a big opportunity and I’m excited to get started, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad about moving on from The Herald-News, Joliet and Will County.
I worked with wonderful people at The Herald-News, and I met many more while doing this job. This is a terrific area to live and to work, at least if you’re working for a newspaper.
That said, I feel I have to clear up some misinformation that may or may not have been making its way around lately.
The decision to head to Indiana was mine and mine alone. No one, for example, attempted to drive me off through the use of threats, intimidation or blackmail. At no time did I ever hear that someone was claiming to have nude photos of me, you know, kind of like the way former City Councilman Duck Dickinson said he learned Mayor Bob O’Dekirk was “informing people” he had Duck’s sex pictures, according to a police report.
Whether or not O’Dekirk had any Duck pics or not, it was enough to get Dickinson to quit the council. But nobody has any pictures of me and taking this new job has nothing to do with an extortion scheme and everything to do with it being a preferable employment situation.
Similarly, no one grabbed me as I was walking along West Jefferson Street and dragged me from there all the way to my new office in Munster, Indiana.
No, nothing of the sort happened. For one thing, that seems like it would be all but impossible.
Sure, you can jerk someone around by the collar of his shirt for a few yards, maybe even farther if his brother doesn’t jump in and knock you down. If you don’t believe me, there’s a video of Mayor O’Dekirk doing just that to a man named Victor Williams after a Black Lives Matter Rally. The video also shows Williams’ brother Jamal Smith intervening, and he undoubtedly would have done a job on O’Dekirk if the police weren’t there to protect the mayor. Yes, it was very fortunate for O’Dekirk that he had the police to hide behind.
That said, it takes at least a half hour just to drive to Munster. Getting there on foot from Joliet while pulling a grown man by the collar would be a journey of days, and that’s only if you don’t get hit by a car on Interstate 80 and killed along the way.
So physical violence has as little to do with my departure as intimidation, threats or blackmail. And one other thing that never happened was that Joliet City Manager Jim Capparelli fired me.
That wouldn’t even make sense, you might say to yourself, a city manager can’t fire someone from a newspaper. And you would be right about that. But it didn’t stop Capparelli from trying and failing to fire former Police Chief Dawn Malec, so why would it stop him from trying to fire me as well?
So now you really know why I’m no longer here. Wish me luck at the next place, and don’t think I’ll stop watching what’s happening here.