Dear Readers — As of April 1, I will be part of the Camden Opera House team. And teamwork is something I know well, having worked first in local radio and then for the local newspapers (both at the same time in earlier years). I started writing reviews of concerts and plays, plus the occasional travel feature, for Rockland’s Courier-Gazette in 1985. I came into the newsroom full-time on Memorial Day 1996; and have helmed some version of the regional A&E section that appears now in the Courier, Camden Herald and Republican Journal since 2003.

The Midcoast has always been a lively haven for creativity, and in recent years the arts have become a real economic force. It’s been a privilege to tell the tales of the people and organizations that keep the visual, performing and film arts growing, giving this area of incredible beauty a soul to match.

A lot has changed since I first hit print, as the picture above, taken during my first summer on the job, attests. From writing on yellow legal pads and then typing for submission, and shooting black-and-white film for darkroom development and printing; to taking photos, and sometimes uploading a story, with a handheld digital device, the physical process of journalism has gone through a sea change. But it still comes down to telling stories. I feel truly blessed to have spent so many years doing that in my community.

And, of course, I’ve been blessed with a bunch of newshound stories to tell myself. Seeing Allen Ginsberg perform “Howl!” at Waldoboro’s Waldo Theatre and being in the audience for one of Dick Curless’ last performances, also at the Waldo (which I hope to see open again in the future), are among the earlier highlights. I spent a lot of time island-hopping: slept many a night on North Haven in order to see the plays there, and followed the troupe to its New York City performance a couple of weeks after 9/11; spent a winter’s day with Bob Indiana in the Star of Hope on Vinalhaven; trudged about Friendship Long Island on another sunny, wintry day to visit artists and scientists alike. I witnessed countless high school and community theater performances and saw many an intriguing art project in process.

I’ve always said the best thing about this job is the excuse to ask interesting people about what they are passionate about. I’ll miss that, and also the people I’ve worked with in and out of the “NewsNest.” One of them, the über-talented Christine Dunkle, is responsible for how good this section has looked in print all these years. She is dusting off her journalism degree to apply it to the A&E beat, as of this week. It’s time for a fresh take, and I know she can provide that.

Many moons ago, when I found out I was to be a full-time reporter, my first thought was of Rosalind Russell in “His Girl Friday”: I’m going to have to get a great hat, I told myself. I’m not sure that ever happened, but I did have a great time. Thank you, one and all.