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story.lead_photo.caption Slinkard

I’ve never consistently written a column before this one, but I’ve enjoyed this space and the ability to share my experiences, my thoughts and things that interest me with News-Times readers.

That makes this column the best place to announce that I’ll be leaving El Dorado at the end of this month to become the senior editor of the Telegraph in Macon, Georgia.

While my time here in El Dorado has been brief, I’ve genuinely enjoyed living and working here, which I hope you were able to pick up on in my columns. My family has enjoyed visiting and experiencing what El Dorado has to offer. My brother and I had a magical time during the Christmas season walking around downtown and looking at all the lights and decorations. My mother loved staying in the Union Square Guest Quarters downtown, shopping at local stores and walking through the South Arkansas Arboretum (the arboretum is my favorite place in El Dorado; I try to walk there after lunch on good days, and it always brings a smile to my face).

In my six months here, my parents, brothers and numerous friends have visited El Dorado and enjoyed what our community has to offer. I’ll miss all of those things, but I’ll miss the people the most. You were quick to embrace me as soon as I moved here and I soon felt at home. From the story ideas to the praise (and criticism) to the Coffee with Caleb meetings, I’ve enjoyed getting to know this community, which is full of hardworking people passionate about building a better life for themselves, their families and their neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, I have quite a few great ones, including Shane and Kayla, who have fed me more times than I can count. Shane kept my yard mowed when I was too busy (or lazy) to do it myself, and it was such a uniquely powerful experience to build a close relationship with them. I’m used to living in apartments and town houses and barely knowing my neighbors’ names, but living in El Dorado was different. I also want to give kudos to my neighbors Karen and Ross, who have also fed me (thanks!) and who I know routinely read this column, which makes me feel special.

I hope you’ll continue to support the El Dorado News-Times. The newspaper’s role in this community is vitally important, more so here than in many areas, as it’s the only local media organization serving the community on a daily basis. Whether it’s publishing breaking news, coverage of important city and county meetings or stories that highlight the great things going on in our community, the News-Times is an important part of El Dorado’s past, present and future. My newsroom staff is fiercely dedicated to serving the community. I’m proud of them, and I hope you’ll do what you can to support them.

I’m excited about my next job. It’s a good opportunity for me professionally and personally, but I’m sad to leave El Dorado. You made me feel welcome and appreciated, and that’s something I will always look back on fondly. My last day at the News-Times in Wednesday, Feb. 19. I’ll be busy wrapping things up here and preparing to move to Georgia, but feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email and chat.

I plan to come back. I want to see the arboretum in the spring.

Caleb Slinkard is the managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. He previously served as editor of two dailies and four weeklies in Oklahoma and Texas. To contact him, email [email protected]

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