Soon you'll be hearing from Samantha Wohlfeil, who has taken over most of John Stark's beat and supplants him on this blog.
I'm searching right now for a mugshot our photo department took of Sam and me, to replace the one of John and me. It should be up soon.
Sam interned for us in the summer of 2012, when she was a student at Western Washington University. (She graduated in December.) She has worked for the Herald a lot since then, notably coming on board for several weeks last year while Zoe Fraley was on maternity leave.
When Zoe was about to come back, and Sam was about to leave, my feelings were mixed. While I was glad to get Zoe back, I was wishing Sam could stay, too.
I got my wish, in delayed fashion, when she agreed a few months ago to step in upon Stark's retirement.
Now Sam has heard all the comments along the line of "big shoes to fill," so there's no reason to repeat them here -- not for her benefit, at least. Sam is smart and capable, and I know she will excel in her role.
In case you're wondering how my and Sam's beats break down, I'll do my best to explain:
Like Stark, Sam covers Port of Bellingham and Bellingham City Hall. She takes on the airport, the tribes, and energy, as John did. (Energy includes the refineries and oil trains.)
I keep the Whatcom County Council, growth/land use, and transportation. I pick up Stark's plum beat, the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal. I have stories that fall under "natural resources," and I'll continue to cover the water-resource issue that has gotten a lot of people's attention this year. I will write about climate change. I will no longer cover Ferndale City Hall; that now goes to Zoe.
Sam and I will share state government and, of course, this blog.
If you are interested in contacting either Sam or me for election story ideas, here's how coverage of the 2014 elections was divvied up:
U.S. Congress (Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen and their challengers)
State Senate (Ericksen v. Fleetwood)
Whatcom County PUD (McClure, Burr, Goggins)
State House (three active races, including the four-way tilt for Jason Overstreet's seat)
Charter Review Commission.
I'll say it again, I'm glad to have Sam on board. The Politics Blog has never had a woman's voice until now. I say, "Huzzah!"