Looking Back, Looking Ahead

“It is only after time has been given for a cool and deliberate reflection that the real voice of the people can be known.” – George Washington

There are those moments in our lives when we are asked to look back at where we have come from, in an effort to comprehend the possibilities of where we may go.

When I started with the Pulse, I was an intern with no prior newspaper experience. I can still recollect many of the details of the first day I came in to work at the former Pulse office next to Drink Coffee in Sister Bay. After a rather interesting introduction via a staff meeting, I spent the rest of the day sitting in the window display, pecking away at a seemingly ancient Mac, copy editing press releases, nibbling on my carrots and saying very little.

Since that first summer and over the course of the past five years, my mannequin-like ways gave way, little by little, in almost unnoticeable fractions. Now, as I write this from my desk at the Pulse office in Ephraim, I’ve been transformed from the individual who asked a ton of questions into the individual who answers them. In my current role as Editor, it was my responsibility to cut down the staff’s selections of worthy content into what will become the Pulse’s Year in Review Issue.

The previous three years as I whittled down a year’s worth of content into digestible bits for our readers, I found myself a bit overwhelmed with the tedium of the process. Whether attempting to turn feature articles into a catchy intro or comprehensive news coverage into summaries, the task became quite a trudge. In the hours (or more like days) I spent trimming the final word count to just shy of 25,000 words, I repeatedly found myself asking, “Is it worth it? Is anyone actually going to read this?”

This year, however, the thought that people may not actually read the fruits of these efforts seemed to drift out of the forefront of my brain and into the background. The typical trudge turned into more of a frolic through the publications of 2008. Perhaps this means that after five years with the paper I’m accepting my job responsibilities; or maybe at 27, I’m finally growing up. Whatever the reasoning may be, I found myself relishing the opportunity to reflect back upon not only 2008 but also on my time with the Pulse and my time in Door County.

My bio for quite some time has read “Allison Vroman has called Door County ‘the closest thing to home’ since graduating from college in 2003.” After looking back and editing this issue’s content, I realized “the closest thing to” can also be edited from my bio. And while I know that I do not, nor will I ever, qualify for the designation of “local” under the accepted definition that permeates the county, I do feel as though I can refer to Door County as “home,” and in that notion alone comes a sense of pride.

Without a doubt, as I looked around the office at all members of the Pulse staff and thought about our contributors who work from outside the office walls, I understand that I am not alone in this sentiment. In addition to each of our respective duties at the Pulse, members of our staff are raising families, running small businesses, coaching high school athletics, and sitting on boards, such as that of the Door County Visitor Bureau, Door Community Auditorium, Wellness Center of Door County and Family Centers of Door County. It is quite clear to me that we have become entangled and entrenched in all the elements of life along the peninsula.

I was particularly struck by a line in Myles Dannhausen Jr.’s article, “The Evolution of a Local Paper” which appeared in our issue that was released on January 25, 2008. Addressing our readers, he said: “…we thank you. You’ve given us the greatest honor a publication could receive – we matter to you.”

It was when I edited this column down into a snippet of what it once was that I came to recognize the place of the Pulse within the Door community. While I should have come to this conclusion years ago, I now understand that not only do we matter to you, but you also matter to us. We have the privilege of being the only “local,” “independently owned, independently operated” newspaper on the Door Peninsula, and with that comes the responsibility of voicing – and in the case of this issue in particular re-voicing – our community’s concerns, efforts, endeavors and pursuits.

Looking back, so that we may also look ahead, the following pages are filled with summaries of issues we’ve covered in 2008 that we think matter, including Eli Mattson’s successful run on America’s Got Talent, another look at the Pulse-presented Door County Half Marathon and a recap of the year’s pivotal elections. There are also samples of the voices we’ve printed from near and far, reflections from our columnists, as well as, a glimpse at some of the lives lost this year. And last, but certainly not least, we share our predictions for 2009.

So, to those of you who will read each and every word found within these pages, thank you for caring about our community as much as we do at the Pulse.

And for those of you who care to read more, check out the entire year’s worth of Pulse articles (in their unabridged versions) online at