Oltmans: What a special time it's been

I’ve never wanted to overstay my welcome. If you’ve seen me at any of the events scattered around the county you might have realized that. I like to get there early to get a lay of the land, gauge the mood. I observe, I write and I leave.

Small talk has never been my strength. I can chat about the weather but that’s about it.

So I’ll cut right to the chase. My time as editor of the Sublette Examiner has come to an end. I’ve enjoyed this, truly enjoyed this, for the past 18 months.

It’s been an absolute pleasure to lead this paper. I’ve gotten to enjoy the scenery and the people while also reliving the small-town atmosphere of my youth. When I’m out at the Marbleton Fishing Pond, roaming in the Wyoming Range, running errands in Big Piney or simply sitting in on a meeting at Marbleton Town Hall, it reminds me of the 5 a.m. cattle calls and fence fixings I grew up on. Watching the Punchers make the state tournament in football and basketball reminds me of my own days competing for an 8-man football championship and routinely fouling out in some ill-lit gymnasium in southern Nebraska.

Because this job has drawn me away from family and friends, those little moments are the ones I’ve treasured. And the extended warm welcome I’ve received from the community since I got here in December 2020 – at the spike of COVID-19 in the county and Wyoming in general – helped this place I fell in love with while reporting in Casper feel like home.

Since my arrival at that turbulent time, this paper has covered a generational pandemic, local government, criminal justice, wildlife management, the ongoing health-care developments facing the county, developing projects and the ever-evolving world that we live in. And I can look back at those times and be proud of our coverage and what we’ve given our community. I know there are some around the county who don’t think highly of the local paper (I hear you around town), so they may not even be reading this, but it’s been a rewarding quest to deliver the best local news possible to those who care and those who don’t.

There’s a line from a Cormac McCarthy book that’s stuck with me. I’m pretty sure it’s from No Country For Old Men but I won’t be checking my inbox for corrections, so keep it to yourself. In it, talking about the narrator’s luck, the author writes, “But the day I seen her come out of Kerr’s Mercantile and cross the street and she passed me and I tipped my hat to her and got just almost a smile back, that was the luckiest.”

While I’m certainly proud of my times reporting in Casper and Lincoln, Nebraska, before it, I’m especially proud and consider myself lucky to have overseen the Sublette Examiner. I’m lucky to have been tasked with delivering readers the local news they deserve and I didn’t take that task lightly. Any kind of “news” is available at a touch but none of those outlets reported on the issues of Sublette County like this paper does. Through social media, newsletters and other multimedia outlets, this group here has tried to make it as easy as possible for community members to access their local news.

I hope that remains in the future. I hope readers continue to contact the Examiner when something happens. I hope the community continues to demand more out of its local paper and I hope this hard working staff at the Examiner continues to answer the call.

Thank you for supporting local journalism and thank you for all you’ve given me, as a person. Know that I’ll carry a piece of Sublette County – subscribers and readers – with me everywhere I go.