Free Press moving on after 20 years of leadership from Ratzlaff

A new era is ahead of us at the Free Press. Our editorial leader, Don Ratzlaff, has taken a position at Tabor College, which leaves some very large shoes to fill for the first time in 20 years.

Don helped start the Free Press, along with Joel Klaassen, two decades ago, and both of them have been a fixture on these pages, in the office, and in the community ever since.

No one can ever replace Don.

While the paper will come out every week, the role he filled at the paper as the first editor is something he will hold for eternity, regardless of who fills this role going forward.

With any change in leadership, there is fear, hope, and a bevy of other feelings across the board. We recognize that and hope to quell fears going forward. The paper might change a little, but it will come out on schedule every week.

While change is scary most of the time, sometimes that change can bring a healthy new outlook on things and improvements, even.

There are still a lot of things to figure out now that Don has left the Free Press and assumed his role at Tabor.

We still don’t have an editor in place. I am assuming that role while we sift through resumes and interview candidates.

While I have mostly operated in the background as publisher of the paper, I am taking a more active role—at least for a few weeks.

My philosophy, in the past, has been to allow Don, Joel, and the other very capable people who work at the Free Press space to do their jobs and not deal with a lot of interference from management, despite my constant presence in Marion County on a weekly basis.

For the next few weeks, I am hoping Marion County will get used to my voice being in this space and will be interested in a few of the ideas I throw out there. We shall see.

For now, we will say thank you to Don for his time served starting, running, and giving leadership at this paper. It won’t be the same without him, but that doesn’t mean we won’t move forward, either.

– Joey Young, Publisher

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