So long and thanks for all the news

Jan 07, 2022 at 02:45 pm by Michelle Willard


Bill Ketron can breathe a sigh of relief. Just in time for the 2022 election cycle, I've taken a new job that means less time for angry opinion and news stories about local politicians. 

Instead of writing for a locally owned news source, I'll instead be using my gift for gab in MTSU's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, where I'll be charged with helping professors with grants. 

I'll still be contributing here and there to the Voice, but not as much. Viking2000 will have to take his comments back to Parler (Is that still a thing?).

The new editor of the Voice will be Laura Beth Payne, who you may recognize from her weekly column Murfreesboro Mama and her days editing Murfreesboro Magazine. The Voice is in excellent hands with Laura Beth, she's as talented at editing as she is at writing. You may have read her contributions here as Murfreesboro Mama.

You'll also see some other changes at the Voice, which are coincidental with my leaving, not because of. We are adding a marketplace for local makers and vendors to showcase their wares. You'll see more on that in the coming months.

It's been an interesting four or so years at the Voice. We've grown from nothing to a steady and passionate readership. I've had more than a few memorable moments, and here are my Top 4, because who doesn't like a listicle.

1. Bridgey McBridgeface

The most significant thing I did at the Voice was led a campaign to name the Bridge Over Broad something a little more humorous. 

Voice reader Jeanne Vest said she was inspired by an article on the Voice to start a petition to name the bridge Bridgey McBridgeface. Nearly 4,500 people signed the petition. Murfreesboro City Council made my dreams come true and honorarily named the bridge, Bridgey McBridgeface, for April 1, 2018. 

But it will always be Bridgey in my heart.

2. Operation Candy Crush

Way back in February 2018, Rutherford County law enforcement agencies raided 23 businesses and served 21 indictments on people accused of selling hemp-derived products.

Before the press conference, I tried to tell them that CBD products were legal thanks to a change in the 2016 U.S. Farm bill, but they didn't listen.

A handful of days after the raids, the businesses were allowed to reopen and the charges were dismissed. 

The county was sued by a majority of the store owners. The case is still ongoing for one plaintiff. 

So I told them so. If only they had listened to me ...

Read all our Operation Candy Crush coverage here.

3. Week in Ketron

One of my favorite columns was one I wrote comparing Bill Ketron to my grandmother. I hear rumors he didn't appreciate that.

He also didn't appreciate the additional coverage we gave to his scandal plagued first two years as county mayor. The pandemic was good for Ketron because it distracted us from him. 

But there for a while it seemed like every day was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for Mayor Bill. From FBI raids to fines on his campaign and his family business, Ketron had an eventful first term.

You can refresh your memory on Week in Ketron here and here.

4. Working with a diverse group of contributors

I'm going to get sappy, so skip this if you don't have feelings.

During my time at the Voice, I've worked with a large and diverse group of writers and photographers. 

Some of you have been surprisingly talented (some have not), but overall I have most enjoyed giving a voice to the community by providing a place where diverging opinions are welcomed. 

Where else could you read the musings of conservative thinkers like clervin as well as the thoughts of liberals like Chloe Cherutti? 

I also enjoyed helping local nonprofits like the Exchange Clubs, Read To Succeed, American Association of University Women and others that rarely get coverage in other news outlets. Not only do they get to share their accomplishments, but by reading their press releases, you help them with needed funds (because we pay them). 

The Voice is always looking for new contributors. Learn more on the About page.


Sections: Voices