The new Managing Editor has roots in Augusta and El Dorado

I am the new Managing Editor of the Butler County Time-Gazette.  Many of you already know me, and some from El Dorado are likely worried that an editor from Augusta will ignore El Dorado news.
Let me assure you that our focus remains on printing a balanced news report around the county.   There may be days when it seems there is more news from either El Dorado or Augusta.  We can’t predict the news cycle, but we can promise to balance it the best way possible.
Late 2013, the Butler County newspapers in Augusta, El Dorado and Andover came together to provide a bigger, better paper. Several months ago the difficult decision was made to close the Times-Gazette office in Augusta.   Currently there is one office - in El Dorado.
We can all be proud of Butler County’s rich newspaper legacy.  From award winning papers and journalists who relied on solid reporting and writing, our county has played an important part in the history of Kansas for more than 100 years.
Technology has brought big changes in the way all news organizations operate.  A reporter  can work with a laptop and internet connection from any location.  
With a degree of credibility established with our Augusta readers, I would like to share with our El Dorado readers that I have roots in their community, as well.
 I spent the majority of my childhood in El Dorado.  One of my earliest and saddest  memories was watching my family deal with losing everything in the 1958 El Dorado Tornado.  I spent part of kindergarten in the gymnasium at Jefferson School while we waited for parts of Skelly School to be re-built following the tornado.  
Later we moved to East Benton, South Denver Street area and life was good.   I played baseball and flew kites in the fields and brought home lots of mud and “treasures” from the river.  We knew our neighbors and took turns sitting on one another’s porches for evening visits.  I was one of the many neighborhood kids who played in Rolla Clymer’s yard and would have a quick answer for the newspaper man when he’d ask what we were reading.  My brother and I would ride our bikes from the south end of town to the north end of town to swim each day in those carefree childhood summers.   
I was a first grade student of Bess Templeton and a patient of wonderful Dr. Overholser for many years.  Does it get any more El Dorado than that?
My family moved to Augusta when I entered the sixth grade and in a short time I learned to love our new community.  Life did take me away for a number of years, but eventually brought me back home.  Augusta is a special place with a rich history, a unique spirit, and wonderful citizens.  
The Augusta Daily Gazette and the El Dorado Times were both read in our home.    I grew up respecting the long legacy of both papers.  I’m proud to be a part of a product comprised of both award-winning newspapers.
The late Carter Zerbe hired me in January of 2002 to be the Lifestyles Editor of the Gazette, and that was the beginning of my newspaper career.  I was fortunate to have worked with a number of talented editors and publishers. I had the privilege of sharing engagements, weddings, births, anniversaries, and the sadness of loss for many of  residents. It seemed everyone in town walked in our office door at some time or another.  I’ve been fortunate to have met scores  of wonderful people.  
My current co-workers must have thought me odd when I displayed my excitement on working in Rolla Clymer’s office.   There’s history in this building.  
Although we no longer have an office in Augusta, we remain dedicated to continue covering Augusta news, social and school events.
I will do my best to find time to continue researching and writing “Tales of Butler County”, and I thank our readers who let me know that they enjoy reading about our colorful past.
 I invite you to drop by some time and say “hello.”


Belinda Larsen can be reached at: blarsen@butlercountytimesgazette.com