By Aly De Angelus

Just three weeks ago, you could find me scanning books and making recommendations for late-night customers at Barnes & Noble. I was the one with a gimpy right leg and a killer smile, who would deviate from the cashier’s script and ask personal questions. What can I say, you can’t take the journalist out of the girl.

In the morning, I would pitch freelance articles at a local newspaper, InsideNova, and then drive to physical therapy for a casual beatdown of every muscle in my entire body. I spent last year relearning the basics about my mind, body and soul.

After 506 days, 12,144 hours, my college graduation, a long, drawn-out medical detour and a strong desire to become a professional storyteller has led me back to this very special town, Skagway.

Much like two old friends, Skagway and I have picked up where we last left off, where summer faded into winter and where I waved goodbye from the back of a ferry under a dark cloud of rain. Every second that I spent away, my heart sang the tune of a tormented, star-crossed lover. I always knew that my journey was incomplete.

At the risk of sounding pathetic, I remember every moment from my 2018 summer internship with The Skagway News. I remember the rock on the Lower Dewey Lake trail that I sat on to watch Fourth of July fireworks, the day Betsey Albecker and I cleaned her paint shop and picked tomatoes in her garden, the morning I crashed the coffee hour club and met “Queen Bea” Lingle and even the nasty white sox bite from my days on the Chilkoot Trail.

All of this to say, I am in awe of your community. When given the choice to venture out to Southeast Alaska in the dead of winter, my whole body screamed, “Say yes, you fool!”

My Northern Virginia friends and family, however, had their fair share of skepticism. One question snowballed into a full-blown interrogation: “You are going where? In the middle of winter? How much sunlight will you have? What will you do for fun? You are going alone?”

I simply responded with a soft smile and a series of nods. Every person I told about my recent hire called me brave, but I didn’t see my move as one big gamble. I saw my return to Skagway as a second home.

Sitting in the editor’s chair at the News following my Jan. 3 arrival, I felt the prestige of all previous predecessors. In this coveted chair, I hold responsibility to be pointwoman for all things newsworthy. As interim editor, I will make certain Skagway receives proper attention and a steady flow of information as the paper transitions ownership.

I look forward to our next couple of months together and I promise to be an earnest and passionate reporter. I can imagine how hard it must be to place trust in a 23-year-old East Coaster, but I am ready to earn the respect of our readers and I can guarantee above all that my heart is in the right place. With that being said, I encourage criticism and healthy debate. Please do email news tips and corrections, share miscellaneous information and jokes or send invitations for local events to my personal email, I am eager to discuss all matters with the community, no matter how big or small.

I am aware that I will never be considered a “local,” but I thank this town for making me feel welcomed and full of spirit. Whoever the next editor may be, they are fortunate beyond belief.

Let’s just hope they don’t have sweet Italian blood like me or come summer they had better devise a plan to befriend the elephant-sized blood banks we call mosquitoes.