Editor's Notebook: Our colleague, Mac's mom, will be missed

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An era ends at The Forecaster next week when we say goodbye to Kate Bucklin.

Kate has been an important part of this newspaper for about nine years – longer than anyone here except our publisher, Karen Wood; sports editor, Michael Hoffer, and Chuck Gardner in advertising.

She has covered two of our most important beats – Falmouth and Portland – and probably has attended more local government meetings and press conferences than any newspaper reporter working in greater Portland.

Kate’s unflappable personality, her dry sense of humor and straightforward approach to life makes people want to engage with her. She has an ability to develop stories that has helped make The Forecaster a reliable source of information not only for our readers, but for other newspaper reporters who have frequently had to follow her work. As our assistant editor, she has helped keep the copy flowing in all four of our weekly editions, always willing to assist others and to step in to prevent things from falling through the cracks. And her ability to remain cool under pressure is an invaluable asset in the newsroom.

Most of all, Kate has been a colleague and a friend. I’ve known her for about 11 years; I hired Kate for her first full-time reporting job at the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, and she put in a good word for me when I joined The Forecaster nearly seven years ago. My workday always includes banter with Kate about the day’s news, her stories, new restaurant discoveries, the UConn (Kate)-Syracuse (me) rivalry, and of course, her son Mac.

We’ve already filled the newsroom job created by Kate’s decision to move closer to Mac’s grandma. Filling the void she will leave in the heart and soul of The Forecaster on May 19 will be a much harder accomplishment.

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So, how do we replace Kate?

For starters, Randy Billings, who has been covering South Portland and the Portland Public Schools, will take over Kate’s old beat, covering Portland city government.

Emily Parkhurst will get the Portland schools beat, and continue to cover the town of Falmouth.

Emily’s former beat in Scarborough and Randy’s coverage of South Portland goes to newcomer Mario Moretto, a Portland resident and University of Maine alum who most recently has been a copy editor at the Kennebec Journal in Augusta.

We believe Mario will maintain the award-winning standard set by Randy and Emily in South Portland and Scarborough. Beginning May 20, you’ll be able to reach Mario via email at mmoretto@theforecaster.net or by phone at 781-3661 ext. 106. You can also follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

Tony Ronzio, the KJ’s editor and publisher, and former editorial page editor of the Sun Journal in Lewiston, describes Mario as clever, energetic and innovative. “And,” he says, “if a bat ever gets loose in your newsroom, lethal.”

Good news for us, bad news for the local bats.

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Mo Mehlsak is editor of The Forecaster. He can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 107 or mmehlsak@theforecaster.net. You can also follow Mo @mmehlsak on Twitter.

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Editor of The Forecaster; prior reporting/editing gigs at Automotive Age magazine, Daily News of Los Angeles, Biddeford Journal Tribune; Syracuse U. Orange-bleeder; lifelong NY Yankees fan, longtime resident of Red Sox Nation.