Dateline Dixon: Dixon on my mind

“Hi, I’m Derek Barichello, I’m the new Dixon city reporter for Sauk Valley Media.”

Some of you around downtown Dixon might have heard that introduction with a handshake Tuesday afternoon.

Like many politicians in the area with Election Day rolling around, I felt like I was campaigning. No worries, I won’t be taking out any radio ads.

My predecessor, Emily Coleman, has done a great job covering the city, especially her work on the Rita Crundwell case, and I plan to continue her excellence in reporting.

I wanted to use today’s column to invite anyone in the community not to be shy. If you feel there is anything on your mind the newspaper should know about, from issues to events, please let me know.

I welcome anyone to stop by the Daily Telegraph office, 113 S. Peoria Ave., on most afternoons to meet me, or come to my open “office hours” at Books on First, 202 W. First St.

Yes! Similar to Emily, the public can come and ask questions, suggest story ideas, or just chat. I’ve confirmed with Larry Dunphy, owner of Books on First, and I will host my first office hour from 1 to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

I’m new to the city, so there’s a lot I’d like to hear, including good tips on restaurants.

I’m from Streator, about an hour and a half southeast of Dixon, so I’ve visited Dixon a few times during my 28 years, mostly for sports. Sports fans will recognize Streator is one of Dixon’s conference foes in the Northern Illinois Big 12 – well, up until this year, as the Dukes plan to switch conferences in 2013-2014.

I also was aware of your city’s Ronald Reagan history, as my wife, Julie Stroebel Barichello, is following the Reagan trail in reverse, having graduated from Reagan’s alma mater, Eureka College.

Reporting in cities the size of Dixon is nothing new to me. I’ve enjoyed reporting for 3 years, primarily in Streator, for The Times in Ottawa.

When Julie landed a job in Moline, the Sauk Valley area seemed like a good fit. I remembered the Dixon arch and the historic downtown area. Too bad I came too late and missed out on Mumford & Sons.

I’m ready to be your watchdog, and invite any extra eyes and ears to help me do the best job I can keeping the city informed.

Dateline Dixon is a weekly column discussing whatever Dixon is discussing.

In addition to his office hours, Derek Barichello can be reached at dbarichello@saukvalley.com or 815-625-3600, ext. 526.