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The People's Voice: In word or heard? I recommend both

Published: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 12:51 p.m. CDT

Hi! I’m Christopher Heimerman. You may remember me from such SVM sports series as The Hidden Injury and The Naturals.

That awful Troy McClure impression aside (it really doesn’t work in print), those series were vehicles for me to write about some less-than-sporty subjects. Or at least subjects that many sports fans would rather not think about: concussions and nutrition, respectively.

As I ventured into those series, it occurred to me that there might be a place for me beyond the arena of sports.

Lo and behold, if you’ve been wondering why my smiling mug has been missing from the B Section the past few weeks, it’s because I’ve moved on up to the A side.

I accepted the night news editor position for a number of reasons, almost all of which have a common thread: family. More specifically, my family, which doubled in size 4 months ago.

My wife and I welcomed two beautiful baby girls, Anna Elisabeth and Elise Rae, into the world, and nothing has been the same since. Suddenly, I felt the need to have my thumb more firmly pressed on the pulse of the community in which my girls will grow up. I also wanted to work more dad-friendly hours. And, on the whole, I wanted to grow as a journalist and as a person.

I’ll miss many things about working on SVM’s powerhouse sports staff. My swan song, covering Newman’s smothering of Mercer County in the Class 2A football semifinals, was emblematic of many of those things. Obviously, I’m a sports nut. But most of all, I knew I’d miss the people, whether it be the young minds, those molding them from along the sideline and in the classroom, or those cheering them on from the stands or the living room, thanks to the power of Twitter.

About the time it hit me that I’d miss meeting people and fostering relationships, I was negotiating (a very loose term, mind you) terms of my new position with SVM Managing Editor Jeff Rogers.

And this is where we get back to that being-in-touch-with-the-community thing.

Jeff proposed that I write a regular column. On people.

With all the hairs on my arms standing at attention, I said something to the tune of, “That would be awesome.”

Editor’s note: I’m trying my best to remove words like “awesome” and “sweet” from my daily lexicon. It’s all part of faking it till I make it.

So this little ditty is the intro to “The People’s Voice,” a series of columns in which I’ll profile folks from every walk of life in the Sauk Valley. The same way that my Troy McClure impression fell flat in print, I often feel like, no matter how well a journalist writes, print articles don’t do a great interview justice. Sometimes, no adjective or adverb can describe a story subject’s expression, or their intonation.

So coinciding with each column will be a podcast that you’ll be able to download at saukvalley.com.

All I need now is your help. Is there a public figure whose brain you’d like me to pick? Know someone who has overcome incredible odds or just flat-out inspires you? Maybe your cousin, Jim Bob, has the biggest taxidermy collection this side of the Mississippi.

I’m all ears. Or eyes, depending on how you get in touch with me. Send your recommendations to cheimerman@saukvalley.com or tweet them to @CHeimerman_SVM on Twitter. Wait, I said ears, didn’t I? Feel free to call me at 815-625-3600, ext. 523.

If you’d like a hint as to the star of the first installment, he’s someone you’ve likely run into a few times over the past couple of weeks. But after Wednesday, good luck finding him.

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