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From the desk of Jason Zara, staff writer: Saying farewell … sort of

April 27, 2001

Today is my last day at this newspaper … and that is harder to say than I ever thought it would be.

So far my career path, like my life, has been completely unpredictable. Not that I'm really complaining.

Ten years ago I probably would have been voted most likely to be found semi-conscious on a beach if there had been such a category in our high school yearbook. Since that didn't work out, I was semi-conscious throughout most of college instead.

Somewhere in there I managed to get a degree, make a lot of friends, fall in love and get married.

All I needed then was a job.

A year after marriage I was looking for a better job and a better place to raise my newborn daughter — what I found was El Centro and the Imperial Valley Press.

My life's ambition of never having to wear socks had been replaced by the desire to own a home, raise a family and work hard at a job that I considered both entertaining and important. My wife ran first one then two businesses out of our home, and when the second grew too big, we took it to the next step. Now our retail store is busy enough that I want to dedicate more time to it and to my family and home.


So again my plans change. I thought I would stay in the Valley for a few years and then move on. I thought for sure I would only stay as long as I worked at the newspaper. But now I'm leaving the paper, but will continue to call El Centro home.

In the Imperial Valley Press' 100th anniversary edition to be published Sunday, readers sent in their remembrances of the paper, and why it was important to them. Let me add mine.

I've learned an incredible amount about not only newspaper work but about the community and its people. If it wasn't for my work here I don't think I would have been able to succeed with a business in the Valley, and I'm not sure I'd have wanted to without the opportunity to meet all the wonderful people I've come across in the line of work.

I will continue to contribute my Buried Treasures column to the paper once a month, and if all goes well my byline may pop up again now and then. If nothing else I'll probably be a regular contributor to the Reader Writes section — I've spent too long on the editorial board to keep my opinions to myself now.

So I guess what I'm really trying to say in my ramblings here is thank you; to my editors who helped me become a better reporter and a better writer, to my co-workers for putting up with my quirks and to everyone who was ever a part of my time at the Imperial Valley Press.

No matter what else can be said about it, the Imperial Valley Press is a dedicated, local newspaper. The staff takes its watchdog role seriously, and does it well. While I will miss being a part of that, I look forward to reading the paper … after sleeping nice and late Monday.

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