The news never ends
It was January 2020 and I was a little bit cranky.
“No news!” I said at the time. “There is absolutely nothing going on!”
I’ve made a solemn vow never to say such a thing again.
As a career newspaperman, I love news. I love the thrill of chasing breaking news, of shining light into a dark corner, of telling a story someone doesn’t want told.
But sometimes lately, I’m about newsed out.
It wasn’t long after I complained about not having anything to cover that I decided it would be a good time to finally look into the resume of Lacey Ekberg.
Some readers will recall, but others might not, that Ms. Ekberg was hired in July 2019 as executive director of the Eureka Springs City Advertising and Promotion Commission. Between the time she was hired and the time she started work the following month, I got a tip that she had twice filed for personal bankruptcy protection.
Lots of people file for bankruptcy and it isn’t news. But Ms. Ekberg was about to become the chief executive of a public entity with a budget of $1.5 million composed almost entirely of tax dollars. That made her personal financial issues relevant.
I actually felt bad about reporting on the issue until I took a look at Ms. Ekberg’s resume. Right away, I thought: “Something isn’t right.” But it wasn’t until things slowed way down the following January that I got a chance to really look into it.
I’d like to say I did some sort of stellar investigative reporting, but the reality is most of what I uncovered about Ms. Ekberg’s background came from a simple Google search. It turned out that what her resume described as “short-term contracts” were actually intended to be permanent positions. Seven jobs in seven years. Well, actually eight. Ms. Ekberg had one short-lived job that wasn’t mentioned on her resume — for just over two months she was employed as a tourism development manager in Alachua County, Fla., while at the same time she was on a partially paid leave of absence from a similar position in Switzerland County, Ind. Neither employer was aware of the other.
I’ll give myself a little bit of credit for ferreting out that bit of information. I almost missed it but Ms. Ekberg attended a trade conference during her time at Alachua County and her name was included on a list of attendees. A little more research and a few more questions from a nosy reporter uncovered the whole story.
And the news hasn’t seemed to slow down since. The COVID-19 pandemic reached Carroll County shortly thereafter and only now seems to be waning — we hope.
Between reporting on the pandemic and keeping up with our local city councils and school boards and paying attention to police logs and court dockets and high school graduations and homecomings and ballgames and now into a local election season that — I’m stealing this line — feels like a Netflix series that’s only missing a tiger, there’s been plenty to keep us busy.
I promise I’ll never again complain about not having enough news. I might complain about having too much. But who am I kidding? This is fun!