It’s time to take a different road

Scott Mitchell Johnson, Special to The County
9 years ago

    Ask anyone who really knows me and they’ll tell you that I’m not the most adventurous person you’ll ever find. I dare say the bravest thing I’ve ever done is fly — twice — in a hot air balloon. However, that is about to change.

On June 25, me, my wife, Casey, my son, Kendall, and my mother, Norma, will be driving across the country as we relocate to Las Vegas. That’s right, Las Vegas … the Entertainment Capital of the World … Sin City.
To say it will be a bit of a culture shock would be an understatement. Fortunately my wife lived there several years ago, and still knows her way around. We’re looking forward to a change of pace, having more opportunities, and warmer weather (let’s face it, it’s much easier shoveling sunshine).
I’ve been a reporter at The Star-Herald since December 2004. Before that, I spent seven and-a-half years as a reporter at our sister publication, the Houlton Pioneer Times. For nearly 18 years, I’ve worked for the same company, Northeast Publishing, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do professionally — even as a kid. While I don’t remember it, my mother says I used to write a “neighborhood newspaper.” I can’t imagine what there was to write about growing up on Elizabeth Street, but I’m sure I found some story to tell.
That’s what I like most about this business. The number of people that I have met who have had interesting, informative, inspiring, sad, and even funny stories to share is endless. I tell people that “everyone has a story,” and that’s true. I’ve been fortunate to share those stories with the readers for all these years.
People keep asking me, “What are you going to do for work in Las Vegas?” My answer is, “Not what I’ve been doing.” I figure if I’m going to move west and change my life quite drastically, I might as well do something different. Who knows? Maybe I’ll work at a casino.
As a newspaper reporter, you meet a lot of people. Many of those people have become friends, and while I’ll miss them, I’m excited about this new adventure. Sometimes you’ve got to roll the dice, pardon the pun. While Presque Isle will always be my hometown, and I’m proud to be from the Star City, sometimes life takes you down a different road. My road is leading me west.
I’d like to thank the readers of The Star-Herald for letting me inform — and maybe even entertain — them through my reporting. To everyone I’ve ever interviewed, thank you for trusting me to tell your story. I hope you liked the finished product. To my co-workers and colleagues — both in Houlton and in Presque Isle — thank you for your friendship. You made coming into work enjoyable.
As this is graduation season — and having covered numerous high school and college graduations — I feel compelled to leave you with some advice … much the way commencement speakers do. Remember, life is like a game of chance. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose, but you can’t win if you don’t play.
Don’t be afraid to take a chance. I’m taking a huge leap of faith, but I’m confident in my abilities, and those of my family, that we can make this work. Don’t let fear hold you back. Am I nervous about moving away from my hometown and the familiarity that goes along with it? Yes, but at the end of the day, home is where your family is, and while I will be leaving many relatives — and friends — in the greater Presque Isle area, my immediate family will be by my side as we embark on this new journey … together.
If you’re ever in Las Vegas, please look me up. And remember, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
    Editor’s note: The staff of The Star-Herald, its sister publications and the printing plant have enjoyed working with Scott Mitchell Johnson over the years and wish him and his family all the best in the future. His newspaper work will be missed.