New reporter joins the Journals

Editor’s note: We’ve got a new reporter at the Southwest Journal. Nick Halter is taking on the beats formerly held by Jake Weyer, who is now on the City Hall/Park Board beats. Halter will be covering business, development and public safety in addition to several neighborhoods in Southwest: East Harriet, Linden Hills, Fulton, Kingfield and Lyndale.

Goodbye to the land of beer, cheese, Friday night fish fries and Green Bay Packers football. Hello to the land of lakes, Thai restaurants, bike paths and Twins baseball.

There are stark differences in the culture of Wisconsin, where I spent the last two years working as a reporter, and the culture of Minneapolis, the neighbor to my hometown of St. Paul. But one thing remains constant: People in both places want a good, honest account of what is happening in their community and they want to kick back, put their feet up and read a good story.

I like to think I have some experience in delivering both. My desk has been piled high with documents from the city of Wausau, where I churned out an award-winning investigative report about questionable travel expenses by city officials. I’ve done explanatory reporting on what caused a massive fish kill in a large Wisconsin reservoir. I’ve told the tale of farmers who have lost their crops to devastating floods near Madison.

It’s with much excitement that I join the reporting team at the Southwest Journal. While my passion for community journalism has no boundaries, it’s always been my dream to cover issues in the state where I was born and raised.

Though I live in the Crocus Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, I consider my apartment a mere launching pad into Minneapolis. I’m proud to say I keep a canoe on Lake Harriet and I’m responsible for some of the rubber skid marks on the Cedar bicycle trail.

It will be my job and my pleasure to get to know you and the neighborhoods of Southwest. I’m looking forward to telling your stories and giving you a heads up about what’s happening in your community.

But before I do, here’s a little background on me:

I’m probably not half the writer that Mark Train was. But I may be one of very few people in history who, like him, worked as both a riverboat captain and a journalist.
I spent my summers during college piloting the Padelford Riverboats, which currently are docked at Harriet Island in St. Paul but once made their home at Boom Island.

I’m not sure how being a riverboat captain and a newspaper reporter relate. But I do know that both professions offer an exciting career in which two days are never the same. They are also both the source of premature gray hair on my head.

While I no longer navigate the waters of the Mississippi River, I look forward to navigating the streets and neighborhoods of Southwest, looking for a good story, interesting person or new business.

I hope you will e-mail or call me with any story ideas, input on my articles or just to tell me more about the community.

Reach Nick Halter at [email protected] or 436-5088.