Ace St. Pete Times columnist Howard Troxler to leave newspaper in June
No way to be objective about this one.
Howard Troxler, one of my best buddies at the newspaper will be leaving us in June for life in the mountains of North Carolina. There's no intrigue or subversive hidden agendas here; Howard has just decided it's time for him to move on to a different challenge.
He doesn't know if he'll be writing, but after more than 20 years teaching us all how to see our community and our laws in new, illuminating ways, he's decided he wants to try something else.
It's going to be a blow for us, no two ways about it. Howard is one of the best metro columnists I've ever read -- certainly the best one I've ever worked with directly -- and a constant inspiration for his ability to keep getting better, year after year.
But, as Howard noted himself when we talked earlier today, his departure on his own terms for his own reasons is also a good sign. We're getting past the times when every job change in newspapers is a forced cut and back to the days of making career choices.
Here's a few more facts from the note that Howard wrote the newsroom today. He'll also have a note in his column for tomorrow's newspaper.
"Howard and his wife Lynn Casey are relocating – going back home actually – to North Carolina. His last column will appear June 12th.
We swiped Howard away from the Tampa Tribune and he started his career at the Times on May 6, 1991. He’s been a marquee feature of our metro report ever since, including a two-year stint as the paper’s political editor. Howard has been widely recognized in state and national journalism contests, including First Place awards in the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors contest.
Howard’s trademarks are passion and the courage to call “Bull” on conventional or lazy thinking. He is an extremely talented writer who does not coast on merely offering a clever phrase or a witty line. His success is rooted in how much he cares about his community, democracy, and the power of journalism. As a result, he has become the face of an assertive news organization grinding it out every day to help make the world a better place. We will miss him.
Between now and the time his car heads north, we’ll find opportunity to celebrate Howard and his work. Meanwhile: his own thoughts on his decision.
“”This is the fulfillment of a longtime dream for us. We've been talking for years about a life up in the North Carolina mountains, close to our family and some of our dearest friends. Over the past few months we've been actively planning it. My friends ask me: What are you going to do? For starters, I'm going to unpack, make a new home, give Louie the Dog a long walk in the mountains every morning, and attempt to learn to make a fine fruit jam. As for what comes after that, we'll see.
I cannot tell you how proud I am of the St. Petersburg Times and what it means to the state of Florida, and how grateful I am to have worked here for 20 years. It is more important and beautiful a beacon today than it ever has been. What matters most in democracy is truth and light -- especially when there are so many people trying to avoid truth and light -- and those are exactly what a great newspaper provides.
If you're ever in Saluda, N.C., a little southeast of Asheville, there's a restaurant on Main Street called the Purple Onion. My wife and sister-in-law started it 12 years ago and it has stayed in the family. I will either be sitting at the bar, or if I'm in the mood and they let me do it, waiting tables. In either case I will be a blissfully happy man.