Saying goodbye, saying hello

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A few weeks ago we bid farewell to the talented and driven Makayla McGeeney. She's now the communications director at Tunnel City Coffee in Williamstown, Mass. Our loss is their gain.

We hired McGeeney as a reporter in December 2015 even before she'd finished getting her degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She started strong and never stopped, covering a wide range of beats mostly in the Northshire, but all over Bennington County as well. Being a bit of a "health nut," she gravitated towards the health care beat and even wrote a nutrition and fitness column for us on a weekly basis. "Bigger than Biceps" offered tips on how to make going to the gym a force of habit along with eating right and staying motivated.

McGeeney displayed a talent for arts and entertainment coverage, tracking down and speaking to an Academy Award winner David Wasco, who won an Oscar this year for production design on the film, "La La Land." Wasco graduated from Mount Anthony Union High School in 1971, making his award a thing of local interest. We had a number of people contact us wanting to read about him in the paper. Few of those people actually wanted to speak, of course, so getting that piece together was a challenge, one McGeeney was more than up for.

Behind the scenes she regularly took on more responsibility when it was offered and routinely did more than she was asked. She'll be missed at the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal and we expect she'll do great things wherever she goes from here.

Fortunately for us as the Banner and Journal, McGeeney's shoes will be filled by Cherise Madigan, who began as a reporter late last week. She's no stranger to this area, having graduated MAUHS in 2011 and attending Nazareth College in Pittsford, N.Y. While there, she founded a non-profit focused on gender equality.

Madigan has been writing freelance articles for the Banner, Journal, Brattleboro Reformer, and Berkshire Eagle for a little while now. During high school she was here as an intern, helping out around Town Meeting Day. She even filed a few stories for us, one of which was an interview with long-shot gubernatorial candidate Dennis Steele who ran quite unsuccessfully in 2010 against Peter Shumlin and Brian Dubie.

As a full-time reporter for both the Banner and Journal, she's already written articles on Manchester being designated an Appalachian Trail Community by the Appalachian trail Conservancy, and Rabbi David Novak leaving the Israel Congregation.

We're quite glad to have Madigan's byline as a regular occurrence in our papers. Her knowledge of the area and its people is a great asset for a young reporter to have, one that will benefit not only us but the community as well.

You can reach Madigan at 802-490-6471 or by emailing cmadigan@benningtonbanner.com.


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