Tonawanda News

Columns

March 6, 2014

Coming home and starting anew

Tonawanda News — I have been asked to take over writing a weekly column to replace former reporter and now Lifestyle Editor Jill Keppeler. 

Jill has held this spot for several years and those will be tough shoes to fill but I will give it a shot. 

First, an introduction. I am the city editor for the Tonawanda News and have recently come back to that position, replacing Neale Gulley, after a five-year hiatus to stay home with my two sons.

I graduated from Buffalo State College with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked locally as a reporter before moving to California for several years.

I was fortunate to work as an editor for weekly and then daily publications in the San Francisco Bay Area for several years before returning home to Western New York with my husband and first son. 

My husband and I were the opposite of the “Brain Drain” that is often talked about. We moved from a large metropolitan city on the West Coast to return to the economically depressed Buffalo area. One of the biggest problems facing this area is the fact that young people are leaving in droves to find work and opportunities in other more economically advantageous areas of the country. 

Our main reason for moving back was to be closer to family and we do not regret that decision one bit. But it was hard in the beginning, and in some ways easier. 

First, having family support was a huge help. And the cost of living here is much less than in San Francisco. But with a lower cost of living comes a lower rate of pay. My husband, a graphic designer, took a 50 percent pay cut to move back here. 

But on the positive side, we were able to buy a home in a short period of time and the cost of the home was about double what we made. In San Francisco, the cost of a modest two bedroom home was $600,000 and often way more. Five times a person’s salary, not double. 

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