Thanks for the adventures, Shelby County

Published 10:20 am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I have to admit, when I applied for a job at the Shelby County Reporter, I wasn’t optimistic.

I had just moved across the country from Oklahoma to Birmingham and had never heard of the small city of Columbiana, 38 miles away from downtown Birmingham.

When I came into the office on Main Street for my interview, I quickly realized the Shelby County Reporter was going to blow all my preconceived notions of a county newspaper out of the water.

Now, a year later, as I regrettably find myself again packing up my belongings and loading them into a moving truck, I must say I have fallen in love with this paper and with Shelby County.

I’ve enjoyed every moment, from my days in the beginning covering city council meetings and the birthday parties of local WWII veterans to more recently as the editor of Shelby Living, Wellness Alabama and Bride Guide: Shelby County magazines.

Some of my most fun memories of Alabama happened while reporting for the paper, including floating in a hot air balloon, stomping grapes at Morgan Creek Vineyard, attending my first UM College Night, exploring a simulated coal mine and riding a steam engine down the tracks in Calera.

Other experiences were meaningful to me on a different level, such as covering the capital murder trail of Ryan Russell and sitting in a room with some of the strongest women I have ever met as they opened their hearts during a meeting of Survivors of Suicide Loss.

I will treasure each one of these experiences as my husband and I pack up to move to Charleston, S.C. this week.

The people I interviewed, the stories I wrote and the experiences I had here in Shelby County have made me a stronger person and a better journalist.

By far the thing I will miss the most about Shelby County, though, is the wonderful group of people I had the privilege of with working with day in and day out. They supported me, they challenged me and they became some of my closest friends.

Thanks for the adventures, Shelby County. Now I’m off to go start a new one.

Katie Hurst is the Lifestyles Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 19 or by email at