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September 21, 2019

8/26/2019 11:14:00 AM
A life lost too soon...
As a journalist for the last two years, I have reported on so many different topics: mental health, the opioid crisis, a first degree reckless homicide, discussed a new county jail building in the works, the list goes on.
Sometimes with all the information swimming in my head and with things going on, I've caught myself worried about what am I missing, am I keeping the community informed, a few of the many questions that often go through a journalist's mind.
This past week, as the last issue was laid to rest, I received some heartbreaking news. Amber Levenhagen, a reporter for Unified Newspaper Group in Verona, and a woman that alongside me became a WNA Future Headliner last year, lost her life as the result of an automobile accident. She was on her way from Oconomowoc when the multi-vehicle accident happened.
Like me she had a curiosity for the community around her. According to an article published by the Unified Newspaper group, "she was well-known around town (very similar to me)." She covered many of the same topics I did, and at many events. I even had the pleasure to see her again at this past year's newspaper convention. I remember when we had our discussion panel last October talking to high school level students about the future of journalism, and the advice given to those interested in community journalism.
She had such a grace about her that could not be explained unless you saw her in action. One important piece of advice she gave to the students was, "take time for yourself." I've learned the hard way, that there's only so much that one can do. Sure there are stories to cover, there are people to interview and there is research to be done. However, you have to establish a balance. I've learned that I can't stretch myself becausing if I'm not taking care of myself, I can't put my best foot forward and report on the community that has been a big portion of my life.
As soon as I learned the news of her passing, it broke my heart. There is a void at the Unified Newspaper Group, and my sympathy and well wishes go to them. The world is a little less brighter without her, and I hope the community of Verona and her news team find strength during this very difficult time.

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