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There’s no place like Lincoln County

ANNIE BLACKBURN
Staff Writer

Allow me to begin by saying I love Lincoln County.
The first time I drove around the Court Square in Lincolnton, I knew I was home. As a Navy brat, a 2004 transplant from the Mississippi Gulf Coast and someone that had already put down roots in Rutherford County with the rest of my transplant family, I was hesitant to move again but my opinion on the matter completely changed that very first day I spent here. I was engaged to a local, a great guy that was born and raised in Lincoln County, and as we planned our life together, there was only one place we could possibly live. He said that he loved his small town and it was where he wanted to grow our family.
I quickly agreed with his assessment during my first Apple Festival. There was something so quaint and special about Lincoln County. We bought a little fixer-upper house and got married on June 5, 2010, blending two very unique families. Together, we have three children.
We spent our honeymoon at home. It was the only place I wanted to be.
As I have an extensive creative writing background and studied English Literature at Gardner-Webb University, I was over-the-moon excited when given the opportunity to join the Lincoln-Times News family. I’d fallen in love with this community and now I can really be a part of it and make a difference.
Jenna-Ley Harrison met me at the office early on June 18. Even at 5 a.m., she was bright-eyed and ready to tackle the day. Her love for what she does is infectious. She is old hat at this but still exudes an eagerness that is impossible not to take notice of. As I followed her on interviews and to meet community leaders, it became apparent to me that I had big shoes to fill. Harrison is moving on, getting married and beginning a new chapter in her life and the impact that she’s made on Lincoln County was evident in the goodbyes and well-wishes that took place as we traveled. To the people she is bidding farewell, she mattered. She made a difference to them. The emotion was powerful and it did not fail to take root.
Harrison’s chapter with the Lincoln-Times and with our community is coming to an end, but mine is just beginning. Being a part of Lincoln County has changed my life for the better. I think of how truly blessed I am every day to live here, surrounded by small–town charm and the best of big-city culture. As I drive my son to school, I pass by the Laboratory Mill with all of its history and the scenic beauty that surrounds it. I could spend days walking through the rows of fragrant pine and spruce trees at Helms Christmas Tree Farm. I get a little giddy in early June when Hog Happenin’ gears up. Nothing signals the coming of autumn to me quite like the Apple Festival, or when I see billboards beginning to advertise Denver Days. I’ve spent hours sitting in the Court Square during the holiday season, looking at the lights and listening to the inspirational Christmas music that plays in the streets. The first day I was married to my husband, we spent it at Woodmill Winery. I’ve made so many memories here, and am proud to call Lincolnton my home. It seems only fitting, since this beautiful County has given so much to me that I return the favor and do my level best to be a friend to the community through the Lincoln Times-News.
Yes, I have big shoes to fill. But I hope you don’t mind, Lincoln County, if I bring my own shoes too.

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