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Happy to be in Monroe, back in Wisconsin
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Hello, Monroe.

Readers may have noticed a new byline in the paper and on The Monroe Times Web site, www.themonroetimes. com, in past few weeks; that would be me.

I hale from Oshkosh originally - the first 24 years of my life - but now, 28 years old, I come to the area from Wauconda, Ill., a suburb about an hour northwest of Chicago.

I will list most of the places I have worked and lived shortly, but first I must say it is truly relieving to be back in my home state. The natural beauty of Wisconsin became so normal to me while living up here that when I moved away to the concrete jungle of northeastern Illinois I forgot how wonderful a place this is.

As for me, I most recently worked for the Chicago Sun-Times News Group with the Pioneer Press newspaper chain in Arlington Heights, Ill. I covered the municipalities of Rolling Meadows - the home of Precious Moments collectibles - and Palatine.

Prior to Wauconda and the Pioneer Press, I spent three years employed at two Gannett Wisconsin newspapers. I started my career at the Fond du Lac Reporter, then spent two years as the business/city reporter in Wisconsin Rapids at The Daily Tribune.

I have reported on topics ranging from concerns of rural residents and businesses, big cities, national-headline-generating crimes and lawsuits, and sales of international companies to the closure of central Wisconsin paper mills, which in some cases were the lifeblood of the cities and towns they resided in for decades.

As I begin my tenure as news editor of the Times, I want to thank the readers who support the newspaper and Web site, and the future readers who I hope will give us a chance. I look forward to serving all of you, because that is what we do in the news business - work for the public.

Please feel free, and I encourage you, to send me your thoughts on what we should cover, or just your everyday thoughts and concerns. I want to make my best effort to understand the complex issues that confront Monroe and the greater Green County and Lafayette County area.

Take care, and watch out for bicycles.

- Andrew Hellpap is news editor of The Monroe Times. He can be reached at