The recession really hits home for me today, as we have to say good-bye to our reporter Kate Fetterly. Layoffs mean we have to let Kate go after just five months on the job.
Kate came to Oshkosh committed to starting a new life. It's not my place to talk about the details of her situation, but let's just say most of us would not have wanted to follow the same path Kate took to WOSH. But she was strong and gave up pretty much everything to come here and start all over. Kate was even looking forward to assimilating into the "culture" of Oshkosh. I laugh every time I think about how excited she was about getting her first bowling ball and bowling shoes. All she needed was a sturgeon spear and you would have mistaken her for a native.
But now, those dreams of change here in Oshkosh are gone--at least as a broadcaster--taken away by the past mistakes of consumers, bankers and politicians that have come back to haunt us now. I am angry that someone who tries to play by the rules and is just trying to get back on their feet is knocked down again in such a way. It's easy to pontificate (as I often do) about personal responsibility from the position of financial and personal security that I enjoy. But what do you say to the person who is trying to get things straightened out--but just can't get past the starting line?
For all of it's faults and pork, the federal stimulus package does have some good things to it--like extended unemployment benefits, money for states to increase uninsurance compensation payments and financial assistance for COBRA payments. These are responsible, caring provisions that make sense as we enter what I still fear will be an extended period of economic malaise. And they don't commit us to huge programs that will just keep sucking life out of the national economic engine--and keep some people from ever getting ahead.
So I will miss Kate and all of the good work she has done for us here at WOSH. Given her determination, she'll fight her way through this latest setback and find success somewhere else. If anyone could use a bright and hard-working young woman on their staff, feel free to let us know.