What’s going on, Dundalk?
My name is Mike Ursery, and I am the new editor at The Dundalk Eagle. First, I’d like to express how excited I am to come aboard this award-winning newspaper.
The Eagle has been in great hands since its inception 50 years ago. My expectation for myself is to continue this newspaper’s tradition of being the top local source for community news.
Beloved editor B. Rae Perryman has been promoted to Executive Editor. She’s still around, but I’ll be your go-to for day to day Dundalk area news.
I am landing in Dundalk after spending three years at a newspaper in central Missouri called The Fayette Advertiser. I was the sports editor, responsible for covering all athletics at five high schools and one college, Central Methodist University.
Readers might be familiar with CMU. It’s the current home of Toni Harris, the first woman skills position player to accept a football scholarship.
After three years at The Fayette Advertiser, I had decided that I accomplished everything I could there, career-wise. I felt I was ready to move on to something more challenging and take on more responsibilities.
Before beginning my journalism career, I spent 13 years in the United States Marine Corps. I am a veteran of both Operation: Enduring Freedom and Operation: Iraqi Freedom. I did one tour in Iraq, where I was based at Al Asad Air Base. I did a tour in Afghanistan, at Forward Operating Base Edinburgh, near Musa Qala.
Moving to Maryland is not random. Coming here was a part of my plan.
I was not abundantly familiar with Dundalk when I applied for this position, but knew of it and of Bethlehem Steel. One of the few things I knew about the Baltimore area before moving here was the city’s drug problem, specifically, heroin and fentanyl. Almost immediately upon starting at The Eagle, I learned that these substances are abundant in Dundalk.
B. Rae was helpful to me in this. As you all know, she is a drug policy veteran and a vocal recovery advocate. We will continue this beat in earnest as I take over as editor.
I want to shine a light on this issue. I want to do so, not by writing a generic “drugs are bad so don’t do them” message. Instead, I want to take a different approach and cover the situation from different angles. One of those angles is attempting to remove the stigma behind drug addiction.
In last week’s Eagle, I wrote a story about One Voice Dundalk. I spent several hours at the recovery center before putting words to paper.
I sat with clients, listening to their stories and hearing their cries for help. These people visit the center because they want to be free from disordered substance use.
I want to give deeper insight as to how drugs are affecting people who use them, their families and the community-at-large. I also want to make the stories of people who suffer from addiction more personable.
Not every circumstance that leads to substance use disorder is the same. The people who struggle with this demon come from all walks of life. Addiction does not discriminate.
However, those in recovery all have the same goal — to live and be alive.
Removing the stigma behind addiction will go a long way in making the pathway to recovery easier. The goal is to reduce the number of new crosses going up in front of Boulevard Diner.
I’m excited to get started. I invite readers to come to our office and introduce themselves. I want to get to know the people of this community. If you’re a veteran, come in and we’ll share stories about our military tenures.
One more thing: Don’t forget to pick up your Eagle this week!