By June Conner
For the Star-Gazette
Cass County Star Gazette Publisher Jody Woltman is returning to Michigan. She came to Beardstown in March 2010 from Sandusky, Michigan where she had served as the sales and marketing manager with the Sanilac and Huron County News group for the previous 10 years. Anyone that has gotten to know Jody has been touched by her acquaintance. In the last three and a half years, Jody has traveled all of Cass County promoting the entire area in the local paper and is to be commended for her efforts.
Beardstown's “mover and shaker,” Jack Fearneyhough said, “Although Jody has become a personal friend of Marti and I, the really deep pain I feel caused by her leaving is for the community. To me, she is one of the major "positive forces" that would be leading Cass County and Beardstown into the future. There will be a large vacuum created when she relocates to Michigan and it won't be easily filled. She has been so wonderful for all of us.
“A "non-native," she wrapped herself around this community like a warm breeze. She cried with our pains and laughed with our joys. She celebrated our successes and mourned our losses. Jody challenged elected officials and citizens alike to be better and, yet, accepted us with all of our blemishes. She looked beneath the surface and fell in love with all of us. Jody melded into Cass County as if she were a native.
“Collectively we all need to leave our front porch lights on for her to find her way back home in Cass. Her move is based on family needs and that makes the decision right to go back to Michigan. Our loss is Michigan's gain. Let's hope it's just temporary," concluded Fearneyhough.
Jody created many friendships with her clients. Linda Scott of West Central Bank said, “My first introduction to Jody Woltman was all business, her creating an ad for the bank. But it didn't take long for that business relationship to evolve into a personal relationship and then a great friendship. Jody is a remarkably strong person whom I admire and have utmost respect for. She is also a great “newspaper lady.” I am really going to miss her, not only her talent with ads and articles for the paper, but especially our conversations and her unique talent of making me laugh almost on a daily basis. Good luck, Jode, you are gonna be missed!!!"
Local organizations have also depended on her talents. Main Street Executive Director Dennis Reiley said, “Jody Woltman can leave Beardstown with a certain knowledge she is leaving it better than when she arrived. She has been a staunch supporter of any civic improvement and has not hesitated to promote the projects of Beardstown Main Street when she felt they would help the city, and she did not hesitate to inform me when she thought otherwise. She is a good friend of Beardstown, of Beardstown Main Street, and of mine. We are better because of her. May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Good luck and Godspeed my friend.”
Woltman will be sales manager for a newspaper group in northern Michigan owned by Schurz Communications. The group includes five publications in Petoskey, Gaylord and Charlevoix. “I will truly miss Cass County. I have made life-long friends and have tried to inform the public, help in fundraising efforts and tell the stories of locals. I feel as though I am leaving my second family, but my family needs me right now. I will not say good-bye, but ‘until we meet again.’ I feel I will be back again some day.”