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Lynn's retirement

Cap Times photographer Michelle Stocker surprised Lynn Danielson this week by decorating her office in Cap Times colors and retirement well wishes. 

I'm going to get a little personal here today to say goodbye to one of our staff stalwarts, Lynn Danielson — who, when she leaves the office today, will embark on a new journey: the one we know as retirement.

Lynn's been with us for 19 years, serving the last 11 as our opinion editor, where she has worked very closely with John Nichols and me — saving us from ourselves more often than we like to admit.

She originally shared the opinion editor position with Judie Kleinmaier, but when Judie semi-retired a few years ago, Lynn took it on full time. She has not only edited our columns, but those of our other regular columnists, hundreds of op-ed contributions and Voice of the People letters. She has tackled a myriad of other chores that go into producing daily digital opinion content and several pages of the weekly print newspaper, from soliciting opinion pieces from those with expertise on certain issues to selecting the editorial cartoons that readers rave about.

While doing all that, Lynn has been an integral part of our editorial board, participating in meetings with everyone from politicians to citizens with a cause. She has helped form the editorial positions we take, including the endorsement of candidates at election time.

I can't tell you the number of emails and phone calls I've received these past few weeks after it was announced that Lynn is leaving. They all wanted me to know how much they enjoyed working with her. After all, she had to be brutally honest when a contribution wasn't that well written or when it needed to be trimmed. Egos can be bruised easily.

Yet she had a knack to do it all without offending. They wanted me to know that she not only salvaged their feelings, but actually made their copy better or convinced them that, really, you can make a point just as effectively with fewer words.

In short, she's been key in shaping a Cap Times opinion section that has won numerous awards during her reign, including being named the best opinion section in the state this year by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

I had a hunch something was about to change when a few months ago Lynn informed me she would soon be eligible to sign up for Medicare, and then, just a few weeks later, noted that she and her husband, Tim Chapman, really enjoy traveling, and there are places they're dying to see.

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Most certainly, Lynn will be hard to replace, but we're lucky that her successor, veteran staffer Jessie Opoien, is up to the task and has already hit the ground running.

So from all of us and the many people you've touched through all the years, have a happy, fulfilling retirement, Lynn.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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