You couldn't tell from this issue, but Victoria Kratz has left the building. Vikki Kratz, Isthmus' government and local issues reporter since August 2003, has retired from the business; she spent her final day on staff Friday, Jan. 16. Our cover story, "Losing the Farm," is her last as a staff writer. And as if to prove that when the fire bell goes off the old instincts engage, she has contributed a special report this week from the Obama inauguration.
Kratz came to Isthmus over five years ago well prepared to write on government, of which we have much in Madison - state, county and local, not to mention the occasional federal involvement. Prior to her hire, Kratz was working as an investigative reporter for the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C.
A native of Green Bay, Kratz graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Minnesota in 1995. Her first post-collegiate job was with Business Ethics magazine and then with Corporate Report Minnesota. In 1997 she relocated to San Francisco, where she worked at Mother Jones, managing, editing and writing. In 2000, she made the digital leap to Shewire.com, where she wrote on a variety of topics of interest to women. Along the way she contributed freelance pieces to such publications as Wired, The American Prospect, Sierra Magazine and Self.
All this experience is put to good use in "Losing the Farm," a tale that demonstrates that change, a much bandied-about word these days, is not always desirable to all people. A group of folks in south Madison find there is no shelter from the dislocation of Madison's rapid filling in and growing out.
Meanwhile, Kratz, like a couple million other folks, sought to take in the Obama inauguration in the nation's capital. Like many others among those couple of million, she experienced disappointment, despite having credentials. Read about her travails and how they differed from her previous inaugural adventure in 2001.
Isthmus thanks Kratz for her years of seasoned writing and responsible stewardship of her assignment. We will miss her as a colleague and friend, though we still expect to see her at Isthmus family gatherings. She's not leaving town, just changing professions. She is now student teaching at Marquette Elementary. Isthmus is in the process of filling the hole she leaves, which it hopes to do with a combination of staff and additional freelance contributions. Meanwhile, Vikki, to borrow a phrase from your old editor Bill Lueders, "Watch Out!" Those third-graders can be tough.