This might sound like the kind of tall tale you hear in a small-town barbershop: Star kid who couldn’t get out of town fast enough returns home decades later, cozying up to the place of his youth, imagining a life of leisure among family and friends.

So thought Doug Bates, former big-time journalist, Pulitzer Prize among the accolades in his bag of accomplishments.

The local folks along Oregon Route 58—dotted by tiny towns long forgotten by the media spotlight—had a different idea for Doug. One that defied all odds. One that had nothing to do with kicking up his heels.

Another local kid made good in the world of journalism is Jeff Brady, who gives voice to the nation’s most pressing energy issues for NationalPublic Radio. Born and raised in Oregon and Ruralite country, Jeff has a special place in his heart for Ruralite magazine—one that goes back to his childhood. To learn more about Jeff, checkout our Up Close feature.

Hot off the digital presses is our latest Heart of Community podcast, featuring fiddler Caitlin Warbelow—an Alaska native and another local kid who made it to the big stage. With the sweet sound of music in the background, hear how Caitlin created a virtual stage to support traditional musicians during the pandemic.

Listen to the podcast at the link below: