Valley Record gets new staff writer

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SNOQUALMIE - Expect to see another new face in the news business in the Valley.

Melissa Kruse has been hired as the new reporter for the Snoqualmie Valley Record. Kruse will replace Ben Cape who has been made editor of the paper. Former editor Travis Peterson has taken a position within the same company, Northwest Media, that owns the Valley Record. He will be news editor of a group of weekly papers with offices in Kent and Bellevue.

Kruse grew up in Temperance, Mich., and went to college at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. She started out as a biology student in hopes of eventually becoming a dermatologist, but turned to English when she realized she was more interested in words than dermatology.

"I realized I just liked the vocabulary words like 'phagocytosis,'" she said.

All through junior high and senior high, Kruse had been editor of the yearbook and was interested in journalism. At Calvin, she became the features editor of the school's newspaper, Chimes.

"I just like writing, I like words," she said. "That [working on Chimes] is when I realized I wanted to stay in journalism."

Kruse interned as a copy editor at The Grand Rapids Press after graduating in 2001. Later that summer she got her first job as a reporter for a group of weekly newspapers called The Advance in Grand Rapids as well. After seeing her work at The Advance, The Grand Rapids Press called her back and gave her a job as a stringer in 2002.

She first visited Washington last summer while attending a friend's wedding. Kruse said the state reminds her of Scotland, an area of the world she visited and came to admire while studying in England her senior year of college. Always wanting to get out of Michigan and to a larger city, Kruse packed up her Pontiac Grand Am and moved to Washington earlier this fall. She had no job waiting for her and only a few contacts, but she said the move was worth the risk.

"Sometimes you just have to jump and the net appears," Kruse said.

She had been looking for a staff job at a newspaper for a while, but was able to land her new position at the Valley Record less than a month after arriving in Washington, just before plans to accept a retail job to start paying the bills.

Her first impressions of the Valley have been positive. Like anyone new to the area, Kruse relished the environment.

"It's beautiful. It's quaint," Kruse said. "I'm glad that the planners of the city [Snoqualmie] have enough foresight to not allow a lot of strip malls or fast-food restaurants. I'm glad they want to keep it historic and attractive."

Kruse has covered everything from Eagle Scout projects to government malfeasance and is looking forward to a good first impression at the Valley Record.

"I think it's great that Melissa has joined our staff," said Jim McKiernan, general manager of the Valley Record. "She brings weekly experience to our staff and should be able to hit the ground running."

Kruse is 25 and lives in Issaquah with her roommate Rachel and her cat Mr. Fuzzers. When she is not writing or reading, she likes to play poker and watch "South Park."

Editor Ben Cape can be reached at (425) 888-2311 or by e-mail at

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