Take it or Leave it: WELCOME KARA DOHRENWEND…by Jim Stiles


I was a resident of Moab, Utah for more than 30 years. I had every intention of spending the rest of my life there, but over a period of three decades, Grand County changed so dramatically that I felt like a stranger. I wanted to live in a small rural town in the West. But Moab, even a decade ago, was fast becoming a mini-urban population center, with a shifting demographic and a dwindling rural atmosphere.I pondered my options. I’m reminded of the lyrics of an old country song—“East or west on Main Street.
That’s the choice that I make every day.
And I don’t know which one takes more courage,
the stayin’ or the runnin’ away.”

Eventually, I fled south. I simply couldn’t bear the changes that were happening to Moab at a speed that, even then, was faster than my worst fears. But I still know and admire brave souls and kindred spirits from those ‘Golden Moab’ days who chose to stick it out in their beloved home town. Their love and dedication to the community survives the upheaval of change. Clearly, they are a lot braver than I could ever hope to be.

One of them is Kara Dohrenwend. She and her husband, Ray Williams, have lived in Moab and Grand County for more than two decades and Ray’s family has a rich history in southeast Utah, going back a century to the legendary Doc Williams.

Keep an eye out for this banner!

Keep an eye out for this banner!

As Grand County’s citizens have debated and quarreled over the community’s future, I’ve looked for honest, sincere, and intelligent voices, and most of the time, I’ve been stymied in my search. In the Age of Facebook, we’re all able to offer a public voice and during the last Moab election cycle, many of its citizens revealed their very darkest and pettiest sides. But there were a few bright lights as well. One of them was Kara.

I came to have a greater appreciation for Kara’s comments and observations, each time she offered them, usually on the more politically driven facebook pages. Her articulate examination of the issues and her passion and genuine concern for the future of her community meant a lot to many, including this Moab expatriate.

And she has always possessed an inclination to be even-handed and fair-minded, when it might have been easier to follow the hot-headed flow of local politics. Rubbing against the grain is not usually a popular road to take, but Kara does it with grace and gentle candor. It’s for these reasons that I asked if she’d like a regular column in The Zephyr, and I am honored that she accepted.

Kara and I both share a certain cynicism for the future, but like I noted earlier, I’m the one who fled–she continues to add a thoughtful voice to the conversation as she contributes to the effort to make Moab and Grand County a better place to live for everyone.

Thanks Kara, and like you said, ‘for better or worse,’ welcome to The Zephyr.

Jim Stiles is Founder and Co-Publisher of the Canyon Country Zephyr.


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2 comments for “Take it or Leave it: WELCOME KARA DOHRENWEND…by Jim Stiles

  1. Joette
    April 1, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    Well done Kara. I look forward to future articles from you in the Zephyr. Thanks for jumping into the fray. Although I think most will agree with your point of view on this issue.

  2. April 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I look forward to reading Kara’s insights. I, too appreciate her diplomatic candor.

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