...as the Block Island Chamber gets a new Director

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 5:45pm
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After serving eight consecutive years at The Block Island Times as the editor, Lars Trodson will be moving toward a new venture, quite literally down the road from The Times’s office, as the new Executive Director of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce.

Block Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Lasser, who will be stepping down from her position at the end of the year, shared a statement on the acceptance of Trodson as the new Executive Director, and the skills he will bring forth to the position. Trodson is set to begin this new position on Monday, Jan. 4.

“I am thrilled to welcome Lars Trodson as the new Executive Director of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce! He vows to continue to be innovative and build on the good progress already made here. He has many ideas and thoughts on how to best help the business community,” said Lasser. “Lars certainly knows the island very well and has established relationships with the business owners, the island residents and the town’s elected and appointed positions. We hope he will further improve on our mission of enhancing a harmonious relationship between the vital participants in our community for a sustainable and prosperous future!”

Publisher of The Times Michael Schroeder also shared his thoughts on Trodson’s departure from the paper.

“It’s a great loss to the paper to lose Lars,” Schroeder said. “He’s an integral part of the community and a great editor. His shoes will be hard to fill. I’m glad that he will still be part of the island’s fabric as a leader of the Chamber of Commerce, and that we’ll still be working with him in his new role.”

Trodson provided a biographical sketch of his experience and memories at The Times, and expressed great appreciation for living and working in a small community that has embraced him and his work.

The interview was conducted and edited by Rosemary Connelli.

Q: Can you provide a short biography?

A: I was born in Providence and raised in East Providence. Graduated from Providence Country Day School and Muhlenberg College. I loved growing up in Rhode Island, and started working in journalism at The Pawtucket Evening Times and Woonsocket Call, before moving to New Hampshire to become a writer and eventually editor of The Portsmouth Herald. I wanted to come back to Rhode Island because most of my family is here, and my parents were getting older. Little did I know it would be Block Island! I answered an ad on Craigslist and was here just a few weeks later.

Q: At what moment in time did you first become interested in writing and reporting?

A: Oh, geez, from when I first started to learn to write. I wrote a little book called “The Silly Pair of Glasses” when I was about five or so. It was written and illustrated by me on construction paper and bound together with yarn. I’ve been writing ever since.

Q: When did you start working for The Block Island Times? Do you remember your first day with the paper?

A: My first day was a Monday, Feb. 13. It was not only winter, but it was school vacation week. I remember driving around and seeing almost no one. I wondered about what I had gotten myself into. But I remember how beautiful it was. I drove around a lot in those early days just to get a sense of the geography of the place. I have to thank Betty and Fraser Lang for bringing me here, and for Bruce Montgomery mentoring me.

Q: What are your favorite memories, highlights and/or stories you captured while working at the paper?

A: There have been so many of them in the past eight years or so. The stories that are your favorites are almost never the ones you’d expect, like a big story about the Wind Farm or anything like that. Just the stories of people doing cool or interesting things, which happens all the time out here. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of people who were longtime islanders and who are no longer with us, and it’s been an incredible experience to have been able to see the island through their eyes for just a little bit. In this line of work you get to meet so many people. I’ve loved all the stories that island residents have contributed. One of my first memories was of editing a story that Edie Blane had submitted and I botched the editing. I heard about that. But also working with Martha Ball, who taught me so much, and Joe Houlihan, Kim Gaffett, and all the people who have contributed to make this a great community paper.

Q: What will be your next venture? Will we see you around in the community?

A: I’m off to be the Executive Director of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce. I’ll be working with the great businesses out here, the business owners, and helping to get a positive message out about what a great place Block Island is to visit and experience.

Q: Do you have plans to continue writing in your spare time?

A: I imagine I’ll be doing quite a bit of writing for the Chamber, but I’ve been writing and self-publishing these little short stories for the past couple of years. Susan Bush sells them at Island Bound and people seem to like them. So I’ll probably still be doing that.

Q: Thank you for your time, service and infinite dedication to the community through your position at The Block Island Times. We will certainly miss you and your many talents!

A: Thank you for that! I just wanted to finish by saying that I am so happy that fate or circumstance or whatever got me to Block Island. It’s been the happiest and one of the most productive experiences I’ve ever had. I feel lucky to have met and worked with the people here, and I’m looking forward to more of that. I’m up for a new challenge, and grateful I’m able to stay on Block Island.