My name is Garrett Bergthold and I’m the new reporter here at Grizzly. I’m also known as “the new Natalie” in the newsroom and around town, in honor of my predecessor Natalie Williams. It’s a title that says a lot about Big Bear’s love of local journalism.

In my two weeks living in the Big Bear Valley I’ve met some extraordinary people, especially my neighbors in Sugarloaf and my new colleagues here at the Grizzly. But there’s also the folks I’ve met at the local watering holes, near the lake’s shores and at the grocery stores.

And if there’s one thing everyone in town seems to have in common is that everyone knows about the local paper. It’s pretty amazing, a breath of fresh air from my previous life living in the Bay Area where local news is rarely a conversation somebody would overhear yet alone spark up while drinking a beer.

I was born and raised in San Jose, but most recently I resided in San Francisco where I attended San Francisco State University. So, yes, I’m a Giants fan, a 49ers fan, a Warriors fan and a Sharks fan. And so far it’s been fun watching Giants games over at Oakside only to be mocked by Dodgers fans, albeit passively and semi-jokingly. I foresee that changing once hockey season starts, because I have absolutely no love for the Kings or the Ducks. But I’m excited to watch sports with my new community in Big Bear. It’s all in good fun.

So, what else. I’m terrible at fishing but have plans at becoming better. On my third night in town, a tourist from Alabama wanted to have a real conversation about guns and cars. I thought it was a joke. He was serious. I told him I enjoy riding the bus while multitasking.

As for guns, I don’t really have much of a perspective on guns other than cops shouldn’t be the only people to have them. But at the same time, I don’t plan on having firearms in my home or engaging in a shooting culture with my children.

I also golf. I play ice hockey, even though traveling to Riverside to play seems like something I’m probably not going to do. I also snowboard and pray to the snow gods it snows this winter.

And most of all, I hope the people of Big Bear Valley realize that all politics are local. Engaging in local government decisions, however minor, is all we can really do to directly engage in our democracy.

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