It's been a while since I've noted the departure of a friend of mine in West Texas television news. It's time to say good night and good luck, goodbye and God bless to Kurt Mueller.
In 2005, Kurt joined the #1-rated Storm Tracker 9 weather team at KWES-TV, where he worked as weekend meteorologist and weekday weather producer, later moving to the morning show after the departure of another one of the good guys, Darrell Ward. Kurt once said he long wanted to be a television meteorologist, and his education and initial work experience were geared towards that goal.
And that's not all ... Kurt's wife Lora, is also a meteorologist, and has been working as a forecaster with the National Weather Service Office in Midland. Next month, she'll be working at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's NWS Eastern Region Headquarters in New York, and Kurt will be heading up-north-back-east with her. And while the northeast does have its moments - very cold, snow-covered moments right now - it won't be quite the same as West Texas where Kurt, and Tom, and Darrell, and now Matt, set the standards for tracking down and covering Mother Nature at her worst.
Kurt is also one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. And he was always ready to put in some extra hours on his 'off time,' riding with other news staff atop the NewsWest 9 live truck as I drove it in the parades.
So many, many times, when someone finds out I have worked in television, they will comment, 'there always seems to be a lot of turnover' ... and they're absolutely right. West Texas/Southeast New Mexico is a small television market, and what we call a 'teaching market.' Young people come here from all over the country, fresh from journalism school or an internship (or an even smaller market). They gain some experience, hone their skills, develop their resumé and their contacts, and then move on to bigger and - it is hoped - better markets. Sure, you're glad for them when they move on ..... but there is some sadness too. You're sorry to see them go ..... but you wish them nothing but the best.
Good night and good luck, Kurt.