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After 40 years and 40 gazillion stories, it’s time to head for the door.

I’m retiring after four decades as a journalist with 30 of those years happily spent at here at The Detroit News. It’s not burnout: I still have the legs for the job, but I think that “best when used by” date is coming up fast.

It looks like Christmas Eve will be my last full day at the paper, which means I’m officially a short-timer.

I have to admit that I’m both excited and worried about leaving.

Will my health last?

Will my money last?

Will my family find me staring out a window at 6 a.m. chugging a gin and tonic while wearing 3x sweatpants and camo suspenders?

I never intended to become a newspaper man.

After my discharge, my college guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to do.

“Not a clue,” sez I, “but I like to read, and I know how to type.”

Bam! She stamped “journalism” on my class list, and I was off to learn how to scribble for an occupation.

And it has been a great occupation.

I’ve interviewed musicians, magicians, millionaires and murderers. I’ve covered parades, plane crashes, presidential campaigns and pig races. I’ve experienced ride-alongs with police on hot summer nights in Detroit, slid down the brass pole in a fire house and got to pet a rhinoceros during an after-hours tour of the Detroit Zoo.

I’ve reported on fires and car crashes, and interviewed veterans of the battle for Iwo Jima. When the rest of the media was lined up on the first and third base lines for Al Kaline Day, I was the guy standing on home plate!

I’ve sat in the Tigers dugout on Opening Day, chilled with Robin “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Leach during auto show week and helped arrange for an east-side rapist to turn himself in to police.

AND I WAS PAID TO COVER ALL THESE STORIES AND MANY, MANY MORE!

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the belief placed in me by Ben Burns, former executive editor of The Detroit News.

Burns took a chance and hired me away from a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 17,000 and brought me to TDN, which then had a circulation of more than 750,000 ... and as a columnist no less.

Like my dad, Ben was a man of humor, honor and ethics who mentored by example. And, like my dad, he left this life far too soon.

As for me, I’m walking away with my health, my ethics and a million memories.

I am such a lucky man.

I-94: In Detroit, the left lane of WB will be closed from French to Gratiot (M-3) from 6 a.m. until 5 a.m. Monday.

M-53 (Van Dyke): In Sterling Heights, there will be two lanes closed on SB from 15 to 15 1/2 Mile from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday for construction.

Archer Drive: In Harrison Township, the Archer Drive Bridge over the channel to Lake St. Clair has been reopened to traffic.

North Lakeshore Drive Bridge: In Harrison Township, the bridge will be closed on Dec. 21 for replacement.

Milford Road: In Milford, the road is undergoing curb and shoulder work from Pontiac Trail to the village limits. This project ends in late December.

Lahser: In Beverly Hills, the road is undergoing drainage improvements between 13 Mile and Maple. Travel lanes are open.

Cedar Island Road: In White Lake Township, the road is closed from Oxbow to Bogie Lake roads for a culvert replacement. This project ends in early 2016.

Wattles: In Bloomfield Township, the road is closed from Burnley to Charing Cross roads for sew construction. This project ends in mid-May 2016.

Middle Belt: In Farmington Hills, the outer lane of northbound is closed for maintenance between Eight Mile and Grand River. This project ends some time today.

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