It’s been a roller-coaster ride over here at the GO offices these past few weeks, and inevitably, such times provide lots of fodder for the rumor mill.

Let me just put one rumor to rest once and for all: We are not relocating our offices to Italy by flying everyone on a private jet owned by a congresswoman’s husband and using funds derived from laying off the guy we hire to request “Free Bird” at every local concert. We get our money the same way journalists have for decades – by borrowing it from our spouses, who went into more lucrative careers.

That said, we have made some changes to GO in recent weeks that deserve to be noted:

Tom Atwell, who writes about beer and other libations every week in his What Ales You column, has retired after 37 years with The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Don’t fret, though, because Tom will continue to write both his beer column and his Sunday gardening column as a freelancer, dispensing his advice on what to drink and what to plant. (Presumably not at the same time.)

Shannon Bryan, who has penned the Off Beat column for the past year and a half, has become a web content producer for our new digital division. Taking over her column is Ray Routhier, our longtime entertainment reporter/home improvement writer/jack of all trades. Those who enjoyed Ray’s now-defunct Maine at Work series in the PPH can look forward to the same irreverent humor in Off Beat – and it will be less hazardous for Ray, too.

Aimsel Ponti’s Face the Music column on the local music scene has moved from the pages of GO to an online feature at pressherald.com. Aimsel continues to report on local musicians with the Making Noise column, formerly written by freelancer Mike Olcott. AND she remains our go-to person for GO listings. Needless to say, she’s one busy gal.

Finally, we have discontinued the free distribution of GO on the street for financial reasons. While we were hesitant to do it, we simply could not stay in the black while the cost of printing the extra copies for free distribution ate our lunch. (Literally – like, I have to brown-bag it now instead of frequenting my favorite sandwich shop in the Old Port on a regular basis.)

What won’t change is our commitment to provide you with the best entertainment coverage not only in Greater Portland, but throughout the state of Maine. GO has always existed for one primary reason: because readers like you take the time to pick it up and read it. That’s not something we take lightly.

And let me apologize for the “Free Bird” guy. Really. Some things are just inexcusable.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or at:

rharmon@pressherald.com