Vickie Newton, an anchor at KMOV (Channel 4) for more than 10 years, will deliver her last newscast at 10 p.m. tonight.
Newton announced last month she was leaving to be closer to her family in Arkansas and to join in the always-popular pursuit of other interests. Newton has anchored the station's 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts with Larry Conners since coming to STL.
Newton said she is finding it difficult to leave her adopted hometown.
"I lived here for 11 years and I feel like a St. Louisan," she said. "These people here are my friends, and I can't help but feel sad about leaving."
Leaving by way of the high road, Newton had nothing but glowing reviews of the station, saying newsroom management is "quite progressive and is doing an outstanding job of adapting the news product to the way St. Louisans live."
Newton, 46, said she will live in Hot Springs. Her professional focus will be on "TheVillageCelebration," an online magazine she started two years ago that focuses on the accomplishments of African Americans.
"I want to see more of (the African American) narrative shaped by our accomplishments, instead of just by failures," Newton said. "I want the magazine to be a place where we can gather to tell our stories, to blend in some positive aspects."
Before coming to St. Louis, Newton worked as an anchor for CNN Headline News. Previous to that, she worked in local TV in Atlanta, Detroit, Kansas City and Little Rock.
Shortly after arriving, Newton's name appeared in society news and she was seen with several eligible bachelors, including Ozzie Smith. Her marriage in 2009 to health-care exec Dwayne Butler lasted less than a year.
"I never embraced the notion of being a celebrity," she said, conceding that local anchors are viewed as such. "That's what other people said, but I never said that. I had good times and some bad times. Add all that up and you have a life, no greater or grander than anyone else's."
During her time in STL, Newton has served on boards for the Alzheimer's Association; Opera Theatre of St. Louis; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Association of Black Journalists; the YWCA; and the St. Louis Symphony. She also served on the Literacy Roundtable board, which established a fund in her name.
"I have a new red dress, I'm getting my hair done and I'll take extra care with my make-up,' Newton said.
"But I'm sure by the end of the newscast, the tears will wreck the make-up and fall all over that dress."