Much speculation ensued after Nick Coleman's byline disappeared from the Star Tribune in early February. There was no explanation from the paper, no farewell column. Eventually details emerged. At first Coleman refused the buyout package offered by management that reportedly couldn't stand him (management having changed since the Strib lured Coleman back from the Pioneer Press over five years ago). But when the higher-ups reassigned him to the Variety section, the 36-year veteran reporter and columnist gave up the fight. While the Strib's new column scribes, Gail Rosenblum and Jon Tevlin, are doing fine work so far, Coleman's strong voice, his penchant for standing up for the underdog, and his accumulated experience (not to mention sources) are sorely missed. Whether picking a fight with Governor Pawlenty, exposing the associates whose silence was bought by fraud king Tom Petters for so long, or simply exposing unfair beer-selling practices planned for the new U of M stadium, Coleman told it like it was. We didn't always agree with his opinions, but often we did, and his well-written arguments were always excellent fodder for debate.