By Ken Stern 

Weekly News staff are unsung heroes

From the editor


December 27, 2023

From an editor who takes each week’s editorial very seriously, I report that this is one of my most important editorials of the year. Each December ends with shining light on unsung heroes in the community, the critical souls who day after day and every week show up, dig in and through their steadfast efforts are contributing to the larger good, making the greater La Conner region the place we are so proud to call home.

I have known for months that I would praise the staff, freelancers and volunteers who make the Weekly News the success that it is as this year’s unsung heroes. Without them you would not be holding this issue in your hands and reading the carefully placed words and photos and finding almost all the words spelled correctly.

You get a good-looking paper on Wednesday because Rhonda Hundertmark and Nancy Crowell work hard on Monday and Tuesday designing, laying out and carefully formatting an issue of which they are rightfully proud. Rhonda has been designing ads, promotional campaign marketing flyers and the subscription drive wrap around since my first year of publishing, in 2017. She comes early and stays late, as needed, and keenly understands the rhythms and hiccups of weekly newspaper production.

Nancy is the newest staffer laying out the paper. She has worked diligently to learn the ins and outs and pace and tempo of getting ads, stories and photos on the page. Readers get the bonus of more of her great photography more regularly placed on those pages.

Mel Damski and Pat Paul have been writing award winning columns for years, long before I bought the Weekly News. Their words, thoughts and recipes continue to be weekly and monthly mainstays.

Bill Reynolds has been chronicling the history as well as reporting the news, features, sports, weather and people’s stories big and small for over 40 years, checking what’s news weekly, decades before there was a Weekly News. I, like the greater La Conner community, am fortunate that he shows up week in and week out and, from his observations, crafts award winning stories.

Anne Basye takes on farm, economic, county government and environment issues, primarily, winning awards while connecting to the people and land she and her family has lived and walked on for decades.

Adam Sowards has agreed to add his observations and his words to the paper this year, coming regularly to story list staff meetings even when he cannot fit adding stories to his schedule.

Eileen Engelstad is a careful and proud proofreader frustrated by her boss’s occasional and her own infrequent mistakes.

Tony Harrah and Rick Shorten are perhaps the most valuable participants, for they volunteer. Tony delivers the paper through town and, like Rick, takes on special projects. They are steady performers and important friends.

Jennifer Spritzer follows the money coming in and going out and is a careful observer as well as counter for the business side of the newspaper.

Writing or contributing photos occasionally this year, past years, some years are Judy Booth, Kylee Fortygin, Bob Hamblin, Madoc Hiller, Bobbi Krebs McMullen, Sayer Theiss, Sarah Walls and Aven Wright McIntosh.

Ollie Iversen and Paul Magnano deserve to be on the masthead for their wise counsel as well as words they contribute.

Marissa Conklin and Michelle Havist have moved on, but the Weekly News was important to them when they toiled in the office and the good work they did was appreciated.

Cindy Vest has passed on. She was a great newspaper woman and an even better human being and is missed in all ways.

This did not have to be my last December as publisher to either thank the people who make the Weekly News possible or hold them up to the light. I hope each knows my appreciation on a weekly basis. I hope readers will also take notice and take a moment to stand up, clap and sing their praises, too.


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