The Pleasanton Express enters 2020 knowing we won a 1st place at the Texas Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in January. What a great way to set the bar for a stellar year with this coveted and hard earned achievement.
My first 2020 thank you goes to our loyal advertisers and large readership who continue to keep this very expensive business solid and strong. Literally, without you the Pleasanton Express would be lost.
I dedicate this New Year’s Day column with love, admiration and appreciation to the winning Pleasanton Express team of professionals, Rock Star Interns, distribution, columnists and freelance photographers. They all help to make the Pleasanton Express what I believe is the best little community newspaper in South Texas.
Our team includes Rhonda Chancellor who serves as Business Manager and has been with us for 20 years. It’s not easy managing the business side of a newspaper in this digital age. She does it gracefully and with great perseverance. She has a demanding and difficult role and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for the many hats she wears. She has stepped up another level this year in helping to sell advertising and has been a huge asset. I thank our award-winning Living Editor Lisa Luna who has been with us for 21 years. Lisa could have a key writing position at any newspaper in the country. We are so very fortunate to have her at the Express. She has exceptional writing skills, vast knowledge of Atascosa County, deep contacts and relationships in the community, faith and belief in God and a keen knowledge of the importance of the local church in our community. I could write a whole column on just the greatness of Lisa. Rebecca Pesqueda celebrates two years with us, is our News Editor and mirrors the qualities of Lisa Luna: brilliant writing, deep community roots and love for it, nose for news, strong Christian faith, great sense of humor and compassion for people, yet not someone to be messed with! She has a great and calm management style and is so efficient that she makes most everything she does look easy when it is tremendously hard. Aaron Davidson has been with us for 16 years. He is an award winning graphic artist from all three major Texas press associations. He is the sweetest person you would ever want to meet, except on very rare occasions when we have asked just about 10 times too much of him on a Tuesday night. He is so talented and exceptional at what he does, and we are so fortunate, as are our advertisers, to have his skills. Loni Just, Ag Editor and Classified Advertising Manager has been with us for two years and is one of the hardest workers I have ever encountered. She is tough as nails, fun and funny and as nice a person as you could ever meet. She is whip smart, a quick learner, efficient and gets any job done we have thrown her way and then some. Sam Fowler, Sports Editor, has been with us less than a year, but we feel like we have known him for a lifetime. He is a fantastic sports writer who can break a story within an hour of game finish and also bang out some of the best feature sports writing the Pleasanton Express has ever published. He has depth of character, is smart, fun, funny, friendly, fair and highly interesting and interested in the world around him. He has a tremendous journalistic future in sports media ahead of him. Thank you to one of the all-time greatest sports writers at the Pleasanton Express, my dad’s best friend, partner in dominos and beer drinking, Maggie Rodriguez, for continuing to grace us with his unique and incredible writing via his sports column. He has been at the Pleasanton Express for 56 years and still continues to write his column and help with distribution. Leon Zabava has been with us for 65 years. Leon is a jack of all trades journalist who takes magnificent photos and also helps the newspaper report all the news from Commissioners Court and the huge non-profit community through his Atascosa Citizens in Action meetings. When we are in an oil boom, he also serves as our Oil and Gas Editor. We hope he is doing that sometime soon as does our business community. Melissa Theis joined our team 17 months ago as our Super Star Office Assistant. She is quickly becoming a jack of all trades and is almost a full-time team member. With a background as an elementary school teacher, she is right at home with our team! She is an excellent proofreader and helps manage our digital community calendar, serves as receptionist, works in distribution and we will have her writing before too long. Thank you to our meeting reporters Christielle Troell and Diana Guthrie who have worked together a total of some 30 plus years for the Pleasanton Express. Both of these women are dear to me as I have known Diana since I was born. Her mother, Rece Guthrie, was my dad’s righthand woman at both the Comanche Chief and Pleasanton Express. Christelle is a dear personal family friend of my parents plus our organist at All Saints Episcopal Church before she was News Editor for us.
Words will never capture my love and admiration for Robbie Denson who was our former managing editor. Judge Hurley, her current boss, is kind enough to allow her to come work with us at the Pleasanton Express on Tuesday nights helping give the final award-winning touches to our page design and writing. She is my valued and trusted partner whom I can go to with anything professional or personal. A rare find in a friend.
I want to give a tremendous thank you to all the Pleasanton Express’ opinion page columnists who regularly contribute. No newspaper in Texas has more local voices on their Opinion page. Those writers include Senator Pete Flores, Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley, Pleasanton Mayor Travis Hall, Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward, Poteet Mayor Willie Leal, former Editor of the Pleasanton Express and all around great human Sue Brown, Glenda Thompson, Paul Michael Jones, Warren Domke, Lytle Police Chief Richey Priest and visiting columnists Jourdanton Police Chief Eric Kaiser and Pleasanton Police Chief Ronald Sanchez.
I want to thank our Rock Star college and high school interns who are paid staff and contributors. Most special thanks goes to Emily Mann who is a sophomore at Texas A&M. While we still call her an intern, she actually functions as a staff reporter and our social media manager. The same shout out to Mackenzie Pilgrim who produces the weekly digital feature Flashbacks. She is a welcomed and beloved regular in our office and has been with us for two amazing years. Both these women are whipsmart and a joy to have on the team. Jayci Kennedy, one of our newest college interns who also writes for us, has done amazing stories so far. We are so excited to have her experience this year as part of our Atascosa County Livestock Show reporters and photographers. Thanks to the high school interns who have been a huge asset in helping us to cover sports for all five ISDs. Om du vill ha spännande spel kan du välja ett Yggdrasil casino med stor variation och många spelnyheter. Those interns are Aidan Denson, Heaven Marquez, Hannah Watts, Caroline Truelove and Mercedes Sanchez.
Thank you to our hard working and wonderful distribution team who have over 60 years of experience at distributing 6,000 issues of the Pleasanton Express to 65 retail outlets in Atascosa County and via mail. Those team members who work late night and early morning shifts are: Manuel Salazar, Cindy Treviño, Mary Calvillo, Rosie Diaz, Larry Esquivel, David Chapa and Salma Gallegos.
Thank you to our wonderful team of freelance photographers, some who are nationally award winning such as Xavier J Garcia. That team also includes Joe David Cordova, Margaret Gallegos and Bruce Melcher.
Lastly, with tears but a heart filled with love and appreciation, thank you to Hope Garza who was with the Pleasanton Express for 30 years. She finally decided to retire this year and we still do not really believe it. She will forever and always be a part of the Pleasanton Express. Her proofreading skills and knowledge of names and people in the community are excellent. She ran distribution with strategic military precision and left us with a great base to continue on what she started. Hope had the energy of a 12-year-old at a slumber party. She could get more done in an hour than most could in a day. Her intelligence, wit, wisdom and take no guff attitude will forever be missed.
Happy New Year and here is to the best decade yet.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.