The Way I See It

2013: We made it!



I f you are reading this, then the world did not end on December 21.

Our holiday schedule has us with an early press deadline so the day is not quite over as I write this.

So, since we are still here, I wish to say adieu to 2012 and hello to 2013. And with that greeting, we hope to bring you the best each week through our pages – both paper and online.

Our owners and publishers Judy and Bill Wilkerson have always been so supportive of what we do here since 1975. Their guidance is immeasurable and very much appreciated! With the addition of their daughter Noel Wilkerson Holmes, our Associate Publisher, our news coverage has increased and she has brought us into the forefront of social media.

I am blessed to work with a crew of talented and good folks each week. They are:

Mary Gallegos, our Advertising Manager, has been selling ads for probably longer than she wishes to admit (since 1982!) And she does it very well. Her expertise and knowledge is most beneficial both to us and her customers. She also helps us with the ad layout and proofing.

Hope Garza is the first person you see in our front office. She does a multitude of tasks at the paper. She is our Newsroom Manager, expert proof reader, both for ads and copy, helps with all the billing, keeps the office running smoothly, coordinates the stuffing crew on Wednesdays and makes sure we are well fed. Hopie completed her 22nd year here.

Lisa Luna is our prizewinning Living Editor. Her layouts have been a consistent winner in the Better Newspaper Contest the past few years. In addition to her duties as Living Editor, Lisa writes many other stories and features with finesse. She also has covered the Pleasanton City Council and fills in when necessary. Lisa has been with us since 1998. She and her husband Chris have two children, Ava and Sean.

Rhonda Chancellor, who heads up our classified department, has the daunting task of handling all the individual classified ads, display ads, real estate ads, and the tributes. She then does all the billing for her section and the collections. Her dedication runs deep as she also is in charge of circulation. She is the one who keeps our subscriptions in order and the post office happy. She has been at the Express since 1999. She and her husband Will have a son, William who is 10 years old and a baby girl, Genieveve who is 2 1/2 years old.

David Wickersham also began working here in 1999. He is the manager of our arts/ production/imaging department. In addition to making prize-winning ads, he is lead design for our front page and most of the front section. He also assists us by snapping excellent sports photographs. David covers various teams throughout the county during football, basketball, soccer and baseball season. He also keeps track of the distribution of our newspaper stand sales each week. Pleasanton Express has one of the largest newspaper overthe counter-sales in Texas. We sell over 6500 papers each week through our vendors across the county. Add that to our 2,000+ mail out subscribers and we are still one of the largest weekly newspapers around the area.

Aaron Davidson joined our staff the summer of 2003. He is just one of our talented ad designers and our lone San Francisco 49ers fan. He also keeps our computers and archives in shape.

Robbie Hamby became a part of our newspaper family in 2004. She joined our editorial department and fit right in! She handles the job of Ag Editor and is also in charge of the obituaries. She has a knack for finding news and keeping us all posted. She has a blog on our website “Robbie’s Rambles”. She and her husband, Jody, have three kiddos, Brandon, Erin and Colton.

Jessica Machado joined us August of 2007. Jessica is our über internet geek (and we mean that with the utmost respect). She posts to our website, manages our contests, updates our Facebook and tweets on Twitter. She also blogs online with her “Just sayin’” musings. Jessica brings an artistic touch to her creative ads each week, too. She and her husband Joseph have a daughter, Razalyn, who just turned four and two sons, Gavin, who is 11 years old and their youngest, Augie is 2.

Eric Smith joined our staff as Sports Editor in 2010 after working in that capacity at the Devine News for 10 years. He has fit right in and his writing has been well received from our readers. He and his wife Briana live in Natalia, where Eric is a member of the Natalia I.S.D. board. His daughter Braelyn was born earlier this year. Eric is leaving our paper at the first of the year to work for the Atascosa Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher. We wish him luck!

Michele Vecchiarino joined us in the spring. Hailing from Las Vegas, her friendly demeanor is an asset in selling ads for our paper. She is engaged to Scott Newman. She has a grown son, Nick and Scott has two sons, Daniel (who just joined the Army) and Doug.

Esther Pokladnik came on board this June as our Comptroller. She handles all the billing, bookkeeping, and record keeping. She also pens the “Flashback” column helping our readers remember newsy items from the past. She also has the most proficient Santa hat collection! Her hubby Roy also writes his “Solutions” column each week. They have two grown sons, Eric and Richard.

Marissa Valdez came on to help in our sports department. She covers whatever our sports editor can’t and takes photos/video. She and her S.O. James are the parents of Amaris, their 10 month old daughter.

Leon Zabava has been associated with the Pleasanton Express for 50-plus years.Leon is our Oil and Gas Editor and keeps everyone posted on the happenings in the Eagle Ford Shale area- wells, businesses and housing. He is also an excellent photographer, takes pictures for us and produces most of the photos you see each week in the paper. He also contributes his Grid Iron Picks during football season.

Maggie Rodriguez, who has been with the Express since 1966, still writes his sports column and contributes stories as well as delivers his regular route each Wednesday morning.

J Garcia is one of our free lance photographers. He always does a great job and catches most of the wreck and fire photos.

He learned his talents from his father Jack who still takes photos for us as well.

Diana Guthrie, our special correspondent, covers the various school board meetings in Jourdanton, Pleasanton and Poteet and city council meetings in Jourdanton and Poteet. Her clever column “Literally” appears in the paper and her blog “Diana’s Top Shelf” is on our website as well.

We are most appreciative of the many words written and pictures that we receive from these fine contributors: Roy Pokladnik, Thelma Cardwell Cale, Dolores Reyes-Pergioudakis, Sandy Housh, Jeff Chicoine and Mike Lambaria.

In addition to these fine co-workers and contributors, we have part-time help who take care of our distribution each week. They are Mary Calvillo, Rosie Diaz, Joe David Cordova, Manuel Salazar, Patricia Storey, Richard Lambaria, Gabriel Elizondo, Cindy Trevino, Pauline Berg, Tommie Carrasco, Pearl Luna, Simon Delgado, Jr. and Lisa Cardenaz. We don’t know what we’d do without them all. The way I see it, we are very lucky to have these talented people. We try each week to do our best and thanks to everyone, each Wednesday our newspaper hits the stands and local post offices to be distributed to our loyal readers.

I count myself lucky, too, as I will begin my 24th year here in a few months.

We appreciate your continued support and hope you all will have a most healthy, safe and wonderful 2013.

That’s the way I see it, let me know your view – email me at, or write at P.O. Drawer 880, Pleasanton, Tx 78064.

SUE BROWN is the Editor of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at 830-281-2341 or

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