It isn’t just raining … it’s pouring. I’m not talking about the weather, but the changes at the newspaper.
You may have heard that Anne Ward Ernst, editor of The Weekly Calistogan, has resigned. Her last day was Friday and we celebrated with lunch at The Calistoga Inn. She’s heading off to be the executive assistant for Peter Lang, the owner of Sonoma County’s Safari West. She had been editor at the Calistogan for the past five years.
In Sunday’s Napa Valley Register, Publisher Brenda Speth announced she is leaving at the end of July. Speth, who has been publisher for the past 13 years, said her mission then “was to leave this place even better than it was then. Thankfully for the talented staff of today and yesterday, our readers and our advertisers, I know we have and will continue to do so.”
Speth is not retiring, she just said it is time to leave her position as publisher. She writes, “I’ve noticed more ideas bubbling up that belong someplace else other than this newspaper business. I’ve got a whole wall of post-it notes in my home with those ideas. In a moment of clarity, I recently stopped and really looked at that wall.”
For the past several years, Tom Stockwell and Judith Rose, longtime Deer Park residents, have been raising their two grandchildren. Earlier this summer, Judith accepted a part-time teaching position at Pacific Union College. Tom, who has been a part-time reporter for the Star and Calistogan for the past five years, has tendered his resignation. His last day will be Friday, July 13.
Jesse and I will miss Brenda, Anne and Tom. We wish them well in their new endeavors, whatever they may be. Anne has said she will continue to write for us as a freelance reporter and maybe Tom will do that as well, depending on his schedule.
During the interim period, before a new editor is hired for Calistoga, Jesse will take over the editor’s duties at the Calistogan. I will continue at the Star. We will both cover stories in each town, so don’t be surprised to see me in Calistoga sometime soon. (Talk about fate … my first newspaper job in California was at The Weekly Calistogan some 39 years ago.)
Both Jesse and I will lean more on the Napa Valley Register staff, including editor Sean Scully, to help us out. Additionally, we will count on freelancers to help us cover these two Upvalley towns. You may have noticed a story in last week’s paper by Lindsey Krill. Expect to see more from her before she heads off to college later this summer. Former Star reporter Cynthia Sweeney also will write stories for us. Her first ones should be done later this month.
So, this summer will be challenging, but we’ll get through it. By the end of July, our new sports reporter will be on staff. Andy Wilcox has done a tremendous job since Yousef Baig left to be news editor in Petaluma, and we hope that by the time school starts, there’s a new editor for the Calistogan. In the meantime, Jesse can be reached at 967-6803, 942-4035, jduarte@sthelenastar and firstname.lastname@example.org; and I can be reached at 967-6800, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.