Editor's note: When we issued a call for community columnists, we had no idea that we would receive so many wonderful entries from interested participants. In making our selection, we tried to choose a cross section of personalities that could generate a variety of interesting columns our readers will enjoy. I think we've accomplished that. Thanks to all who asked to be considered and who took the time to submit their work.
Beginning in September, readers of the Empire-Tribune will be treated to a variety of columns throughout the week written by their friends and neighbors.
From local political issues and money-saving tips to area history and funny stories from a stay-at-home mom, the following list of community columnists will dazzle E-T readers with their wit, humor and thought provoking columns.
So without any further ado, meet your new community columnists.
Donnie Bryant (first Friday of every month) - Donnie's column, "Boom Town," will touch on issues facing Baby Boomers and their take on the Gen-Xers of the world. A humorous column tinged with a bit of seriousness makes it the perfect blend of reading entertainment for people of all ages.
Deborah Cochran (second Friday of every month) - A self-proclaimed die-hard Texan who has lived all over the Lone Star State, Deborah now resides in a 100-year-old farmhouse in Erath County. She's been a waitress at Jake & Dorothy's, worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart and said if the government would just ask her for help, they wouldn't be in so many messes.
Jim Muir (third Friday of every month) - Dr. Jim Muir will pen "The Outsider," a column about life in Erath County from a man who lived in Africa and other parts of the world before moving his family to Stephenville 12 years ago. He will write about the good, the imperfect, the "fascinating incongruities" and the solid values that make towns like Stephenville the backbone of American life.
Jon Koonsman (fourth Friday of the month) - If it's a sharp wit and sharp tongue you're after, don't miss Jon's column. This 41-year-old local builder and rancher is not afraid to go out on a limb and comment on controversial issues - both locally and beyond - in a way that will make you laugh, wince and wish for more.
Shelby Slawson (first Sunday of every month) - Readers are going to absolutely love reading commentary from this witty, local redhead. Shelby is a wife, mom and stepmom with an unabashed "Pollyannaistic" approach to life. "Life is what we make of it," she wrote. "Let us fill it with as much happiness and laughter as we possibly can. Even the rough spots - maybe especially those."
Jonathon Hutson (second Sunday of every month) - If light-hearted, funny and positive is what you're after, you won't want to miss Jonathon's column. In his quest to become a community columnist, Jonathon said, "I will avoid anything that deals with police work, politics or religion. There is enough division in the world without me adding to it."
Whitney Lee (third Sunday of every month) - Dubbed "Whitney the Hyphenated," E-T readers will remember this former staff writer who once covered city council and school board. Whitney is now the executive director of Erath County Meals on Wheels - as well as a wife, mother and experienced writer who can transform ordinary moments into extraordinary tales.
Karen Hobbs (fourth Sunday of every month) - Many of you know Dr. Karen Hobbs, a local veterinarian, wife, mother and long-time community member. Karen's column, ARKhives, will highlight interesting animal stories and riveting tales only a vet would encounter.
Amy Looby (fourth Friday of every month) - This self proclaimed "mommy blogger" will offer money-saving tips to families looking to stretch a dollar. From coupon skills to cooking from your pantry, stockpiling your cabinets and preparing time-saving menus, Amy's tips will get any household budget in tip-top shape.
Vicky Johnson (first Tuesday of every month) - As an assistant professor of music at Tarleton State University, Vicky's column will focus on music and its impact on the human condition. "We all have our 'tunes' that helps us get through the days and the years that make our lives richer," she said.
Cathey Hartmann (second Tuesday of every month) - A Bluff Dale native who now serves as the chairman of the Erath County Historical Commission, Cathey's column, "Erath Eyewitness," will focus on local history and interesting tidbits.
Richard Nachtigall (third Tuesday of every month) - As a 7th and 8th grade English teacher at Three Way ISD, Richard will focus on issues teachers feel strongly about, but are sometimes reluctant to voice. He will also write about some of the more humorous moments that only happen in a classroom.