By Will Grandbois
Sopris Sun Staff
Nothing makes you appreciate someone like their absence, and over the past month almost everyone at The Sopris Sun has taken some time away.
I actually started the trend myself by taking off for Canadian Thanksgiving with my family in Windsor, Ontario. I skipped town right after Potato Day and missed almost a week of newspapering, including the big internet outage and some important breaking news. Didn’t notice my absence? That’s all thanks to Trina Ortega, The Sun’s original editor. Few people in my position have ever had access to such a talented substitute. I am immensely grateful.
That same week, Duke of Distribution Tommy Sands took his traditional fall trip. Tommy puts an unprecedented amount of thought and effort into his weekly role, picking up the paper in Gypsum almost as soon as it’s off the press and hitting many stops in Glenwood and Carbondale Wednesday night. He gets up early for the trip up to Aspen, then hangs around upvalley as an Uber driver for the rest of the day. He has also gone above and beyond to refurbish and maintain our racks (with the new ones in front of Dandelion Market and RJ Paddywacks, we’re up to 33 around-the-clock locations and almost twice that inside public buildings and businesses — see the whole list at soprissun.com/about/locations).
Needless to say, we miss him when he’s gone. Luckily, I was able to do the initial pick up on my return trip, and The Sun board did the rest. They’re an incredible resource for all aspects of the paper. Indeed, Secretary Debbie Bruell later filled in for ad salesperson Kathryn Camp while simultaneously authoring a major breaking news story.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The next to take off — to Hawaii, no less — was graphic designer Terri Ritchie. The rock on which this paper is built, Terri has had a hand in more Sopris Suns than any other staff member, present or past. Every week, she manages to turn a bunch of words and images and pulls them together into a cohesive whole that makes you want to sit down and read it cover to cover. The fact that, even on the digital side, hundreds of people go straight to our e-edition every week is a testament to the power of layout.
With that in mind, we actually had two people fill those shoes: Linda Fleming and Rebecca Young — who I should probably mention, in addition to being a Valley Journal co-founder, is my mom. I think they did a great job and hope that they feel the same.
As I mentioned before, Kathryn Camp was out for a bit, though not without a lot of work done in advance. Advertising isn’t just how we stay in business, it’s also one of the main services we offer the community, and I think Kathryn embodies that spirit. If you have a message to get out there and haven’t sat down with her, I strongly encourage you to drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll find that she’s much more than just a salesperson.
Then there’s photographer Jane Bachrach, who always manages to leave us with a stunning visual whether she’s around or not, like the little girl with the pumpkins a couple weeks back. I get more comments on our photos than almost anything else, and Jane’s are always the centerpiece. We also get great submissions from readers like you and work with awesome freelancers like Laurel Smith, Julie Albrecht and Mark Burrows who not only send us what they’ve already shot, but go out on assignment. As for Sue Rollyson, our go-to sports photographer, she’s been out of town visiting her new granddaughter for a bit, but we look forward to having her back soon.
There’s also tireless volunteer proofreader Lee Beck, her diligent fill-in, Carol Craven. Nor have I forgotten our bookkeeper, Betsey Safford, who’s so self directed she doesn’t need a fill-in.
I think that covers pretty much everyone except for new reporter Megan Tackett, who won’t be skipping town ’til December. Instead, she’s been spending her free time making our inaugural “Humans v. Vampires” event a success. I trust she’ll soon be having story ideas pitched to her by strangers on the street as Jane and I do.
Anyway, my point is that we have a wonderful team and a great bench backing us up. Perhaps folks don’t want or need a look behind the curtain, but I’m betting most readers know someone on the masthead, and I want everyone to know how essential everyone is to the final product.