hen he died, I wondered where I would be in a year. I knew I couldnít replace his knowledge of the business and his razor-sharp and insightful editorials. I wondered, though, if I could adequately take over his job at the Winona Post and be successful. There was a sharp learning curve to overcome, and I had a lot of sleepless nights. Not only was I lonely, I was frightened!
Here we are a year later, though, and although I still find doing Johnís job difficult, and donít like it nearly so much as I like writing and editing, Iíve learned what needs doing and, with help, get it done. Iíve learned that nothing runs itself, and that the future relies on the hard work of the present.
Publishing the Winona Post is a team effort. There isnít a job here that, if not well done, could bring things to a screeching halt.
It all starts with sales, where Kim Farkas, Mike Sieracki, and Aaron Repinski, under the longstanding and much valued leadership of Patrick Marek, are the face of the Post to our advertisers. Without them ó especially since we are free-circulation and canít count on subscriptions to pay the bills ó we would be nowhere. If they are the faces of the company, Twila Lorenz and Carol Fitzgerald are the voices of the organization. They comprise the inside sales department, and bring our readers the largest and most comprehensive classified and employment section in this area, twice a week.
Sales would be adrift without our award-winning graphic arts department. Monica Veraguth creates the beautiful cover graphics that greet readers when they pick up the paper. Corey Scholl and Linda Lewis, along with Monica, are responsible for the design and execution of the ads, and the layout of the community news that readers look for in our pages. They also produce all of our special sections.
Our advertising supporters are the linchpin of the Winona Post. They do us a service by entrusting us with their marketing efforts in our circulation area, and we provide them with the vehicle. Without advertisers who see the importance of a strong local media, the Winona area would be without a community news source. (To find out who they are, just open the Winona Post!) Completing the circle are you, our readers, who by your response to the advertising messages we bring you, support the local economy. Thanks to all of you, and know that I am grateful to those of you who give us written and verbal feedback, and make the opinion page so interesting and informative.
Advertisers and readers are also the impetus that drives us to provide the quality news coverage readers expect. Under the editorship of Sarah Squires, Chris Rogers and Jen Burris cover local government and breaking news and write engaging feature stories for your edification and entertainment. They are supported by Rickie Stinson, Chris Larson, and proofreaders Cliff and Jeanine Black. We defy anyone to find better coverage of local news in this area.
The press room and mail room are essential to the Post. Jim Bethke and Jesse Brandes are our pressmen, who can have newspapers coming off the press in less than an hour after we send them the last digital pages. They also manage the mailroom, and are responsible for keeping the machinery going non-stop.
John Payne leads a cadre of inserters, bundlers, and distribution workers, including Dalyla Adank, Marti Adank, Jeff Banner, Annie Block, Steve Braatz, Samantha Brandes, Jeff Edmunds, Dave Groth, Shirley Haskett, Daniel Karnick, Charlotte Nelson, Mike Nelson, Harley Niemeyer, Miranda Northrup, Schandra Olson, Andrea Petschow, Sally Sanchez, Tina Schmoker, Cody Sorensen, Darla Sorensen, Lindsey Stolpa, Sadey Stolpa, Kylie Tello-Cierzan, Sarah Walsh, Harlen Wilson and Cathy Zimmerman. And we canít forget Kathy Erickson, who keeps everything clean for us.
When the papers leave the mailroom to be delivered, Mary Veraguthís able 150 or so independent contractors deliver ó some have for many years ó 24,000 papers either on foot or, in the rural areas, driving their routes to put the papers into your red Winona Post tubes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And thanks to Jim Palmer, the rural routes are routinely maintained. If you wish to know who your carrier is, or need help with a delivery question, Mary can help you out. She is also assisted by Jim Veraguth.
And then there is Mel Jacob, our bookkeeping and operations director, who, though I have named her last, has become my essential partner since I have taken over Johnís job as publisher.
Without the cooperation and faith that all of these people have placed in me, I could not have led the Post during the last 12 months. Without their professional help, their able support, and their friendship, this newspaper would not have continued to be the largest print news source in the Winona area.
Over the last weekend, as I sadly anticipated the anniversary of Johnís death, I thought about how lucky I am that all of these people were willing to work together as a team to keep the Winona Post not only going, but thriving. It may be my picture in the paper twice a week on the editorial page, but I am nothing without the people who are responsible for getting the Winona Post from concept to community voice, and then turn around and do it all over again, 104 times a year.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.