People in my neighborhood, workwise, are invaluable and bring joy in many ways, but most of all are essential in creating the weekly newspapers for Stilwell and Westville.

For more than six years, Sydney Rodriguez has been the advertising manager, and for the past two, the office business manager as well. She’s the cheerful face that greets visitors or usually on the telephone to assist with subscription renewals, and the many other questions people call to ask, such as the deadline to put an ad in the newspaper: Friday at noon. She coordinates ads for the newspaper and calls or emails businesses for special projects we do, such as the Graduation Special and Strawberry Festival edition. If your business would like to be included in upcoming specials as an advertiser, contact Sydney at advertising@stilwelldemocrat.com.

As editor, I share the office with Sydney. I’m out and about at meetings and events, taking photos and talking to people often six days a week. It’s such a fun and interesting career, never the same any day, and I sometimes make lifelong friends. This more than makes up for the occasional stinker, who can remind me they are what I call "opportunities to walk in love." Deadlines are also a challenge. Reach me about events or to send press releases at editor@stilwelldemocrat.com.

Outside of this office, we have support from sister paper, Tahlequah Daily Press. Regional Editor Kim Poindexter mentors the news teams of several newspapers and is longtime editor of the TDP, and she offers expertise in solving problems as they arise, story ideas or edits as needed. She has 40-plus years experience, so she has dealt with about anything a community or newspaper can face. She has won more awards than she has wall space to hang for her writing and the newspaper as a whole; she has essentially managed the news team almost since graduating from Northeastern State University. She is a stickler for stories and page layout being accurate. In spite of long hours, reporters missing deadlines, computer technology problems and all the responsibilities she juggles at work, she still loves this industry and the TDP.

The person responsible for the professional appearance of the newspapers, magazines and special sections we do is Juanita Lewis. She ever so patiently taught me InDesign so I can now also design the Adair County newspapers. Juanita builds all the ads legals for Adair County, and redesigned the nameplate (at top of the front page with name of the paper) and every week creates an attractive and easy-to-read paper. She also coordinates the print schedule for all special sections. She fills in for designers who take vacations at TDP and is the person people count on.

Publisher Gary Jackson is enjoying the life of a daily newspaper publisher now and still keeps up with Kiwanis and Adair County newspapers, too. He has the job of making sure numbers add up.

New this week is Mackenzie Oestreich, recent graduate from NSU with a Media Studies degree and summer intern with us. She loves photography and is friendly and great at everything so far. I’ve already learned to do an Air Drop this week. It’s so fun to share something I love as much as newspaper work with a young and enthusiastic person.

Out of everyone who helps us create a weekly digest of who, what, when, where and why, it is you, the reader, who is most important. It’s the reader who supports the publication, and most of all, is the "who" we love to feature and read about. We look forward to meeting and writing about new and not-so-new people at events, or authors, or most anyone, anywhere in Adair County. 

Everyone has a story, and I hope to tell it. Those in the paper will forever be documented in history and part of the newspaper family, like subscribers. To quote a popular former children’s television host, Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”