We have been very fortunate here at the Independent to bring on two new voices to share with our readers. They will help us improve our coverage of county government and regional issues as well as town governments and events in Apache County.

At the beginning of July, veteran reporter and editor Peter Aleshire took up our county government beat as well as coverage of regional issues such as forestry, fire and energy and fracking. Aleshire retired last December as the editor of the award-winning Payson Roundup and is a former editor of Arizona Highways and has taught at Arizona State University. We are very grateful to have his skill, humor and good judgement to help us cover the most important issues facing our White Mountain communities.

Amber Shepard, a recent graduate with a degree in Mass Communications and Media Studies from Arizona State University, is also a resident of St. Johns who, along with her husband, is raising her daughter in that community. She has previously worked in marketing for Fortune 250 companies. Amber has a artistic bent, she told me that at Halloween she carves no less than 14 pumpkins and she enjoys drawing painting and calligraphy. Amber is just beginning her work as a writer, but already I can tell she has a sharp eye for detail and a nose for a story.

Earlier this spring, RT Lynch joined our team to report on the courts and law. Lynch is a former municipal court judge, and has a knack for writing about the law in a way that is educational and approachable. We are so fortunate that he always secretly wanted to be a journalist and we are happy to give him the opportunity.

We trust that readers will enjoy hearing from our new voices, and we will continue to strive to bring you a community newspaper of which you can be proud.

As always, if you have a question or comment for any of our writers, please feel free to contact them, or myself, by email or phone. We always welcome your thoughts or a story tip.

Reach the editor at tbalcom@wmicentral.com

Trudy Balcom is editor of the White Mountain Independent.

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