Reporter Leila Summers brought South County News contributors together in Woodland on Dec. 18 for a Christmas party at Los Pepe’s restaurant. When I entered the room, I saw two familiar faces: those of Noel and Nancy Johnson.Noel’s Web site, www.lewisriver.com, is a leading source of information about our area. He’s seen with his camera at just about every event that’s held in the area, and his photos have bailed me out more than once when my camera didn’t work or his pictures were better than mine. His photographs of area events are often used by South County News. Next, I met Cheryll Borgaard, region editor of the South County News, and Linda Pharr, who contributes Kalama news. It was good to put faces with names.I had already met Leila Summers, South County News reporter, who has become a frequent face at Woodland and Kalama council meetings and area events.
Cheryll Borgaard wears many hats. Not only is she the region editor for South County News, but she is also assistant city editor and night editor for the Daily News. I asked Cheryll if The Daily News has other regional editions like the South County News. “We have two ‘Extra’ pages that we run once a week,” she said. “…one for Columbia County and one for north Cowlitz County (Castle Rock, Toutle, etc.) but they’re only one page in the regular paper while SCN is a full four.”
The first issue of South County News, she said, was Nov. 22, 2006.
Borgaard became a reporter for The Daily News in late 1999 after 10 years as editor of the now defunct Cowlitz County Advocate. She was made editor in 2000.
Reporter Leila Summers began work on South County News just two days before the publication of its second issue. Leila, a Spokane native, came here from the Shoshone News-Press in Kellogg, Idaho. She received her journalism degree from Washington State University.
Linda Pharr reports on Kalama-area news and events. She has lived in Kalama since 2000, and she said, “Writing for the paper has helped me get to know people.”
Another contributor, Ladisa Quintanilla, was unable to attend the party. She features Woodland and Kalama residents in the “People to Know” column.
Quintanilla was born in Guam where she lived with her family until 2000. She has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and business administration from the University of Guam and is currently working on getting her master’s degree from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. She is employed in Vancouver by Education Opportunities for Children and Families.
I started writing this column for South County News in April. I take writing classes from bestselling author Julie Fast in Portland and I am working on a young-adult book when I’m not helping my husband with Big Deals, our retail and wholesale business. Once a week, I visit my granddaughter’s second-grade classroom to help with writing lessons.
Leila had a good idea in getting us all together. After all, it takes a team to write a newspaper, and it’s easier to feel like part of a team now that we’ve met. We got to know each other a little better when we exchanged gifts and played the game of stealing them from each other. Noel Johnson felt triumphant when he ended up with a set of coasters that hold photos — the perfect gift for this photographer on our team!