It’s been several years since Keri and I bragged about our Feather Publishing “family” that we have grown to know over the years, both personally and professionally. So indulge us as we use this space to take you behind the scenes and share a little insight about some of the “senior” members of this staff who lead the way to make these award-winning papers amongst the best in the country.
When we both joined the family’s business in 1974, there were just three newspapers and about 15 employees. Since then, our business has grown significantly, doubling the number of newspapers and niche publications we publish while increasing the number of employees needed to get the job done.
Our group of community papers now includes the Lassen County Times and the Westwood PinePress in Lassen County; our flagship paper, the 153 year-old Feather River Bulletin in Quincy; along with the Indian Valley Record, Chester Progressive and Portola Reporter.
Whether in print or on our respective news websites, lassennews.com and plumasnews.com, our goal is to be Lassen and Plumas counties’ most trusted and reliable source for local news and marketing information — and we think we are effectively accomplishing that mission.
And we certainly can’t do it alone. We are fortunate to have such an incredibly loyal group of coworkers. In our 46 years here, we’ve had both the honor and pleasure of working alongside some really terrific people who have made this their career and a huge part of their lives, and they have been an integral part of the company’s growth.
The 72 employees we have today take personal pride and ownership in every phase of the operation, whether it’s their responsibility or not. Not counting those with two or fewer years, collectively they represent more than 600 years of combined Feather Publishing newspaper/printing experience (and that number would be even higher if we included several other “old timers” who are now enjoying their retirement).
There isn’t enough space here to recognize each of them individually, so we’ll just briefly acknowledge those who are near or have passed the 15-year milestone.
We’ll begin with Mary Newhouse who began as a receptionist handling front desk duties in our Quincy office and worked her way through the ranks to her important role as manager of our classified, circulation and human resources departments.
Jenny Lee started in our graphics department and is now the photo editor for the Plumas papers, although, like virtually everyone here, her title doesn’t reflect all she does.
Our ever-so-thoughtful Susan Cort Johnson is Westwood’s resident editor who has been carefully covering news and features in the communities of Westwood and Clear Creek for 19 years.
Also having 19 years under his belt is senior newspaper pressman Mark Jennings, who efficiently and effectively makes sure the paper you are holding is clean, crisp and sparkling with color.
Our assistant editor for the Plumas papers, Victoria Metcalf, has compiled some 20 years over three different tours with the company. She is an energetic and focused writer who covers everything from county government, emergency responders, sheriff and CHP and those fluffy, heartwarming features we all love to read.
Moving ahead, there are five with 21 years of service. They include Bob Mahenski, who is a very creative and hardworking graphic designer in Susanville. Reporter Will Farris doesn’t miss a step covering the action up and down the Feather River Canyon; and Julie Leslie and Kevin Leslie anchor our very dependable circulation team that is tasked with making sure the homes and businesses in and around Susanville get their paper each and every week. And for 21 years Sam Williams has masterfully exercised his solid news judgment skills as managing editor for our Lassen papers. He and his team of reporters fully understand his newsroom’s responsibility when it comes to covering local news.
Then there’s Editor Debra Moore, an exceptionally accomplished and respected journalist and admired leader who has a combined total of some 24 years with us, the majority of that time spent directing the reporters in our company’s Plumas newsroom. We should add that Debra was certainly missed when she left for a period of time to work for the Record Searchlight in Redding and were thrilled when she returned.
At our Chester office, Cheri McIntire has been the one we can always count on through thick and thin — and we have for 26 years. Whether it’s advertising and marketing or office management or community relations, she does it all. Much of her time is now spent traveling between our offices as our in-house advertising training consultant.
Graphic artist extraordinaire Cindie Williams, now in her 27th year, not only creates eye catching ad campaigns but she manages the graphics department at the Times as well. She also shares her IT skills by handling all the computer problems in that office.
The other members of our “family” on this list that we want to mention are at the central plant in Quincy where this newspaper is printed.
Now we are going to reverse the order starting with the top of the “seniors” leader board in years of employment:
Leading the way with 40 years is the foundation to our pressroom, Tom Forney. He is the mild-mannered and ever-so dependable production manager who, for four decades, has steadfastly handled our web press printing operations and challenges to ensure readers receive the utmost in quality each and every week the papers roll off the presses.
Right behind Tom on that list of experienced newspaper veterans is Eva Small. She has been leading our graphics department on the Plumas side for the better part of 39 years. There isn’t a person here who doesn’t rely on Eva’s expertise and institutional knowledge in some fashion or another since it is well known there isn’t anything she can’t do or won’t do to make this a better newspaper.
Having that same remarkable work ethic is Patsy Dingel. For 37 years she has diligently gone about her business in the print shop and prepress departments. Patsy has an incredible eye for detail and takes great pride in her work and our finished products.
Randy Stratton is the guy we’ve been able to count on for 33 years to oversee our inserting/mailroom department. He handles the scheduling and packaging of the various sections of the paper along with the preprinted circulars you get every week. And speaking of handling tasks, this highly respected and trusted individual has exceptional knowledge of all aspects of the newspaper business — our company’s vice president of operations, Cobey Brown. Now in his 32nd year, he has become one of the key leaders of our company.
We’ve taken up way too much space talking about just a few of the “old timers” and nobody else on our staff. So, look for a full-page ad in the coming weeks featuring — no, make that honoring — the rest of the best!
Clearly, our roots run deep here at the Lassen County Times and Feather Publishing Co., (now often referred to as Plumas News), as does our continued commitment to you, our readers, advertisers and print shop customers.
All of us wish you a safe and healthy new year and thank you for allowing our family to be a part of your family each and every week.
And to our employees: We thank you for sharing your talent, your dedication and so much of your life with us.
With immense pride,
Mike and Keri