Year three of community columnists

Introducing Kevin Keane, Sara Sutterfield, Carlie Hendrickson, Payton Tabert, and John Locatelli.

Another August, another brave group of locals willing to share their thoughts, opinions, and experiences with their Plateau neighbors.

This is the third year I’ve put on the community columnist program, asking folks to take the time to write 12 columns on practically anything they want. It’s been an eclectic experience, and I found myself having the great privilege to work with people I don’t think I’d ever have met otherwise: financial gurus, experts on Mt. Rainier, high schoolers with bright eyes and big aspirations, retirees with bones to pick with the liberal establishment, activists trying to make their community a better place to live — it’s been a trip, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the ride so far.

Once again, I’d like to thank our last crop of writers — Leann Blanco, Dan Shannon, David Cannon, and Carol Spell — for their effort and energy this last year. It was my genuine pleasure to work with your four, especially because I was challenged to view the world through different lenses and make some adjustments to the assumptions I carry into the world.

Following in their footsteps will be Kevin Keane, a “new” transplant from the New England area looking to help people re-discover the natural wonder and beauty that is Washington; Sara Sutterfield, a self-described Wilkeson historian and an actual gold miner who wants to raise up her community; Carlie Hendrickson and Payton Tabert, a team of real estate agents looking to give you the best tips and tricks for buying, selling, flipping, or just plain improving your home; and John Locatelli, who with 40 years with the UW’s Department of Atmospheric Science is looking to educate locals about the weather they experience everyday, and why it can be so unique here on the Plateau.

One of my main goals I set for this community columnist initiative was to get fresh voices in the Courier-Herald, especially those you would not normally hear from. For the most part, I think I’ve achieved that in spades.

By second goal is to get you, our readers, to interact with our writers. Last year, we had interaction aplenty — political commentary is not wont for reactions.

I am hoping we can continue that trend this year, even though we will generally lack the heat of discussing current politics.

If you have any questions or comments for any of our new columnists, I encourage you to send them my way at This way, I can shoot them off to our writers and get you a response to be, hopefully, published in a following column.

And finally, if anyone is looking to become a community columnist for next year, you can email me for instructions (or wait for the inevitable mid-year and beginning-of-summer columns calling for new participants).

Thanks all — stay cool, and I’ll see you around town.