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Meet The Union Editorial Board

The Union staff
Andy Burton
John Hart/jhart@theunion.com | The Union

Andy Burton

He is the owner of Full Spectrum Marketing Services, where he works with clients, both local and out of the area, to “manage their messaging” and ultimately grow their businesses. Andy Burton has been a business owner and entrepreneur for the past 15 years. He has a corporate background in energy management software and systems having worked with clients in Australia, France and many other European countries.

Burton and his wife, Shelly, live in Rough and Ready with their two teenage daughters, Jane and Molly, and enjoy taking advantage of all of the recreation opportunities Nevada County has to offer.

He participates in a number of customer boards of directors and remains actively involved with local schools and other community organizations.

Cheryl Cook

Cheryl Cook has been a Nevada County resident for 14 years, since retiring as the division manager of Child Welfare Operations in Contra Costa County

She is a former Contra Costa Times columnist, a former Nevada County Civil grand jury member and was the Nevada County Team Leader for the 2012 Obama Presidential campaign. She has been a frequent contributor to The Union’s Ideas & Opinions page for last five years and a member of the editorial board for the last year.

“I appreciate the deeper levels of investigative journalism,” Cook said. “My writing style is an attempt to communicate information in a way that tempers the sometimes heavy political fervor in the community with a lighter touch of levity. ”

“Nothing like a little judicious levity.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

R.L. Crabb

R.L. (Bob) Crabb is a native of Grass Valley. At various times in his life he was a songwriter, forklift driver, cook and repo man, but his passion is drawing cartoons.

He started professionally in the Nevada City Independent in 1980 and his work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, Grateful Dead Comix, The Comics Journal, Loompanics Unlimited, SCOOP, and many other publications.

His comic strips and editorial cartoons have appeared in The Union since 1994.

Mary Anne Davis

Mary Anne Davis was raised in Chico, where she attended preschool through college, earning a degree in business administration/marketing. She moved here 27 years ago when her husband Scott was offered a job as an engineer at Grass Valley Group. They have lived in western Nevada County ever since, and have raised two adult sons.

“I feel very blessed to be able to raise my children in such a great and relatively safe community,” she said. “I do not have any strong political affiliations, but I do have strong values and ethics.”

Her career in sales and marketing has been with local companies including media (radio and newspaper). She is currently the Event and Sponsorship Manager at The Union. She is a member of the 49er Breakfast Rotary Club of Nevada City, a member of Banner Mountain Artisans (she makes jewelry) and sings with the Sierra Master Chorale.

Halli Ellis

Halli Ellis was raised in Nevada County and is a graduate of Nevada Union High School.

When she was 16 years old, Halli began working in the Lyman Gilmore After School Program and has been dedicated to improving the lives of youth ever since. Halli is most known for co-founding the nonprofit organization NEO in 2008 to provide New Events & Opportunities for youth in Nevada County.

In 2013, she graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a desire to create positive change in her hometown. Halli is 25 years old and is currently working to open a youth center in Grass Valley. She’s in a unique position to listen and hear the needs of young people today and considers it an honor and privilege to represent the youth voice.

Robert Erickson

Robert Erickson is retired after a 42-year career of public service in social services in Sonoma County; mental health services in the U.S. Army and in Tulare County, and director of services in Tulare, Lake and Nevada counties.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Penn State University, a master’s degree in social work from California State University, Fresno, and master’s degree in public administration, also from CSU-Fresno.

He has been married 44 years and counting, with two grown daughters and three grandchildren. His daughters and one son-in-law are employed in public service capacities as school counselor, attorney and teacher, respectively. His other son-in-law holds an MBA and works for Intel Corp.

“I believe that government has a responsibility to directly provide or assure the provision of quality social and human service programs that would not be accessible in a strict free market and am proud to have had a part in that,” he said.

Nancy Eubanks

Before moving to this area in 2000, Nancy Eubanks and her family lived in rural Minnesota, where she was actively involved in many organizations like the League of Women Voters, American Association of University women, and her children’s schools. She served on the school board for seven years, where she said she gained valuable experience working with people from varied backgrounds.

“Even though our board members had very different political beliefs, we were able to come together on many local, school and community issues,” Eubanks said. “I truly believe that at the local level, community members have more things in common than differences.”

Her educational background includes three degrees; microbiology, medical technology and a master’s in teacher education. She considers herself a passionate political junkie. After the 2000/2004 elections and being opposed to the Iraq war, she decided to become actively involved in the Democratic Party and serves as chair of the Nevada County Democratic Central Committee’s Communication Committee.

Brian Hamilton

Brian Hamilton is editor at The Union, where he first joined the team in 2000 as a sports writer.

An Indiana native, Hamilton has worked for the Frankfort Times, the Elwood Call-Leader, the Anderson Herald-Bulletin and the Ball State Daily News, since starting his career as a high school correspondent with his hometown paper, the Wabash Plain Dealer. In all, he’s been writing and editing at community newspapers for nearly 25 years. With The Union, he also worked as sports editor and city editor, before being named editor in June 2012.

Hamilton left The Union in 2001, after meeting his wife back in his home state, returning one year later — after they were married at the Wayside Wedding Chapel of Rough and Ready — as sports editor. They now reside with their two daughters in South County, along with two dogs, a cat and a henhouse full of egg-laying chickens.

Rachel Helm

Rachel Helm has been fortunate enough to live in our lovely county for almost a decade, having moved here from the Bay Area. She is now retired but was employed for more than 30 years in the software industry where she worked her way up from a software engineer to an executive in product strategy and development.

She says her years working in high tech certainly had a profound impact on the political views that often drive the opinions she shares with The Union readership. She has a low tolerance for torrid hyperbole and a high respect for logical, fact-based arguments and strongly believes in a free market economy that government facilitates, rather than dominates and controls.

“I guess I’d sum my personal philosophy up as, don’t be a passive player in your own life, because the life you live is primarily defined by the choices you make,” Helm said.

Jim Hemig

Jim Hemig took the reins as publisher of The Union in January 2014. Hemig previously led Swift Communications’ advertising and print production operations since Jan. 1, 2007. He first started with the company in 1992 as the production manager for the Sierra Sun in Truckee.

Hemig has worked at the Sierra Sun, the Tahoe Daily Tribune in South Lake Tahoe, The News-Review in Roseburg and the Colorado Mountain News Media Production Facility in Gypsum, Colo.. He brings more than 27 years of newspaper production and technology experience to Swift Communications, Inc. He also had newspaper stints with McClatchy in Sacramento and Gannett in Salem, Ore.

Hemig was raised in the south Bay Area, where he met his wife of 26 years at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill. They were married in Sacramento.

He writes a weekly column each Friday. Current interests include bike riding, cooking, hiking and sports car racing.

George Horrigan

George Horrigan and his wife, Jill, have been married for 41 years and enjoy walking, cycling, golf, gardening and being involved with our community. They have lived in Alta Sierra for 16 years.

Horrigan served in the U.S. Army as a 1st Lt. Airborne Infantry and graduated from Fordham University School of Business. He worked for more than 50 years in the soft drink industry, working his way from route driver to president. He has run major bottling companies with more than 6,000 employees and 13 plants across the U.S., and had his own business for 15 years.

He has served on the board of Alta Sierra Country Club and has recently joined the board of Alta Sierra Property Owners Association.

“I bring to the editorial board a business background, ranging from the entrepreneur to the large corporation; and from the inner city to the suburban markets, both union and nonunion,” he said.

Stan Meckler

Stan Meckler was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. He married his wife, Elaine, in 1959. They have two sons, Mark and Jeff. Mark is an attorney and Jeff is a dentist who specializes in endodontics (root canals).

Meckler worked in sales and management for 40 years before retiring and moving to Grass Valley, where both of their sons lived at the time. He and his wife moved to Grass Valley in 1996 and opened Bubba’s Bagels. Meckler sold the business in 2003 and retired.

He became a board member of the Food Bank of Nevada County and served for five years, as well as serving as a board member of Child Advocates of Nevada County for two years. In 2009, Stan and Elaine Meckler started the Nevada County Tea Party, which grew to more than 1,700 members. He resigned as a member of the board four years later. He continues to be a Tea Party member.

Norm Sauer

Since 2003, Norm Sauer has resided in Nevada City with his wife, Annamaria. Married 36 years, they have three children and four grandchildren.

Norm was born and raised in San Francisco, and educated at Lincoln High School, the University of San Francisco and USF School of Law. Retiring in 2011, Norm was in private practice in California for 42 years.

Norm’s nonbusiness involvements were and are: past president of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, arbitrator in San Francisco Superior Court’s Arbitration Program, board member and president of The Hilarita/Tiburon Ecumenical Association, director of the Tiburon Ecumenical Association, director of Child Advocates of Nevada County, president of Gold Country Fly Fishers, trustee of Hospice of the Foothills, and contributor/director for the California Association of Business, Property and Resource Owners.

Current interests are national political events, U.S. and California history, and fly fishing.

Reinette Senum

Reinette Senum is a Nevada County native who has traveled to over 50 countries and founded/organized the American Women’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1991.

In the winter of 1994, Senum became the first woman to cross Alaska alone, filming her odyssey for National Geographic.

An adventuring storyteller, filmmaker, writer, motivational speaker, community activist; former mayor and council woman of Nevada City (2008-2012), Senum is dedicated to community resiliency. She co-founded the Alliance for a Post Petroleum Local Economy (APPLE), spearheaded solar installations on Nevada City’s municipally owned buildings, championed an $80,000 energy retrofit on a city-owned building (currently HAALo), co-founded/managed the Nevada City Farmers Market, and chaired the Nevada City Sustainability Team that built and installed the Boardwalk on Commercial Street.

In 2013, she launched the first Farm to Table Banquet in historic downtown Nevada City next to the Boardwalk.

Today, Senum is an advocate for homeless people and hosts a twice-monthly KVMR radio program.

Lynn Wenzel

Lynn Wenzel has written two books, “I Hear America Singing,” published by Random House, and “More Than Petticoats: Remarkable New Jersey Women,” published by Globe Pequot Press.

Her poetry has appeared in such journals as New England Poetry and Poet Lore and her book, “Solstice: Collected Poetry 1978-2010,” came out in 2012.

She has written for Newsweek, Newsday, and Ms. Magazine among more than 20 other lifestyle publications, was a book reviewer for the New York Times and managing editor of New Directions for Women, a national and international news magazine with 65,000 readers.

She is writing a history of her family in America from 1623 to today.

Wenzel has served on the boards of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition (DVSAC) and Nevada County Citizens for Choice and is currently co-president of the nonprofit Education Fund Board for Business & Professional Women of Nevada County.

Proudly progressive, Wenzel recently celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary and is happily surrounded by children and grandchildren.

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