Our View: Meet the editorial board | TheUnion.com
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Our View: Meet the editorial board

The Union Editorial Board is changing shape.

It happens every few years. Some existing members figure it’s time to move on, and others in the community are keen to serve.

That ebb and flow of volunteers who serve on the board can take months, as can the process of finding and installing new blood.



After many weeks, our newest members have been selected and are participating in our weekly discussions that form the basis of each week’s editorial. They are, in their own words:

Ed Beckenbach and his wife, Sharon, moved to Nevada County in 2001 following his retirement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, where he managed a biomedical research program. After much searching, they bought some land in North San Juan despite being warned by their Wildwood-based Realtor that there were “hippies” out there. Ed has served on the boards of directors of the North San Juan Fire Protection District, Nevada County LAFCo, and the Sierra Family Health Center.




Bruce Herring is a former teacher, dean of academics, principal of Bitney Prep High School and a former owner of Wolf Creek Wilderness. He and his wife, Sally, have lived in Nevada County since 1988. Bruce was an unsuccessful candidate for the NID Board in 2018.

Thea Hood is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in the Netherlands. A retired college professor, she taught a number of years in Australia, Zimbabwe and South Korea, with the remainder of her teaching career in the Napa Valley. She has a passion for international volunteer service, helping build orphanages and churches in Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, South Africa, Japan and Italy.

Skip Pollard is a retired marketing and media executive who spent 35 years in advertising and publishing in New York City and south Florida. He and his husband fell in love with the Nevada County foothills when visiting after their wedding in 2013, and shortly thereafter purchased their home in Grass Valley. Skip loves hiking the Sierras, gardening, cooking and watching too much sci-fi.

Rachel Rein is a citizen scientist, writer, educator, and artist. She is currently pursuing an MFA in interdisciplinary arts. Her passions include genealogical DNA testing, data visualization, research, digital documentation, gaming, hand-coding HTML and CSS, and discovering new fruit to try. She volunteers with CHIRP, the non-profit of the local Nisenan Tribe. She produces a local voter guide each election and she created LandEmpty, which connects consumers with reusable alternatives to disposable items.

Judy Silberman is a Brooklyn native who’s been a Nevada County resident for 24 years. She traded in 60 acres of central Vermont woods for a home in downtown Grass Valley. She is a retired Montessori certified teacher who volunteers in local nonprofits, and is active in several faith communities. Her pastimes are dancing, reading, and walking with friends and family.

And our existing board members:

Jonathan Collier works as a strategic consultant and serves as a local community advocate in Nevada County. He sits on the board of directors for the Briarpatch Food Co-op and the Origins Council, and previously on the Nevada County Arts Council and the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance. He also volunteers with several local nonprofits on various committees. His current focus is on solving our housing crisis and creating community resiliency.

Valerie Costa has been The Union’s special publications editor for the past six and a half years, where she creates all of the fun inserts people get in the paper, such as Nevada County Rancher, Current, and many more. She is also the administrator of gonevadacounty.com, Nevada County’s official tourism promotion website. She loves what she does and takes pride in highlighting local businesses, places and people in a myriad of ways.

R.L. Crabb is a writer and cartoonist. His first newspaper cartoon appeared the day after Ronald Reagan was elected president. Since that time his crude and vulgar works have appeared in countless publications, including The San Francisco Chronicle. He considers himself a “Groucho Marxist,” rejecting membership in any party that would have him.

Tom Durkin came to the Gold Country in 1980 via Kansas, Hollywood and Sacramento. He is an award-winning, multi-genre writer, reporter, editor and photographer who has a BA in psychology and an MFA in TV/film, both from UCLA. Currently, he is a biweekly columnist for The Union, single, and looking for a real job because freelancing sucks.

Joslyn Fillman is the features editor of The Union, Prospector and Sierra Sun. She grew up in Nevada County and went to college in the Bay Area, where she studied English literature. She’s worked at the newspaper since moving back to Nevada County four years ago. When not working, Joslyn likes river walks, drinking lots of local coffee, and listening to live music, which Nevada County has no shortage of.

Paul Matson moved to California in 1970 from Wisconsin, and to Nevada City permanently in 1974 from the Bay Area. Matson served as a Nevada City Council member for 20 years with some terms as mayor, and on several boards and commissions, including the Miners Foundry Board of Trustees.

Rick Nolle came to Nevada County after 40-plus years of high tech management. He is currently a broker-associate for Century 21 Cornerstone Realty in Penn Valley. He believes in community support and involvement. He is a charter member of the Penn Valley Municipal Advisory Council, vice chairman of the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, past president of the Penn Valley Rotary Club, and past director of the Penn Valley Fire Protection District.

Jo Ann Rebane is a 19-year resident of Nevada County, a third-generation California native and a graduate of UCLA. She retired from a challenging career as a litigation paralegal at a top law firm in SoCal. In Nevada County, she continues to support classical music, local theater, as well as numerous local foundations and charities. Politically active, she leans strongly toward conservative/libertarian political and social causes.

Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union and Sierra Sun. He’s been in journalism for almost 20 years, and has worked at four different newspapers across Alabama, Georgia and California. He’s covered stories ranging from droll parades to capital murder cases in federal court. You will be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of “Doctor Who” or The Cure.

Publisher Don Rogers oversees The Union, The Sierra Sun in Truckee and the Tahoe Daily Tribune in South Lake Tahoe. He has served as publisher and editor at daily papers from San Diego to upstate New York in a career that began three decades ago in Quincy, California. Yes, he’s managed to annoy sources, colleagues and readers from coast to coast in the spirit of challenging assumptions.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com


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