Editorial: Meet your new writers

Posted Online: June 17, 2012, 5:00 am
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
Meet our new writers

"The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all," Mark Twain suggested.

For several years now, we've been offering readers a chance to prove the point in our regular guest columnist feature. A host of wonderful writers has answered the call each time we've asked our readers to compete to be a regular guest columnist. This time was no exception. More than 30 of you applied. Thanks!

Judging the competition was a challenge for our panel of judges, which this time included publisher Gerald J. Taylor, managing editor Roger Ruthhart, editorial page editor Kenda Burrows, reporter Laura Anderson Shaw and general manager Scott Aswege.

While many who entered would have been excellent additions to our pages, we're pleased with the collection of writers whose work will begin appearing this Wednesday. Meet the people you will be getting to know better in the days and weeks ahead.

Liz Strader of Davenport is communications coordinator for SAL Family and Community Services, a nonprofit organization which operates Skip-A-Long Child Development Services, the Home Child Care Network, Open Door Crisis Assistance, and Child Care Connection in Peoria. The Davenport mother of three has a bachelor's degree from Augustana College. She "greatly enjoys spending time playing in the yard and taking trips to the zoo when she's not working or supporting her husband George's improvisational comedy troupe, The Blacklist."

Barb Braun
is "a proud transplant to Rock Island" who grew up in rural Scott County. She and husband Bob have lived in the Broadway Historic District since 1995. The lone female in a household that also includes two sons and two male cats, she currently operates a home-based public-relations consulting business. She holds a master's degree in communications and has been an adjunct instructor at St. Ambrose University for 10 years. She worries that "quality communication is in jeopardy in our rapid-fire, multi-media age."

Karl Knudsen spent 27 years in radio. "I loved writing copy for radio ads and editing news for those years. I love journalism and hate to see it die," he said. The Rock Islander adds, "I'm 60 years old and don't care to live to be 95." He is a field representative for an Illinois college who works from home. "I am passionate about the people in my neighborhood, my city and my state." He adds, "I consider this next election the most important in my lifetime and wish to make an effort to wake Americans up to the contrasting choices we face."

Gabriele Doyle was born in Chicago and moved to Andalusia with her husband, Dr. Randy Doyle, in 1997. The mother of children age 18, 15 and 10, says, "Yes, I am old enough to be their grandmother. Ouch." While getting her college degree, she "traveled throughout Europe and proved the maxim that God takes care of drunkards and fools. I was not a drunkard." She has an MBA and serves as business manager of River Bend Christian Counseling, which she started with her husband.

Jessica Ramos-Rodriguez
is a lifelong Quad-Citian currently living in Silvis. She grew up in East Moline. A graduate of United Township High School and Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in communications, she is a judicial clerk at the Scott County Clerk's Office. She and husband Vey have a 3-year-old named Noah. "My hobbies include dancing, spending time with my family and, of course, writing!"

Thanks to all who took the considerable time we know it takes to enter our contest. It doesn't work without your participation and the quality and quantity of entries was what we have come to expect from our contributors.

Narrowing the field to just five was no easy task.

So, if you weren't picked this time, please, don't be discouraged. We'll do this for as long as you tell us you care to participate.

In the meantime, please enjoy offerings of this round's writers in Viewpoints every Wednesday beginning this week with Ms. Strader.


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