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From left: Columnist Jimmy Chesire; freelance photographer Kathleen Galarza; proofreader Karen Gardner; distribution head Jeff Vawter; and proofreader Kitty Jensen.

Our part-time staff and contributors — Who’s the News, Pt. II

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Back in March, the Yellow Springs News launched a short series on our staff, contributors and columnists so readers could learn more about who produces their weekly paper. The coronavirus pandemic upended this series, as it did many of our lives, and we pivoted to more immediate issues.

As things have calmed down (somewhat), we’re pleased to restart the series with profiles of our part-time employees and regular contributors. An upcoming issue will feature biographies of our columnists. The first piece in the series covered our eight full-time staff members, and can be found here.

Part-time staff

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Proofreader Kitty Jensen proofs all the articles and columns before they go on the page, a role she has held for more than a decade. Kitty pays particular attention to making sure the calendar is accurate and that days and dates correspond, in addition to checking grammar, style and clarity of writing.

Kitty’s background is in molecular biology — she holds a Ph.D. in the field — and during her career she worked at the Fels Institute, Wright State University and The Ohio State University.

Kitty grew up in town, attending the Antioch School, Mills Lawn, Bryan Middle School, Yellow Springs High School and, briefly, Antioch College.

Kitty now lives in town with her partner, Patty, and has two adult children and one grandchild, plus two kittens, Lucy and Miranda. In addition to being an avid reader, Kitty enjoys music and dance; she sings in the MadriGals, Sokolice, and the Community Chorus, plays flute in the Community Band, and participates in international folk dancing in Dayton and Yellow Springs.

Karen Gardner recently returned to the Yellow Springs News as a proofreader, after returning to Yellow Springs from Orlando, Fla., six years ago.

Karen earned a degree in music (piano) from Indiana University. After teaching piano for 10 years in several different cities, she moved to Yellow Springs and began working at the News after a brief stint working at Antioch College.

She was co-owner and advertising manager of the News from 1991 until 2006.

After earning a master’s degree in special needs education and teaching in Dayton Public Schools, Karen is now owner of Bookplate Ink, LLC, which prints and customizes bookplates, using primarily designs acquired from the Antioch Company.  Karen raised her two children, Jesse Hernandez and local resident Jonina Hernandez, in the village. She is married to Village Council Member Kevin Stokes and together they enjoy their six grandchildren.

At the News, Karen proofs the pages after they are laid out, and takes special joy in fixing front page errors related to jump pages.

Jeff Vawter has been the News’ distribution manager for going on 10 years.  Each week, Jeff picks up the papers from the printer, labels them and delivers them to the post office and 12 local vendors. He also helps with various odd jobs around the office.

After retiring from 30 years at the Ohio highway department, Jeff answered a classified ad in the paper for the job, for “a little extra income and some fun.” In his retirement he has also used the master’s in conflict resolution he received from Antioch Midwest to do divorce mediations for Greene County Court.

A native of Springfield, Jeff rides his bicycle into town daily from his current home on Hustead Road, which he shares with his wife, Beth. His other bike — a Harley — he takes around the area and further afield as a member of the Outcast Motorcycle Club. He is currently planning a trip out west on two wheels.

Regular contributors

Freelance photographer Kathleen Galarza grew up in Yellow Springs, graduating from YSHS in 1988, leaving for college and graduate school, and returning to the area in 2000 to complete an internship in clinical psychology. Photography has been ever-present in her life. She believes sharing small scenes, often unnoticed, as well as documenting our youth achieving, and being able to share with them this outside perspective of their amazing talent and potential, is most powerful.

Jimmy Chesire has faithfully transcribed his reports of Perry League, the village’s noncompetitive weekly summer T-ball gathering, for the News more than 30 years (although, sadly, not this year, since the season was canceled).

Chesire has lived in Yellow Springs since 1983. He became involved in Perry League in the summer of 1985 when he brought his then-6-year-old daughter to play. That first night, the program coordinator told the assembled parents that he was retiring, and if parents wanted the program to continue, they should join him on the field. When he failed to show up the following week, Chesire and then-YSHS Principal Earl Holiday took over.

The following summer, Earl dropped out and another T-ball dad, Chuck Buster, joined Chesire in running the program for the next two summers.  Chesire took over as the solitary coordinator in the summer of 1988 and enlisted the help of many wonderful parents.

In hopes of building turnout for the program, Chesire began submitting notes to the Yellow Springs News about how many kids showed up and what happened each night. As his notes expanded, the News published what became Chesire’s first T-ball article in 1988.

Chesire soon found that there were so many wonderful stories he was never at a loss for something to say. Since then, it’s grown into a great celebration of children ages 2 to 9. As Chesire writes: “Funny, beautiful kids. Athletic kids. Surprising and creative kids. I thank them and their families and their genes and this unique and loving village for such a bonanza of wonder and delight.”

In 2017, Chesire retired from Wright State University, where he taught composition, rhetoric and creative writing for 24 years.  

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