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Its been a busy summer around the old Times newsroom

(Former managing editor of the Beaverton Valley Times and The Times, serving Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood, Mikel Kelly now handles special sections and contributes a regular column.)

We've had a lot of changes around our office this summer, so I thought this would be a nice time to explain to you what's been going on and what it means for you, the reader of our papers. Rather than arrange these things in order of importance, I thought I'd relay them pretty much the way they happened.

It all began with the departure of People Editor Nancy Townsley, one of the best writers we've ever had around here. She was hired away by John Schrag, who runs our sister paper, the Forest Grove News-Times. (Keep an eye on the News-Times because it's clear to those of us who know such things that John is building a crackerjack team out there.)

Because Nancy had been partly responsible for special sections, it was decided that we should shake things up a bit and reassign some folks. One of those is me, and I was put in charge of the special sections that get tucked into your regular paper every two or three weeks. Of course, I've been doing these sections pretty much non-stop since I returned to the Times papers back in January of 1990, but believe me, this is a good thing. I can be reached at 503-546-0737.

We also decided that we needed a new, full-time People editor. After much interviewing and fooling around, we settled on Elena Boryczka, an Oregon City product who got her journalism schooling at Washington State University. Elena only says about three words a week, so we're all still getting to know her. At this rate, we probably won't know her very well until about 2015. You can reach Elena at 503-546-0740.

You've no doubt heard that brown is the new black (or is it gray now?) Well, as far as Tigard-Tualatin news is concerned, Nick Peterson is the new Mikel Kelly. He's the guy putting The Times together every week, and he also gets to sort out the letters and soapboxes for the Times Opinion pages.

Nick's kind of old like me, too. In fact, we're both caterwauling guitar players.

A veteran of several newspapers (including the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin and the Pendleton East Oregonian), Nick most recently logged a year as editor of the monthly Sherwood Gazette, one of the most successful newspapers in the entire Community Newspapers family. He can be reached at 503-546-0730.

This doesn't directly concern too many of you, but thought I'd throw it in. Not too many weeks ago we hired a new Sherwood Gazette editor named Tony Roberts. He came from Pennsylvania to take the job. And, since he's already survived the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival, we've all concluded that he's going to make it. Tony's number is 503-546-0731.

There's also a new face in the sports department. Helping out award-winning sports editors Miles Vance (Beaverton Valley Times) and Dan Brood (The Times) is Bill Wilson, formerly sports editor for the Sandy Post and a contributor to the Gresham Outlook as well. Bill also did an internship with the Cincinnati Enquirer. He's at 503-546-0733.

And it's probably worth noting that we've been up to our keyboards in newsroom interns this summer. Helping out with stories of all sorts are Beaverton-area college students Carmen Hinckley and Meghan McCloskey, both attending the University of Oregon, and Katlyn Carter, who returns this fall to the University of California at Berkeley.

Not mentioned in all of this verbiage are the rest of our newsroom crew, including Kevin Harden, who writes for, edits, designs and puts together the Valley Times news pages with the assistance of reporters Christina Lent and Ray Pitz, who cover Beaverton, and AmyJo Brown, who covers the county.

And, making Nick's life easier because they serve up big helpings of interesting local news every week are Tigard reporter Barbara Sherman and Tualatin-Sherwood reporter Jennifer Clampet.

Let us not forget the Times' photography team of Jaime Valdez and Jonathan House, who make us all look better by providing images to liven up our pages.

And, perhaps the most overlooked (yet valuable) contributor to the Times newsroom is 'vital statistics' person Mary Ratcliff, who for years and years has bird-dogged letters, press releases, weddings, engagements, calendar items and all manner of news that's more likely than any other to end up on someone's refrigerator - which, to be frank, is what we consider our highest calling.

It is thanks to all of these folks that the two Times papers came home from the summer newspaper publishers' convention with 25 awards this summer. The highlight, of course, was the 'oscar' - the first-place award for general excellence among weeklies our size - won by the Valley Times.

There have been other exciting changes and additions, most notably a new Web site, Localnewsdaily.com, allowing all of our papers to jump on stories right away and to update them. Now if we could just provide a direct link from that site to your fridge, we'd have it licked.