I became the publisher of The Apache Junction/Gold Canyon News by default. The paper was my late husband’s dream. Ed ate, slept and played The News and loved every minute of it. When he passed away, there was simply no way I was going to sell his dream!
As a City Councilmember, I walk a tightrope to insure the paper and my political leanings do not co-mingle. I stay out of anything having to do with city decisions and policies, while keeping the paper out of Council decisions.
I feel strongly that our community deserves to be served by a paper that cares about it. Our kids deserve to be celebrated for all of their achievements. Citizens deserve to know what their elected officials are doing and how their tax dollars are being spent. That was Ed’s dream. With the help of my fantastic daughter, Trish Hoagland, and an equally fantastic staff, The News continues to serve our community just as Ed dreamed it would.
Chief Operations Officer
I was first exposed to the news business in my junior and senior years of high school. In the late 80’s, my dad, Ed Barker, started publishing The Bulletin, a weekly multipage newsletter that covered everything from local politics to local sports. For a short time, I sold advertising and helped with the business marketing strategy. I didn’t know it at the time, but by 1997, my father’s dream would grow into a full-sized newspaper, The Apache Junction & Gold Canyon News - The Only Hometown Paper.
It was the summer of 2007, when Ed called and asked if I was ready to start working with him again. My first position at The News was in the sales & marketing department, where I worked with established clients and secured new local and national advertising. In 2010, I moved into the marketing manager position, responsible for one employee and marketing strategy. The summer of 2015, I began to get involved with some day to day operations of the business, public relations and strategy.
In April of 2017, just three months from the paper’s 20th anniversary, my dad and mentor passed away. The two years I spent learning about the business from him, combined with the unconditional support of the incredible people I work with, helped me find and grow into the leadership role I have today. Together, we captained our ship to our greatest accomplishment as a team: the redesign of our newspaper and launch of our website.
As 2019 unfolds and we begin the next chapter in our story, I am grateful for the continued opportunity to serve my community and look forward to carrying on the legacy my dad created.
I’m a native Arizonan, and, when I’m not at the newspaper, I love exploring the outdoors. I’m inspired by music, and I enjoy practicing yoga and spending time with my family and all of our rescue animals.
Advertising, Graphics Manager
I came to work for The News in 1997, when the paper was first created. For twenty years, I watched this newspaper mature, expand, and develop into the great hometown paper it is today. The News hired me with no graphic background. I was creative, and had art and design in my blood. Kathy MacNamara was my graphic teacher, and she taught me everything I needed to know to get me started.
Prior to working for The News, I worked for Bank One (now Chase) as a “Bank By Phone Representative,” and Microage. Other than work, I’m a mom of two and a grandma of two! I enjoy spending my free time reading, swimming, baking and spending time with my family. The News isn’t just my job, it’s my life, my family and most importantly my future.
BILL VAN NIMWEGEN
Lead Journalist, Webmaster
I always thought there was ink in my blood. My uncles were all in communications careers and my grandfather owned and edited a hometown paper in Iowa that was a lot like The News. At the Alton Democrat, the whole family would show up on press day and help out, whatever needed doing. That paper was printed in-house on an ancient press using lead type. It was loud, smelly and fast-paced—I loved it.
Several years ago, I answered a want ad for a reporter and that’s when I met The News founder and editor Ed Barker. He took a chance on me—I had done more design than writing—Ed was patient and a great teacher/mentor. Since then, everyone at the paper and in the community has been encouraging and helpful. It’s great to work in such a generous and friendly city, where there are residents with all kinds of stories.
Journalist, Social Media Manager
I’ve been writing for The News since July 2017 – but my relationship with the paper began while I was the Public Relations Coordinator for Apache Junction Unified School District. For three years, I worked closely with Bill, Trish and Ed pushing press releases, ads and editorials on behalf of the district. When it came time to leave AJUSD, I knew where I wanted to go: The News team had earned my respect for their integrity and for their positive approach to reporting local news. There was (and is) no sense of the “If it bleeds, it leads” media mentality – and no need to wring blood from something minor just to fill the “slow news” days. The News’ mindset is that, if it is important to our community; it’s important, whether it is good, bad or somewhere in between – and there will always be at least one positive story on the front page! I like that. A lot.
I have always been drawn to jobs that hold a value that goes beyond the paycheck. Writing for The News allows me to not only inform others about important issues and events, but also reflect the great potential and accomplishments of individuals, organizations and businesses in this wonderful, warm, friendly and feisty town. If we, as a community, open the door to see ourselves in a better light, we allow others to also see us for whom we truly are.
I am originally from St. Joseph, MO, but have lived in AZ since 1990. I still long for the lush green that drapes the rolling hills and bluffs of home – but not the humidity that makes it possible! My four children attended AJUSD, and our family has lived in or near AJ since 1999. I am a graduate of ASU, with a degree in Multimedia Writing & Technical Communications.
I arrived at The News in October 2015, replacing Chuck Baker as sports editor. Before that, I was a sports and general assignment reporter in Florence, after returning to Arizona in 2007. I’ve been at this since the mid-1970s and have been fortunate enough to pick up an award or two along the way (roughly 46, altogether, in sports, entertainment and general news reporting).
While most of my growing up was in the Red River Valley of North Dakota (Gardner, pop. 75), I was also a snowbird student in Mesa, 3rd through 8th grades. Back in the ‘70s, I wrote for school newspapers in high school and college and learned a lot from a school-year sports desk internship for four years at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. From there, it was radio, playing the “stax of wax” and “hits to click” in a variety of formats for about 15 years, along with writing and producing commercials and about 1,400 games worth of play-by-play —mostly for high school and college sports, plus a professional boxing doubleheader. I returned to print media for good in 1995, at my home area’s weekly in Casselton, ND; then it was on to The Daily Times in Farmington, NM, Senior Spectrum (50-plus demo) in Sacramento, CA, and back to Arizona.
When I’m not covering sports for The News, I have music and baseball book projects and “Rock and Roll 101,” an online music history show I host for SKY 7 broadband radio in Apache Junction.
I have been Office Manager at The News since the beginning of 2019, but I have been in and out of The News for brief periods of time as a writer since 2010. I have been in management positions ranging from retail to small business offices, since I was 19 years old. I have a talent for organization & attention to detail that has successfully carried me through my career and is now called upon to help expand The News’ demographic appeal as we evolve to better serve our growing community.
I am a rare Apache Junction native, and I graduated from Apache Junction High School in 2010. In high school, I was captain of the Cheerleading Squad and also in the Concert Band - another rarity. Music is something I'm very passionate about, which made those two extracurriculars perfect for me.
In my personal life, I keep things very simple. I spend most of my time either painting or with my husband and our two dogs. We are huge animal lovers and adopted both our dogs from Paws & Claws.
Delivery jobs in my family started with my grandmother, mother and father – and me working as their sidekick for the price of a hamburger and milkshake. My husband, Jaye, and I moved to Apache Junction in 1997 to raise our three children in a small town atmosphere, I was happy to find the The News in my driveway. I immediately went down to the The News office and acquired a delivery job.
After a few years of delivering the paper, Ed started offering me the Distribution Manager job. Many of you knew Ed and probably know how persistent he could be. It seemed like every week for a couple of years, he would ask and offer different incentives. The day finally came when my children were in school and I could be in the office when needed. The look on Ed’s face when I told him I could finally take the job was priceless.
As Distribution Manager, I recruited my children as they reached driving age, creating four generations of news delivery. I have been with the The News family for 20 years and I look forward to another 20 years!