Letter from the editors

Dear readers,

This month we say goodbye to some key staffers and hello to new (and returning) ones.

A&E Editor Steve Shanafelt is passing the torch to Rebecca Sulock.

On the arts-and-entertainment front, we’re bidding adieu to A&E Editor Steve Shanafelt, who’s held the post for the past year. Shanafelt’s relationship with Xpress stretches back to 2000, when he first came on board as an intern. “If I had to think back on the single most influential day of my adult life, it would be the day I was accepted as an intern at Mountain Xpress,” he says. “Everything I’ve done since then has been shaped by that.”

Steve has worked for the paper in various capacities: as a reporter, columnist, editor and Bele Chere booth coordinator, among sundry other duties. Now he’s moved to Spartanburg, where he plans to work as a freelance writer and hopes to assist with that city’s downtown revitalization.

Our new A&E editor, Rebecca Sulock, is an Asheville native who graduated from UNCA in 2000. After stints as the music editor for the then-freestanding Asheville Disclaimer and as a writer for the Asheville Global Report, she worked daily-newspaper jobs, first at The Herald in Rock Hill, S.C., and then at The Charlotte Observer, where she’s been a reporter for the past year.

Coming back to Asheville “feels like the right thing, because I’ve always been very involved with this community, even when I was gone from it,” Sulock says. “I’ve missed the mountains and the spirit of the area, because most places aren’t like this. Here you just have so many people doing so many different and exciting things, and it’s pretty rare to get that kind of energy.”

As for the future of the A&E section, Sulock is counting on you to help steer its direction. “I want to hear from as many readers as possible about what they want from our arts coverage,” she says; send your ideas to rsulock@mountainx.com.

As Kent Priestley departs, Margaret Williams will edit the Outdoors section and our gardening feature, The Dirt.

Meanwhile, writer, editor and resident wordsmith Kent Priestley is moving to Knoxville after a three-year stint with the paper. Kent plans to continue writing in his new home.

“My favorite thing to do at Xpress has been profiling interesting people,” he says, and he certainly found no shortage of them here—from a free-throw wizard to a stuffed-panda-bear collector to intrepid warriors in the fight against the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Priestley’s duties here have included editing two sections: Outdoors and The Dirt (aka the gardening section). Stepping up to fill those roles is Margaret Williams, who was a news reporter and photographer at Xpress from 1994 to 2002. Although those sections won’t change dramatically, Williams says she plans to enhance their online presence—perhaps including having readers submit their own content. In addition, she, too, invites readers to help shape the two sections by sending any and all suggestions to outdoors@mountainx.com and/or gardening@mountainx.com.

So to Steve and Kent: Thank you, goodbye and good luck. And to Rebecca and Margaret: Welcome, and make yourselves at home.

— The editors


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