The Tucson Local Media family celebrated Chelo on her last day at the office. 

As are most Fridays, Jan. 25 was a day filled with stories to write, photos to correct and pages to edit—the regular end-of-the-week rush to put as many words on paper as we can before taking a weekend break. Unlike most Fridays, though, last week was filtered through a bittersweet lens when we said goodbye to our longtime production manager, Chelo Grubb, who’s off on her next great adventure as a member of the Reid Park Zoo crew.

It was a day two weeks in the making, and while most of the sadness the newsroom felt in losing one of our own (and a true newspaper person, at that) had since passed, I’d be lying if I said the day was filled solely with hugs, smiles and well wishing. A few tears might have been mixed in the celebrations.

I first met Chelo the same way I’ve met all of my Tucson Local Media coworkers over the last three-plus years: a brief introduction accompanied by a handshake before returning to work. But our friendship developed quickly thanks to a shared interest in cats, Mexican food and all things Harry Potter. Over the years we’ve been teamed together in various office competitions (all of which we’ve won), shared lots of funny videos (mostly of cats) and had plenty laughs in the brief minutes of downtime a newsroom offers.

For those unfamiliar with the process, our production manager oversees the entire design team, develops our special projects and helps generally keep our heads above water through the production cycle. It’s a job with plenty of hats, and we’ve been lucky to have Chelo at the wheel for as long as we did. From web editor to production manager (and at times both), she did her jobs with a relentless focus and effervescent persona. 

The weekly grind isn’t always fun, but it’s definitely more enjoyable with good people around—and I know for certain all of Tucson Local Media counts Chelo as one of the best people.

To my fellow nerd, cat-lover and friend, we’ll miss you—and we can’t wait to visit your new home at the zoo!

While it’s nice to sit back and reflect on a few good years with a coworker, the news never stops, and neither do we. Replacing Chelo as the production manager is one of our designers, Anissa Sprecher, who’s quickly impressed us with her ability to manage a busy news cycle, work through problems creatively and put out our six publications on time.

Congratulations, Anissa! We all look forward to working with you and getting to know you better. 

We also recently welcomed two new interns into the fold over in editorial. Joining us for the next few months are University of Arizona journalism students Briannon Wilfong and Ian Green. Ian has already shown up in the pages of The Explorer and Marana News after he wrote about a partnership between the crew at Borderlands Brewing and several UA scientists to host public lectures, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what both interns write about this semester.

“Although we’re still fairly early into the semester, our pair of new interns have already proved they can write and work with deadlines – two critical abilities,” said associate editor Jeff Gardner, who heads the internship program. “I’m excited to see more of their writing, and I think we’ll have a good working relationship.”

This week in the paper includes even more from Ian, as he takes a look at a local career fair in the law enforcement industry. Briannon is making her print debut with a preview of one of my favorite events in Oro Valley: The Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival and Car Show.

Elsewhere, the staff put together our insider’s guide to staying healthy and happy this year thanks to the offerings of the Marana and Oro Valley parks and recreation departments; the good folks at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism report on the physical health of Arizona’s children; our newest freelance reporter, David J. Del Grande, sits down with Splendido at Rancho Vistoso’s Get Fit program coordinator; and Christopher Boan breaks down the region’s best hikes. 

It’s all part of this week’s Active Living special section, so make sure to get active yourself and don’t let this gorgeous winter weather go to waste.

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