The joke around the office is that nobody ever really leaves the Independent. It's true in part -- we tend to hang on to valued employees one way or another, whether as contributing writers, as consultants or board members.
Here's a rundown of what happened to a few of our early employees, a look at the five who stuck it through the first 10 years, and a list of everyone who has worked as a staff member since October of '93. We extend apologies in advance to anyone who was inadvertently overlooked.
Where are they now?
Donna Ladd, the Independent's first editor, from October '93 through February '94, freelanced in the Springs and nationally, and taught at Metro State in Denver upon first leaving the paper. In '97, Ladd's tech column "Silicon Lounge," became a regular feature in the paper and was eventually picked up by salon.com and the Village Voice. Ladd received a midcareer fellowship to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and lived in New York for two years before returning to her home territory of Mississippi and launching the Jackson Free Press, an alternative newsweekly. In a recent letter to the Indy, Ladd said: "I've taken the lessons I learned in the Springs, about building progressive community in a conservative place, and am now applying them in an alt paper that I started here in Jackson, Miss., 90 minutes from where I grew up." Readers will be happy to know that Donna has maintained her dedication to female empowerment and in Mississippi has befriended Jill Conner Browne, better known as the Sweet Potato Queen. Ladd attended her wedding.
Andrew Gorgey, one of the Indy's first news reporters, covered business and the development community and city politics until January of '94 when he left to go to law school in his home state of South Carolina, returning each summer to Colorado Springs to intern in a local law office. After graduation, Gorgey returned to the Springs and worked as a deputy district attorney, then for a local attorney. He is now president-elect of the El Paso County Bar Association and occasionally writes book reviews for the paper. He has a particular affection for and encyclopedic knowledge of the books of Philip Roth.
Mark Hummels, then a recent Colorado College graduate and the Independent's first editorial intern in October '93, was known to occasionally sleep in the office. Hummels was a jack-of-all-trades who wrote about everything from smoker discrimination to jumping out of airplanes (yep, he did). Possibly best remembered for his up-front-and-personal interview with the fabulous Fabio, sex god of romance novel covers, Hummels left Colorado Springs for University of California Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, then worked at the Santa Fe Reporter covering courts for several years. Last we heard, he entered law school at the University of Arizona School of Law in Tucson where he was recently the first-place winner of the Richard Grand Writing Competition.
Deedee Correll, CC graduate and intern alongside Hummels, now covers the police beat for the Gazette, following reporting jobs in Boulder and Longmont.
Erik Cushman, former Independent general manager, is now publisher of Coast Weekly, an alternative newsweekly in Monterey, Calif. Cushman is also an Independent board member.
Malcolm Howard, staff reporter extraordinaire, culture and environmental guru, married the former Andrea Lucas, changed his name to Lucard, became the stay-at-home dad of Ulysses and Gideon, and pursued his first love of music and songwriting. His band Irrational Exuberance -- a high-energy fusion of folk, jazz, blues and whatever else interests them -- is ever evolving and plays frequently around the city. Lucard still contributes occasional stories to the Independent, most recently a cover story on historic preservation in Cripple Creek.
George Migash wrote the Independent a bogus letter overstating his credentials in '93, then came out to Colorado from Chicago in spite of the fact that we didn't offer him a job. By the second edition of the paper, he was art director and remained until the end of '98. Before leaving the Springs, Migash designed, invented and manufactured the mouse-shaped Pooper Scooper, an attractive cat box accessory. He lives in Red Lion, Penn., now with his wife and two children, and is renovating an old schoolhouse the family calls home.
The five left
Kudos to the five who, through good and bad, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, stuck it out these first 10 years.
Cara DeGette served as the Independent's first news reporter, then news editor, and has been the newspaper's editor since October 2001.
Kathryn Eastburn was co-publisher at the paper's beginning and was editor from February '94 to November '96, then came back from hiatus to be the paper's editor again from December '97 until September 2001. Eastburn has also served as arts and entertainment editor.
Publisher John Weiss remains publisher and community organizer, and is the creator of the Independence Community Fund, a fund-raising entity for small area nonprofits.
Teri Homick has headed up the Independent's retail sales department since October of '93. And Suzanne Becker, who is leaving this week to pursue her doctorate degree in sociology at the University of NevadaLas Vegas, has served for 10 years in various capacities as a classified sales representative, as a regular freelance writer and most often as distribution manager or distribution assistant. We will miss her.
Independent staff 1993-2003
Malcolm Howard (Lucard)
KC Nichols (Willis)
Jeani Waco Vigil
* Bolded names
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