Jan Wondra, Managing Editor
Jan began her career as a writer and business executive upon completing a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin, after which she held several positions, including columnist and staff writer for Minneapolis and St. Paul Skyway News and contract writer for the Milwaukee Journal. She moved into global advertising and marketing with Campbell Mithun Advertising before moving to Denver to become vice president of Sales Promotion for May D&F. Her accounts have included 3M, General Mills, Jolly Rancher and USWest.
Jan spent nearly a decade running her own marketing and writing agency with offices in Denver and Milwaukee. Her firm handled such diverse accounts as Wisconsin Gas, USWest/Qwest and MagneTek Waukesha. Working for Thomas and Perkins ad agency, she handled Xcel Energy, Wendy’s Rocky Mountain region and Gart Sports/Sportmart.
After rescuing the Children’s Museum of Denver, Jan moved to corporate roles, becoming director of Western Union North American Money Transfer, completing First Data Corp.’s First Leader program, becoming vice president of Marketing and e-Commerce for Ent Federal Credit Union and working as general manager of Arrow Electronics Global Marketing. In 2010 Jan returned to journalism with the Villager Media Group in the south Denver Metro area, launching TheCorridor.biz in 2015 and working from her home in Chaffee County.
Jan’s work has won numerous awards, including National and Colorado advertising awards, national direct marketing honors, and journalism honors from the National Press Association and Colorado Press Association. In 2014 she was named a Fellow of Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts.
Jan has served on many nonprofit boards, including the Arthritis Foundation and the Colorado Episcopal Foundation. She is the National Chair of Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, Including Neighboring Countries. In Chaffee County she serves on the Housing Policy Advisory Committee and the Communities That Care action group.
Contact her at Jan@arkvalleyvoice.com
Daniel Smith, Senior Reporter
Smith is a veteran print and broadcast journalist. His background includes a nationally syndicated business talk show, as well as reporting and photography duties for the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post.
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Tara Flanagan, Editor/Reporter
Tara Flanagan has spent years as an editor and reporter chronicling the stories of Colorado’s high country. She studied journalism at UW-Madison and is a novice beekeeper.
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Landon James, Entertainment Reporter
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Stephen Hall, Justice Specialist
Hall is a fifth generation Chaffee resident and Salida graduate, who enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice degree with an emphasis in political science; interrupted by 9/11 and an additional two years serving overseas, before graduating in 2006. He has worked in nearly all aspects of criminal justice; including two years for the Colorado Department of Corrections as a correctional officer in the Buena Vista Correctional Facility and seven years for the Department of Homeland Security as a Border Patrol Agent serving in the San Diego Sector. Most recently, Hall spent four years working for the Colorado State Patrol primarily in Chaffee and Fremont Counties, before covering justice issues and investigative work for Ark Valley Voice.
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Sandy Hobbs, Photojournalist
Hobbs, a photo journalist contributor who enjoys documenting community activities, is also responsible for the book keeping and finances at Ark Valley Voice. She is passionate about horses, fox hunting, her dogs and photography. She resides in Salida, CO.
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Adam Silverman, Security columnist and Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Truth Has a Voice Foundation
Adam L. Silverman has a doctorate of philosophy in political science and criminology from the University of Florida (2002) and is currently a National Security Consultant specializing in low intensity warfare, special operations, civil affairs, and psychological operations. He has previously been a Senior Fellow at SOCOM’s Joint Special Operations University (2015), a subject matter expert with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Security Dialogue and US Army Europe (2014), the Cultural Advisor (temporary assigned control) at US Army Europe (2013-2014), the Cultural Advisor (temporary assigned control) at CA Branch (2014), the Cultural Advisor (temporary assigned control) III Corps (2012), the Cultural Advisor at US Army War College (2010-2014), and the Cultural Advisor for the 2nd Brigade Combat Team/1st Armored Division (2007-2008) deployed with the brigade combat team in Iraq in 2008. He has also provided support for numerous Army, DOD, and Interagency elements.
Jill Carstens, Reporter
Jill Carstens grew up Denver and fell in love with the character and community feel of Salida, moving there in 2019. She enjoys being outside whenever possible skiing and mountain biking. She earned her degree in Journalism from Colorado State University. In other parts of her life she has been a teacher of young children and an artist. She has written for the community newspaper, The Denver North Star and is excited to dig deep into the news stories that Art Valley Voice covers.
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Joe Jordan, Guest Contributor
Joe Jordan is an active member of the Colorado Bar to which he was admitted in 1996. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. He retired from representing clients after 45 years of practice. For several decades, his practice focused on complex civil litigation in civil rights and constitutional law, election law, securities law, environmental law, land use and local government law, in state and federal courts, at the trial, appellate and Supreme Court levels. Then his practice shifted to intellectual property law representing high-tech clients. He lives in Salida.
Maddie Porter, Social Media Contributor
Maddie Porter handles Instagram and new social media for AVV.She was the recipient of the Truth Has a Voice summer internship for high schoolers at Ark valley Voice. Porter just graduated from Salida High School, where she wrote on the school paper, The Tenderfoot Times, and took accelerated English, AP Language, and Composition, maintaining a 4.23 weighted GPA. She now attends Western Washington University, and is considering majoring in journalism.
Allen Best, Reporter
Allen Best has been a journalist in Colorado for more than 40 years, although every single newspaper where he worked full-time no longer exists. He has also been published in any number of local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times. Since 2020, he has turned his full attention to the energy and water transitions underway in Colorado and beyond with publication of Big Pivots. His weekly postings can be found at BigPivots.com. Somewhat appropriate to that focus, he has literally set foot on 3 of Colorado’s 4 corners.
Contact him here.
Michelle Pujol, Advertising Manager and Social Media
Michelle Pujol is a first generational Cuban American who grew up on the east coast and overseas. Not surprisingly, Michelle got her M.B.A. in International Business and has worked in online marketing and operations for over 25 years. In that time she has worked for a plethora of companies of all sizes, from multinational companies to start-ups and mom and pop businesses. She currently works as the Marketing & Advertising Manager on web usability, social media optimization and advertising for the Ark Valley Voice.
When she’s not optimizing the online space for companies, Michelle keeps busy traveling with her husband and her two dogs and as a silversmith, designing jewelry for her growing jewelry design company.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Merrell Bergin, Copy Editor
Merrell Bergin has lived in Colorado for 54 years, including the last 20 in downtown Salida. A retired “road warrior”, he implemented software for major hospital systems as a consultant, technical writer and trainer.
Having “free time” at last, he enjoys reading and cooking, served four years as the Salida City Treasurer and is the Board President of Ark Valley Voice’ parent, the Truth Has a Voice Foundation.
Becky Osterwald, Copy Editor
Avery Martinez, Reporter
Brooke Gilmore, Reporter
Cielo Vida, Reporter
Elliot Jackson, Reporter
Hannah Harn, Reporter
Henry John DeKam, Reporter
Jenny Wright, Reporter
Taylor Sumners, Reporter
Zach Dunasta, Reporter