Roundup Welcomes New Editorial Board

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It has officially been a year since the Payson Roundup changed its approach to editorials and formed its first editorial board.

And in that year, we have formed tight bonds with several members of the community who took the time to volunteer.

Editorial board members serve four-month terms. Those four months follow an interesting arc that would probably make for some good reality television.

Strangers are put into a room and asked to comment on some of the most personal, emotional and political topics that our community faces.

For that first month, the conversations are a bit tentative. When we choose our board members, we look for diversity in background and opinion and it takes a while for people on opposite sides of a political fence to find common ground.

Somehow, we always find that place. Though the debates can often be heated, there has never been yelling and never, ever has anyone stormed out of the room or refused to come back.

Instead, the conversations are fascinating, as people reveal how their personal experiences shaped their opinions.

As we get to know each other in these weekly meeting of the minds, we bond, and by the second or third month, the conversation flows freely.

Without fail, the last editorial board meeting of the four-month term is an emotional one. We linger around the table long after the editorials are done and enjoy one last conversation.

While the obvious benefit of the editorial board has been the betterment of our opinion page, there has also been the unexpected benefit of the friendships that are formed during our once-a-week meetings.

This week, we welcome a new board.

For the next four months, Jay Vagalatos, Dave Engleman and Cara Summerfield will be the community voices behind our editorials.

Jay Vagalatos moved to Payson in September 2005. He is the owner of Crossline Systems of Northern Arizona -- a business technology consulting and services company. He is currently on the board of the Rotary Club of Payson and is the vice-chairman of the Town of Star Valley Architectural Design Review Board.

Dave Engleman is a frequent contributor to our letters to the editor section. He is currently the secretary-treasurer of the Payson Citizens Awareness Committee in Payson, a longtime member of the Payson Packers hiking club, contributed to the success of the Paws in the Park's off-leash dog park and is a volunteer with the Rim Country Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Arizona.

Cara Summerfield is a former employee of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she is the owner of Creative Communications -- a Web site service provider.

We look forward to the next four months, as we get to know these community members and include their perspective in these pages.

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