Meet new Herald-Leader community columnists

Frank Ashley
Frank Ashley

The Herald-Leader editorial board was fortunate to have 35 people apply to write columns over the next year. Those selected offer a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and writing interests that would add a lot to Kentucky.com, as well as the newspaper. We urge readers to give them feedback and post their work on social media.

Each will introduce themselves fully as they share their thoughts, but here are a few details:

Frank Ashley of Lexington is a former reporter with The Courier-Journal in Louisville and served as press secretary for Govs. John Y. Brown and Brereton Jones.

Shelley Roberts Bendall of Lexington works full time for the Urban County government and is a mother of two. She is an outdoor enthusiast who has been writing a personal blog for a few years.

Thomas W. Downey of Louisville retired from Kroger after 27 years in technology and auditing. A native of Carlisle, he is an Army veteran who has worked as a political legislative aide.

Toby Gibbs of Lexington is a TV news producer at WTVQ, a Winchester native and a University of Kentucky graduate. He manages News on the Cheap, a Facebook page that parodies local news.

Donna J. Guardino of Lexington has worked for 13 years in higher education, has a master’s degree in linguistics, is fluent in German and is learning Spanish. The Pittsburgh native volunteers at Radio Eye, recording broadcasts for the blind and disabled.

EJ Hurst II of Lexington is an attorney who practices in federal courts, concentrating on sentencing, appeals, post-conviction matters and the Freedom of Information Act.

Heather A. Johnson of Mount Sterling is a homemaker with three children and a stepson. She grew up in the Midwest and lived in several states before moving here in 2006 with her husband, Brian. She worked in public relations and is active in her church’s women’s ministry.

Kay Collier McLaughlin of Lake Carnico in Nicholas County is a leadership development consultant, a collage artist and Suzuki violin teacher with a doctorate in counseling psychology. A former music critic for the old Lexington Leader, she is working on her sixth book.

Brianna Ritchison of Richmond is planning to graduate from the University of Kentucky in 2020 with degrees in biology and linguistics and a minor in English. She is a lover of space, books and animals.

Edwin Woodruff Tait of Richmond is a freelance writer, homeschooling parent and former professor at Huntington University in Indiana. He earned a doctorate in religion at Duke University and is a contributing editor of Christian History magazine. He is also vice-chair of the Kentucky executive committee of the American Solidarity Party, inspired by Catholic social teaching.

The selection of these columnists does not curtail the paper’s interest in publishing the opinion of others. Keep columns under 650 words, send contact info and a face shot to hleditorial@herald-leader.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vanessa Gallman is Herald-Leader editorial page editor.