(listed alphabetically – use the dropdown menu to view by department, or use the search box)
I am Kittitas County born and raised – living in Ellensburg for most of my life. While growing up, I enjoyed “small town life” being involved in 4-H, Girls Scouts, and numerous church activities. I didn’t technically live on a farm, but I raised and showed rabbits, pigs and sheep for a number of years. I also loved drawing and arts & crafts. It was at an early age that I knew I either wanted to work with animals or become an artist. I graduated from Ellensburg High School and received a degree in Graphic Design from Central Washington University. I completed my graphic design internship at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater (it’s the famous house that sits over a waterfall) in Pennsylvania. After working in Pennsylvania for about a year and a half, I returned to Ellensburg to be near my family. I also spent three months in Japan doing some graphic design work for some American missionaries. In September of 2002, I began working as a graphic artist at the NKC Tribune. It was a good fit as I could still be near family and friends, stay in a small town, and work at a place that incorporates “creativity and art” into just about everything we do. I am part of a graphics team that designs ads and builds pages for the newspaper, but we can also design and print business cards, flyers, posters, brochures, carbonless forms, magnetics, banners and more!
The art bug bit me very early in life. Teachers and parents must have seen some promise in those fingerpaint and crayon scrawlings, as they encouraged me to pursue more art classes. Maybe it was the extensive doodling on my Pee-Chees and even in the margins of my math and chemistry homework assignments that tipped them off to my passion for graphic design. But I was equally interested in studying animal science and geology. A WSU bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with a geology class for one of my science electives later, I launched my first career as an animal caretaker as a veterinary assistant, zookeeper, and eventually handler of some of the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales as they “vacationed” at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Fast forward to a boss there who also noticed me doodling on everything from log book entries, to marker board memos to decorations for the barn (or “hamlet” as it is known). Don Castagnasso, who had semi-retired from driving the East Coast Hitch, practically cracked the whip for me to go back to college, this time in Graphic Arts, through the employee improvement program which let me work and go to school. And thus began my second career, with a diploma from the Florida Metropolitan University in hand, and a brand new opportunity at a weekly newspaper close to my family back in Washington. I moved to Cle Elum in August of 1999 and have been building ads, laying out Tribune pages and designing print work like business cards, posters and brochures ever since.
Over the years, as my experience has grown, my responsibilities have expanded to include co-publishing the Tribune with Jana Stoner, as well as building and maintaining our website and web services.
My favorite part of my job still goes back to those early roots, although now computer graphics programs like Photoshop, Quark Xpress and Adobe Illustrator have replaced my crayons and fingerpaints. I truly enjoy my work doing something that I have always loved, and am grateful to everyone who brings in projects for me to put my creative best work into making them, and their organization, look THEIR very best. If you’re wondering how best to market your product or service, come talk it over with me and see what we can come up with together.
Frankly, I’m old school 3rd generation Upper Kittitas County (UKC) and my son is now the 4th. My grandfather “papa” started working in the Roslyn coal mines in 1909; 30 years later Frank Badda (for whom I am named after) became Superintendent of the mines until they closed in the early 60’s.
I was fortunate to be raised by two wonderful parents. Roslyn classics in their own right, dad was a sports star, mom was a cheerleader. You could find mom playing the accordion or piano at the Teanaway Grange, or find them both up at the lake coordinating our ginormous family reunions. Hiking, fishing, camping was how I spent my youth… throw in some dirt bikes or playing baseball and that’s how I grew up between UKC and “the West Side” (Seattle).
I was the youngest Eagle Scout in the state of Washington; I was only 12 and had to wait until I turned 13 to receive the award. Passionate about anything outdoors I became an activist in the late 60’s becoming a member of REI, the Cousteau Society, even Greenpeace. My early dream career was going to be Forestry. But alas, things change, in college I found myself enrolled in pre-med dental classes…
One day a co-worker asked if I could help her out at a restaurant washing dishes, and well, as you guessed it, the rest was history. Within a year I was the Chef. Then came the many leadership and management seminars to lay foundations for a professional career. I spent the next 35 years as an executive chef at specialty niche restaurants, hotels and resorts.
I became virtually obsessive about learning classic French, Italian, Latin, Mediterranean and regional American cuisines. I later went on to building and designing commercial kitchens and restaurants.
I’ve entertained everyone from heads of state, governors and senators, to foreign delegations to the United States.
I’ve partnered with ESPN, CNN, MTV, the X-Games, Sony, Swatch, Trans World Snow, Rolling Stone, Pepsi, Nabisco, Nestle, Campbell’s and others, like Burton, K2, Gnu, Marker, Lib Tech, Foursquare, Forum, Rusty, Roxy, Quicksilver, Vans, Marker, Billabong, and many more. What a ride!
Along the road, I started working at a historic family butcher shop in North Seattle and later became a USDA federal meat cutter and then Plant Manager. Imagine a chef in that position, I was like a “kid in a candy store” learning where everything came from in the world.
I became a committed “foodie”. I wasn’t just satisfied with cooking “regular food” I developed a passion for learning about food. From intricate culinary methods to organic garden growing there was no stopping me!
Bursting at the seams with way too much information, I began “teaching not talking” about food issues.
Currently, as a member of Slow Food USA, the USDA’s “Chef to Schools” program, the Public Health Department’s “Food Access Coalition”, and serving on many other community-based boards, I’ve maintained being a food activist. I am available for speaking engagements and teach wonderful workshops on culinary topics and organic gardens.
The focus of my weekly column “Frankly Speaking” is not only about food, but also unique and interesting events & activities in Upper County, particularly ones relating to public service and education. If you have an idea for a topic in my column, contact me at the email address in the gray box above or through the Tribune contact page today!
I am the second generation of my family to be the publisher of the Northern Kittitas County Tribune. A truly family-owned, independent newspaper, my parents, Jack and Jerri Stoner, took over the Tribune from Walt, Marylou and Steve Larsen in 1998, continuing the tradition of family members rolling up their sleeves and putting out the paper. At that time, I followed Jack and Jerri from Gettysburg, South Dakota where our family had sold the three community weeklies we had owned there for over 20 years. I worked in the Graphic Design department, where I still contribute as one of the many hats of a small community newspaper publisher. However, as my responsibilities have grown over the years, with a more active role in managing the day to day operations of the newspaper and office supply businesses, I have come to rely on the help of others in the department more and more. Especially in 2012 with my duties as president of the state association for community newspapers (the WNPA – Washington Newspaper Publishers Association).
My passion is photography. Having literally grown up in the news office, I got a taste of professional photography very early on, as many of my photos were published in the family’s newspapers. I attended photography school in Minneapolis, and even had my own studio business for awhile. I still enjoy the opportunity to take pictures for use in the paper and specialty publications occasionally, and providing photographic guidance to our news staff. Looking through the photos and picking just the right one for a spot – whether it be the front page feature photo for the week or narrowing down the possibilities for a particular story or photo essay are some of my favorite tasks each week and help keep my photographer’s “eye” sharp.
My family’s businesses serve the surrounding communities in many ways. We have partnerships with local organizations for everything from printing their newsletters in our paper for a shared cost, matching ad dollars sponsorship program partnerships and a free community calendar in both print and online to promotional opportunities for commercial businesses in the printed newspaper, custom print jobs and more. We stock office supplies locally to save area residents having to drive or pay to ship in many necessities like printer ink cartidges, and foremost, we keep the community informed, entertained, and preserve memories for current and future generations. If any of these services match your needs, come in or call and let’s talk. If one of our capable staff members has more knowledge on your topic, I can point you in the right direction to get the best service. We appreciate the support of this community, and look forward to returning the favor by working with you soon.