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Difficult transitions

Our staff went through some unusual and difficult transitions in 2006. We said goodbye to several key people who went on to other professional opportunities and, in some cases, other communities. Change is hard. But it’s also energizing. The creativity and commitment of new staff members we’ve brought on board has been infectious and exciting. Watching long-time staffers blossom in new roles and responsibilities has been rewarding and fun.

It’s a new year, a fresh start and a good time for some formal introductions. I want you to know a bit about the members of our diverse and extraordinary family.

We represent every stage of parenting—from early childhood expert and Wondrous Years columnist Susan Cedar, whose brood ranges in age from 6 to 31, to Baby Talk columnist Brittney Walker, who is pregnant with her third child. We even have a few who are parenting vicariously as loving “aunties” to the children of their friends.

Our youngest member graduated from college last spring. Our oldest…won’t say. We come from states all over the country: New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, California, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, South Carolina, Montana and more.

We love to eat. Our favorite foods are ethnic (Chinese, Indian, Italian, Greek, Mexican, French), seafood, “a good steak,” “grazing foods” (nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cheese), mangos and—the overwhelming favorite—chocolate, which we try hard to keep well supplied in our office during deadlines. Our pregnant one likes her chocolate in the form of “hot chocolate pudding topped with Dreyers Slow Churn vanilla ice cream.” Wow.

We’re a fairly athletic bunch. We have several staffers who are devoted to yoga. We have swimmers, skiers, hikers, bikers, bowlers, kick-boxers, power walkers and walk-the-doggers. Our solitary spare-time activities include reading (I guess that’s not surprising), gardening, learning Spanish, sewing, scrapbooking, shopping, home decorating, watching the news and listening to NPR. With our families, we like to eat dinner together, play board games, go to the park, watch movies, go fishing, go to the beach, travel, celebrate special occasions and simply “hang out at home.” That’s a big one.

On the pet owners scale we vary widely. Account Executive Lisa Berman’s allergy-plagued family can’t have pets. It’s Elementary columnist Debra Rich Gettleman fears “I’d probably have a nervous breakdown if I had one more creature to care for.” Frequent contributor Lynn Trimble’s family has frogs, among other creatures! Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist’s home is full of happily chirping lovebirds. Lots of us have cats and dogs. Teens columnist Vicki Louk Balint has a new, hearing-impaired puppy, which she realizes “may be a challenge!”

That’s just a sampling of what you can learn “About Us.” I hope you’ll visit our website to get to know the members of our group a bit better. I thought I knew them pretty well but even I was surprised—and often amused—by the information they shared.

So this month you get to meet us. Soon, we’ll know more about you. As our January issue went to print, we were eagerly awaiting the report tallying the results of our 2006 reader survey. Earl DeBerge and the crew at Behavior Research Center helped us design our survey and collected your responses throughout the fall. We can’t wait to see and share the picture that emerges.

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Our January issue is kind of lonely. For the first time in seven years, it went into the mail all by itself. Until this year, we’ve always packaged the January issue with our annual Education Book. This year, because of the sheer size of our expanded book, we were forced by weight restrictions in our postal classification to mail the two publications separately. Education Book 2007 went in the mail in mid-December and will hit newsstands for single-copy purchase this month. The book, which is a great resource for anyone who has a child in grades K-12, is also available for sale at raisingarizonakids.com. It makes a great gift for families who are new to the Valley.

We have a lot on tap for this new year—from our fourth annual Camp Fair (March 3 & 4) to new, fitness-focused content (beginning with next month’s first-ever directory of athletic training facilities that work with kids) and continuing improvement in our website content. As we head into our 18th year of publication, I am immensely proud of the dedication and “above and beyond” contributions of longtime staff members, excited about innovations suggested by newer staff members and simply grateful for the privilege of watching our story continue to unfold.

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Behind the Zinehttp://www.raisingarizonakids.com
"Behind the 'Zine" is a look behind the scenes at the people, stories and personal journeys RAK Publisher Karen Davis Barr has experienced in 26 years of magazine publishing.

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