Thank you, readers

The Journal’s annual “Thank You” issue, featured in this edition (see page 10), is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past year as 2007 draws to a close and acknowledge all of the wonderful contributions so many have made to this newspaper.

First, I’d like express my gratitude for all of our loyal readers. I know many of you have a close connection with the Southwest Journal, and for those of us who work here, that means a lot and we strive to do our very best to live up to your expectations and to the reputation the Journal has earned over the years for outstanding community journalism.

I would also like to thank Journal publishers Janis Hall and Terry Gahan for creating this forum and giving me the opportunity to serve as editor; our sales staff that work hard to keep the Journal a thriving publication; our stellar creative team led by Lynnae Schrader and page designer Dana Croatt; copy editor Sid Korpi, photography editor Robb Long, and of course, our dedicated team of reporters, including assistant editor Jake Weyer, Dylan Thomas, Michelle Bruch, Mary O’Regan and Brady Gervais, who recently joined the Journal staff.

We’ve also been fortunate to have several stellar interns this year who have contributed stories to both our print and online editions.

In addition to our core news team, the Journal is blessed to have several outstanding freelancers and columnists, and their voices add so much to this publication. I am very grateful for their work. Several new columnists joined the Journal this year, including Jim Walsh, whose words always strike a chord with me and so many other readers; Terre Thomas, owner of Kingfield’s Fairy Godmother gift shop who in so many ways personifies the best of Southwest; Meleah Maynard, a gardening expert who lives in Linden Hills; and Bryan Anderson, an architect and Stevens Square resident who offers a fresh perspective on neighborhood

I also want to thank our contributing poetry editor Doug Wilhide, who is the visionary behind the new Southwest Poetry Project, which debuted last spring. The winter edition is featured in this issue’s Focus section. In November, several poets gathered to read and celebrate poetry at our first-ever Southwest Journal poetry slam at Java Jack’s. Stay tuned for information about other poetry slams in 2008.

Our new illustrator Robb Burnham, who works under the name WACSO, also deserves a note of appreciation. Robb started the “Neighborhood Sketchbook” illustration series earlier this year — drawings that capture slices of city life. His work is exceptional and a wonderful addition to the newspaper.