Successful newspapers share the same basic elements. Unbiased reporting, an honest sales force, creative graphic design, effective marketing, and a strikingly handsome editor. Since Lesley Aaron landed on the masthead, the Weekly Newspapers has it all except for a handsome editor.
Lesley Aaron breezed into the Keys aboard a sailboat more than 3 years ago, and found a home with the Weekly Newspapers earlier this month. When she is not developing advertising campaigns for local businesses she puts her talent as a musician to use as a member of Island Harmony, Marathon Chorale, the Paradise Praise Team at the United Methodist Church. She is also an active member of the Marathon Community Theater as an actress, director, and singer.
Weekly Newspapers staff writer Blair Shiver has had a hard time finding any fellow Bulldogs down here in Gator Country. This Georgia native moved to Marathon a year and a half ago from New York City and is celebrating her one-year anniversary with the paper and specializes in reporting and covering human-interest stories throughout the Keys.
She recently became a Guardian Ad Litem volunteer and will represent the best interests of children in legal matters..”
Delivering powerful prose for the paper is feature writer Drew Dinan who considers himself a “behind the scenes” weekly contributor who also knocks out a Pulitzer-worthy feature from time to time. Dinan spends his time fishing, enjoying happy hour at Sparky’s Landing, trying to keep his dog from biting him, and writing for his blog- www.FromtheYak.com, and website www.TryCharterFishing.com. Drew is a graduate of the University of Akron, where he obtained a degree in Mass Media Communications simply because, “he sucks at math.”
He is also the loving husband of the beautiful Jennifer Dinan.*
Jason Long not pictured
Captaining the weekly fishing report is homegrown hero and local fishing legend Jason Long, who arrived in this world at Fishermen’s Hospital under “unusual circumstances.” Long has a degree in Political Science from FSU, but decided he would rather soil his hands dirty with chum and fish guts rather than politics.
In January, 1977, the headline in the St. Pete Times read: Jason has a baby sister!
Like her brother, Josie was born in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of St. Pete, and is about as salty as they come. She brings hard, broadcast news experience to the table and has the awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association for Feature Reporting to prove it!
When not covering local news, Josie is usually in the kitchen whipping up a batch of cupcakes, volunteering, or hanging out with her baby nephew!
She arrived in the Keys earlier this year to help manage the southernmost publication for the family business, but often claims she is here to meet a nice fellow and raise some Conchs.
“Let’s just say that she was a handful when we were kids,” said her brother. “But that same spark is exactly what the Key West Weekly needed. Kate and I could not ask for a better partner.”
Diana not pictured
Diana Striker has been carefully refining the Weekly page layouts nearly two years. A University of Florida graduate, she is a consummate professional who understands the printing business but is not afraid to have some fun at Josie or Travis’s expense.
“Diana may be the best one of the lot,” Jason Koler says, quoting himself. “Deadlines are especially stressful days, but thanks to Diana, I am off most of my medications
Nicole not pictured
Nicole A. Me Zima is Kate’s right hand at Weekly headquarters and joined the team shortly after the Koler’s took control of the operation. She has seen it all. From hurricane deadlines and Christmas parties to the birth of her surrogate son, Josh.
Besides selling ads and serving as the Weekly’s ambassador to community events, she is also a member of Zonta and the Marathon Jaycees. She lives with her dead Tarantula named Spike.
Travis not pictured
Travis Cready…bold, bearded and beautiful. Born with a full growth of facial hair, Cready was also blessed with a keen eye for creation and a set of nimble fingers to tickle the keyboard.
Weekly Newspapers founding partner John Bartus has had many careers: writer, publisher, graphic artist, broadcaster, record producer, voiceover talent, retailer, singer, songwriter, musician, entertainer, even prop man for a circus. He and his wife Marlene own the Tropical Island Outlet gift and cigar shop. Perhaps Bartus is best known for playing over 200 shows each year, as well as being elected to Marathon’s first City Council.
“John Bartus is a hero who once saved my GT Avalanche Mountain Bike,” Koler says. “And even though it was reduced a pile of rust after Hurricane Wilma, words cannot express my gratitude.”
His award-winning “Keys Disease” column can be found each week in these pages and the Koler’s next child may be named, John Bartus Koler, but probably not.
Vickie not pictured
If not for Weekly Copy Editor Vickie Lomonaco, Jason would be flooded with emails calling for his resignation. She is the last line of defense when it comes to editing and juggles columnists, Blair, Jason, and Josie with patience and kindness. She lives in Marathon with her husband, Seth and their daughter who is a sophomore at Marathon High School.
* Editor’s Note: Happy Birthday to our friend, Jen!