By Patrick Whitehurst

I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself as the new Art Director for our hometown newspaper and to thank everyone who keeps a special place in their heart for local journalism. As a former reporter, I learned firsthand the importance of community news and the role it plays in our daily lives. My best day in journalism came when I covered the landing of Air Force One at the Grand Canyon many years ago and how the local Tusayan community prepared for the presidential visit. My worst day came on a hot summer day in Sedona, when I was called to cover a jumper at Midgley Bridge. The site is a popular one for suicides and it was on that day I saw my first dead body, though I wasn’t expecting it as I had been informed the man’s body had already been removed from the scene. It hadn’t been. It’s not a pleasant memory, but one I can’t shake, even all these years later. My career covered nearly every beat: crime, schools, city council meetings, and even restaurant reviews. 

As a student at Northern Arizona University, I embraced the importance of unbiased journalism, free of political influence, and I still cling to those beliefs – as hard as that may be in today’s volatile, partisan world. 

In 2008, I began writing nonfiction books with “Williams,” an Images of America title that collected historic photographs from the Grand Canyon gateway town. I went on to write two additional books in the series, “Grand Canyon’s Tusayan Village” and California’s “The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History” where I had the pleasure to work in recent years. In 2019, The History Press released my fourth nonfiction book “Haunted Monterey County.” I’m currently in the editing stages for my newest title, “Murder and Mayhem in Tucson, Arizona,” due for release next year.  My fiction has appeared in Switchblade Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and in The Monterey Weekly – not to mention two novellas, “Monterey Noir” and “Monterey Pulp.”

Tucson has been my home for exactly one year and since first moving to the area, The Vail Voice has been a part of my monthly routine. I’m thrilled to be a part of The Vail Voice family and look forward to learning more about this wonderful corner of the world.

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