By Lucretia Free

Dear Readers,

We are all experiencing  ongoing change in the world at large and are learning how to make adjustments as our world evolves around us. The Vail Voice is not immune to these changes. Rick Keen, our Art Director for over 5 years decided to lay down his mouse and move on. Rick’s contributions to the paper were invaluable. He brought us into a new era of professionalism with a focus on a consistent, uncluttered, and easy to read layout. He tirelessly worked long hours and endured my last-minute changes as we approached deadline. Thank you Rick, for elevating the paper’s design during your tenure. Special thanks to your lovely wife, xxxx, for her support of your work for all these years.

With any change comes the opportunity for fresh perspective…and at The Vail Voice, we’ve got it! As Rick moves on, we welcome new Art Director Patrick Whitehouse. Patrick is a local resident who lives in Civano and has extensive experience in the newspaper industry. Patrick is also an accomplished  author and is just completing his second book Murder and Mayhem in Tucson, Arizona scheduled for publication in 2021. You will learn more about Patrick next month.

My middle child Jared has moved on from editor of the paper. He was scheduled to begin classes at Columbia University in New York for his Master’s in Fine Arts (Film School) in the fall but decided to instead defer for one year. Jared is headed to his beloved Korea for the next year and will teach kids at a local school.

My sister Shirley Mays will be stepping in as editor. Shirley is my older sister and has been someone I have looked up to and admired my entire life. I can’t tell you what pleasure it gives me to finally be her boss after all these years!! (Shout out to all you “youngest” siblings out there who know what I mean!).

Seriously though, Shirley’s insight and wisdom will be a welcome addition as the paper takes its next steps forward. She is a graduate of Harvard University Law School and has spent most of her professional life in academia, first as a law professor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio and most recently as Professor of Law and Dean Emeritus of Arizona Summit Law School in Phoenix. Turn to page xx and read our new Alternative Perceptions column to hear more from Shirley. Welcome sista!!

Finally, as the paper moves toward its 21st year, know you can continue to count on me to be a tireless advocate for our community, supporting our local businesses, schools and providing a safe place on these pages for residents to share their perspectives. That’s why the paper is called The Vail Voice. Readers, you have shown that you know how to disagree without being disagreeable. Thank you  for your  ongoing support. I want to hear your suggestions on how the paper can continue to improve. Send your emails directly to me at

At a time when newspapers are closing all across the country, The Vail Voice thrives. It is your ongoing support that has made this paper successful.  I am grateful!!

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Lucretia Free