A tribute to a departing friend, plus a welcome to some new faces

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For those of you who have noticed the absence of our young photographer Billy Hardiman and the appearance of some new names among our contributors, we wanted to give you a brief update.

Billy graduated from high school in May and is now enrolled as a freshman at ASU. As a result of the demands of pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, his interest in photography will be taking a back seat for a while.

While Billy indicates he will continue to do some occasional freelance work for us, it’s certainly more important to him—and to us—that his energies be directed at succeeding in his chosen field.

We miss seeing Billy on his routine visits to our office, but we won’t soon forget all the enduring qualities he brought to us, and always will be glad that we were able to help him navigate his way to a promising future.

We first met Billy in 2013, when his mom was still transporting him in the family van. He had come to our office to volunteer to shoot photos for us, just to get some experience. Within just a matter of days, we became aware of the breadth of interest he had in learning and put him on salary, gave him the keys to our company car, managed to get him White House press credentials to photograph President Obama during the chief executive’s visit to Desert Vista High School, even set him up on a paid-vacation schedule—one of many deserved perks that, we all knew, must have been the envy of his teenage friends.

Now that Billy is off on a new adventure, we know he’ll be well positioned to concentrate on his career goals and able to save his passion for photography until it can supplement what many have told him will become an equally rewarding profession with substantially greater returns than what he might have expected behind the lens of a camera.

Should you wish to have copies of any of the photographs taken by Billy during the 2½ years he was on our payroll, feel free to email editor@wranglernews.com with your request. We have an extensive digital collection of those photos, and they are available at no charge other than a modest handling fee.

We also can provide information about the availability of Billy’s Wrangler News photos through a vendor for an additional charge with many more size and print options.

With Billy’s departure, we welcome a small roster of new staff contributors whose talents illustrate how we’ve been able to build what we hope is an earned reputation for providing quality community news.

Ana Ramirez holds a degree in photojournalism from ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She has been a photo-journalist at respected newspapers in both Texas and Arizona, with additional experience in the creation, implementation and management of social media strategies.

Alex Wagner, a longtime Warner Ranch resident, has experienced the Tempe/West Chandler community from his earliest days as a student at Mariposa Elementary and Pueblo Middle School and, ultimately, at Corona del Sol High School. He is a skilled news and feature photographer currently also pursuing a career in videography.

As Alex’s talent shows up in this and future issues, you’ll see evidence of a path that already appears to point in a promising direction.

Johnny Coronel, also a Corona alumnus and currently a sophomore at ASU with plans to pursue a law degree, joins us as a contributing writer with a particular focus on local government. His insight into matters politic, coupled with an analytical mind and the ability to look beyond the obvious, will give us and our readers a view that we hope will increase understanding and provoke discussion.

Kody Acevedo is currently enrolled in ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism, with specialization in sports reporting.

He served an internship at The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com, where he handled breaking news assignments and feature stories for both print and online venues.

Kody will be writing about a wide range of topics, not the least of which will be some in-depth sports reporting involving our area high schools.

Finally, a highly regarded local professional, Bruce Yeung, brings his talents to our readers via special-assignment photos that we know will become lasting favorites.

His experience, evident in a number of national magazines, ranges from sports to weddings to graduation and family portraits, as well as to photos for a wide range of other occasions.

To all of these energetic, committed and highly motivated contributors, we offer our sincere welcome, with the desire that their work will help you to better know and appreciate our Tempe/West Chandler community.

Finally, to our good friend Billy, we offer our appreciation for him providing his talent and enthusiasm, and of course for the abundant other contributions he made during his time with us. Carpe diem, Billy.

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