In this issue, we begin introducing you to our amazing group of writers here at the PRT, the people who regularly volunteer their time, effort, and talents to bring you this paper each month. 

This is no small task. Each month we meet to discuss possible story topics and split up assignments. Then each member of our team researches topics, conducts interviews, writes up drafts, fact checks material and patiently responds to my nitpicking edits and questions. 

When I came to the PRT, there was a small group of hard working, dedicated writers already involved with the paper. In the last four years, our group has grown exponentially and now there are an astonishing 16 regular contributors, including our newest columnist, Mary McKay, who has volunteered to write a local gardening column for us. Mary brings a wealth of experience and training in horticulture and I, for one, can use all the help I can get growing plants in this interesting climate we live in. 

Speaking of interesting climates, this month the PRT reports on some difficult issues facing our communities, including the increase in drug and human smuggling, the debt falling on our local governments due to mismanagement of pension plans at the state level, the audit at the Sonoita Elgin Fire District that has turned up some disturbing overpayments to the former Chief, and the resignation of the Patagonia Town Marshall. It is our responsibility to report on these and other issues with fact checked information, not innuendo. It is your responsibility to form your opinions based on facts, not Facebook posts. 

I am so proud of our writers who take this responsibility so seriously. Our columnists never fail, month after month, to provide us with commentary, insight into local history, the world around us and the stars above us, as well. 

I am in awe of these citizen journalists, and to them goes all the credit for this publication. If you see them around town, please take the time to thank them for all they are doing to keep you informed and to keep local, nonprofit journalism alive and thriving here in eastern Santa Cruz County.