The PRT welcomes three new members to our Board of Directors. Chip Fears, Bekki Jaynes and Jennifer Riehl bring a wealth of experience that will be invaluable in the continued efforts of the PRT to grow as a viable local nonprofit news organization. 

Chip Fears. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Chip Fears moved to Sonoita in 2013 after living in New York City for 28 years. A graduate of NAU with a degree in geology, he worked in the oil, mining, and gas industry for five years before earning an MBA from the University of New Mexico. He then spent 25 years working in commercial banking, followed by eight years as the business manager of an Episcopal church in New York. During this time he also earned a master’s degree in history from Brooklyn College.

Chip has volunteered as a docent at the Tucson Museum of Art, and is a docent at the Empire Ranch in Sonoita. He also serves on the Board of the Santa Cruz Foundation for the Performing Arts, is a woodworker, enjoys cooking and confesses that his rescue dog, Sochi, “knows how to manipulate” him. 

Chip was drawn to the PRT because he recognizes the value of a local newspaper to the community. “The fact that we have a local small-town newspaper is outstanding,” he said. “It’s one thing that makes this community special. It’s pretty impressive.”

Bekki Jaynes. Photo by Marion Vendituoli

Bekki Jaynes moved to Patagonia with her husband, Rick, in 2104, and bought the Duquesne House Inn in 2015, which they ran as a bed and breakfast for 4½ years until the pandemic hit. “It was very heartbreaking deciding to shut,” she said. They are now in the process of developing a health and fitness facility using space at the Duquesne House. When asked why she decided to join the PRT board, Bekki said that she had been looking for a way to connect with the community when she was invited to join the board. “It’s one of those things you just put out into the universe, and it arrives in your lap,” she said. “I’m excited to see what board opportunities open up for me.”

Jennifer Riehl. Photo by Eric Riehl

Jennifer Riehl and her husband, Eric, moved to Sonoita in 2014 from Tucson, “looking for a little elbow room,” she said. After retiring from her job with the Vail school district in 2018, she then worked at the Sonoita library until last year. “I miss it a little bit,” she said.

Jennifer is a member of the Crossroads Quilters Guild, and active at Sonoita Hills Community Church. She decided to join the PRT Board because of her enthusiasm for the paper. “I love that it brings people together,” she said. “It brings attention to new businesses and events that we would otherwise not have been aware of. It’s such a huge part of the community.”