Birthdays for Sunday, July 5

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three wonderful journalists…

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Johannes Bertus de Villiers is an editor for Rapport — the big Sunday national Afrikaans-language newspaper in South Africa — and based in Johannesburg.

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He’s also the author of two books: Agter die Somber Gordyn (Behind the Sombre Curtain) — an Afrikaans-language history of about spiritism in South Africa, which was published in 2011, and die Einde van die Wêreld en Hoe om dit te Oorleef (the End of the World and How to Survive), which was published in 2012. Find his blog here. He also teaches yoga. A graduate of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, Johannes turns 39 today.

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David Lafata is a designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 2012 graduate of Central Michigan University, David has been with the studio for three years. I wrote about him back in March. Find his portfolio here.

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Paul Rowe is a senior designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Des Moines, Iowa. A 1980 graduate of Drake University in Des Moines, Paul spent two years as a sports publicist for Grand View College — also in Des Moines — before joining the Des Moines Register’s sports department. After 17 years in sports, Paul moved through the business, metro and national copy desks and finally to the design studio. He turns 57 today.

David, Johannes and Paul share a birthday with actors Kathryn Elsbeth Erbe, Eva Gaëlle Green and Warren Mercer Oates; musicians Jaime Royal “Robbie” Robertson, David Wesley “Dave” Haywood (of Lady Antebellum) and Hugh Anthony Cregg III (better known as Huey Lewis); sports greats Richard Michael “Goose” Gossage (baseball), Megan Anna Rapinoe (women’s soccer), Amélie Simone Mauresmo (tennis), James David Lofton (football) and John Harvey McKay (football coach); French leader Georges Jean Raymond Pompidou; painter Charles Thomas “Chuck” Close; reality TV personality Paul DelVecchio (better known as Pauly D); TV judge Joseph “Joe” Brown; politician William Todd Akin; showmaster Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum and cartoonist William Boyd “Bill” Watterson II.

In addition, today is Bikini Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Saturday, July 4

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to five talented visual journalists…

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Adrian Bohannon is a designer for the Virginian-Pilot. He’s a 2004 graduate of Mississippi State University. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.

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Steve Breen is editorial cartoonist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. A 1994 graduate of UC Riverside, Steve spent nearly five years as cartoonist for the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey before moving back to the west coast in 2001. He’s won two Pulitzer prizes: In 1998 and 2009. Find galleries of his work here and here. Find his Twitter feed here. Steve turns 45 today.

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Jennifer Jiggetts is a journalist and former Peace Corps volunteer now living in Raleigh, N.C. A 2007 graduate of Virginia’s Norfolk State University, Jennifer served an internship at the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, and then worked there part-time before moving to the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Md., in 2008. She returned to the Pilot in 2010 as a general assignment and cops reporter. She served two years with the Peace Corps starting in 2012. Find her life in Lesotho blog here, her writing clips here and her Twitter feed here.

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Travis Ricks is creative adviser for the State News at Michigan State University in Lansing. A 2007 graduate of that same institution, Travis was named SND Student Designer of the year. He served an extended internship at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel until the Sarasota Herald-Tribune hired him. Then — four months to the day on which he started — the Herald-Tribune laid him off. In 2008, Travis went to work for Miles Media in Sarasota, Fla., a marketing publisher of print and web products to promote tourism. He moved back to Michigan in 2012. Find his Twitter feed here. Travis turns 33 today.

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Pegie Stark is a communications design consultant based in St. Petersburg, Fla. A 1974 graduate of the John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Pegie has served as graphics editor of the Detroit News, graphics director of the Detroit Free Press, art director for the St. Petersburg Times and art and design director for the Ottawa Citizen. She spent four years as director of the Poynter Institute’s graphics and design programs and is still an affiliate faculty member there. She co-directed three Poynter EyeTrack research projects, wrote a book (Color, Contrast and Dimension in News Design, published in 1991 by Poynter) and has redesigned a number of papers around the world. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Pegie turns 66 today.

Travis, Jennifer, Adrian, Steve and Pegie share a birthday with actors Lugina “Gina” Lollobrigida, Eva Marie Saint and Rebecca Sara “Becki” Newton; musicians John Dempsey (better known as Jack Frost), Michael Sweet (of Boston and Stryper), William Harrison “Bill” Withers Jr. and Mitchell William “Mitch” Miller; reality TV star Michael “the Situation” Sorrentino; playwright Marvin Neil Simon; dancer-turned-politician George Lloyd Murphy; sports greats Harvey and Horace Grant (both basketball), Floyd Douglas Little, Emerson Boozer (both football), Charles William “Chuck” Tanner (baseball manager), Allen “Al” Davis (football owner), George Michael Steinbrenner III (baseball owner), and ESPN’s Jason “Jay” Crawford; presidential daughter Malia Ann Obama; President John Calvin Coolidge; rich jailbird Leona Mindy Roberts Rosenthal Helmsley; novelist Nathaniel Hathorne (better known as Nathaniel Hawthorne); TV host Gerald Michael Riviera (better known as Geraldo Rivera); twin newspaper columnists Esther Pauline “Eppie” Friedman and Pauline Esther Friedman (better known as Ann Landers and Dear Abby, respectively) and cartoonist Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg.

In addition to Independence Day, today is Boom Box Parade Day, Hop a Park Day, International Day of Cooperatives and International Cherry Pit Spitting Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday, y’all! Best wishes!

Virginian-Pilot’s Robert Suhay nearing the end of another world-record solo sailing trip

As the A1 designer for the Virginian-Pilot, Robert Suhay is the guy who designs many of the Pilot front pages we gush over at the Newseum.

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But Robert is special in a lot of other ways, too. Last summer, he set a new world record for sailing solo on a dinghy when he trekked 326 miles up and down the Chesapeake Bay. In the face of an approaching tropical storm, no less.

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This week, Robert set out to not only shatter his own record, but to do it in spectacular fashion. And he’s been wildly successful. First, he gathered up sponsors who supplied the dinghy — he dubbed it the Insomnia — custom-made sails, GPS equipment and other special gear.

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Photos from Robert Suhay’s web site.

Tuesday, he set out from Beaufort, N.C…

…sailed solo around the treacherous Cape Hatteras, along North Carolina’s Outer Banks — you know, where a rash of shark attacks have happened this summer — through Hampton Roads, and up the Chesapeake Bay.

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Robert surpassed his record around 6:30 EDT this morning, his wife, Lisa, reports via Twitter:

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His plan is to land near Annapolis, Maryland, later today.

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this, it appears Robert may be done. Tracking data shows him ashore at Adams Island, Maryland. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not he broke his own record.

Read more on Robert’s web site.

Follow his actual tracking data here.

Lisa hired a boat to take her out to see Robert as he passed through his home waters of Hampton Roads Thursday night.

Read her piece here in the Virginian-Pilot.

Robert’s friends have been showing their support via Twitter by posting selfies with his sail number written on their hands. Here’s mine:

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Post yours with the hashtag #SailSelfie.

Find Robert’s Twitter feed here, but keep in mind: He’s a little too busy right not to tweet. If you want to track the end of his journey today, you might follow Lisa instead.

Go here to read more about Robert’s record-setting event last summer.

Birthdays for Friday, July 3

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to three brilliant visual journalists…

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Bruce Austin is a content architect for Mood Media, a digital signage company in Fort Mill, S.C. A 1989 graduate of UNC Charlotte, Bruce spent seven years as an advertising designer for the Rock Hill, S.C., Herald before becoming ad design team leader at the Charlotte Observer in 1997. He left the Observer in 2008 to become marketing manager for Springs Creative Products Group in Rock Hill, S.C. He moved to Mood in 2012. Find his personal web site here. Bruce turns 49 today.

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Chris Courtney is lead mentor for design for Bloc Inc., an online programming and user interface design instructor. A 1998 graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, Chris worked as a sports designer for the Tulsa World, the Indianapolis Star and the Chicago Tribune before becoming design director of RedEye in 2002. In 2008, he was named a senior designer at Tribune Interactive. He was promoted to mobile product manager in 2009. Chris spent much of 2010 successfully battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Read more about that here, here, here and here. Last year, he moved back into the newsroom, working less with apps and more with quick build sites and responsive web design. Chris left the Tribune last winter. Find DesignHawg — his personal web site and blog — here and his Twitter feed here. Chris turns 41 today.

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Ernie Webb is a media specialist for the alumni association of Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. A 1999 graduate of that same institution, Ernie worked as a sportswriter and sports editor for the Independence (Kan.) Daily Reporter, the Emporia (Kan.) Gazette and the Monitor of McAllen, Texas, before signing on as the lead sports designer for the Topeka Capital-Journal in 2003. He moved to the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., in 2007 but then moved to the Tulsa (Okla.) World in 2009. He spent a year as a coordinator for regulatory affairs for Hill’s Pet Nutrition company and started work at his alma mater in 2011. Find his print portfolio here and his Twitter feed here. Ernie turns 39 today.

Ernie, Chris and Bruce share a birthday with actors Thomas Cruise Mapother IV (better known as Tom Cruise), Patrick Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Connie Inge-Liese Nielsen, Lisa Olivia Munn, Karin Jan Smithers, Kurtwood Larson Smith and Lawrence Weiss Larry Harmon (the creator of Bozo); musicians Laura Ann Branigan, John Lee “Johnny” Lee and George Michael Cohan; TV hosts Kenneth Oberding (better known as Ken Ober), Sandra Lee Christiansen and Montel Brian Anthony Williams; radio host Carlos Alan Autry; director Henry Kenneth Alfred “Ken” Russell; sports greats Sebastian Vettel (auto racing), Juan Luis Rivera and Moisés Rojas Alou (both baseball); cancer victim Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards; playwright Tomáš Straüssler (better known as Tom Stoppard); novelist Franz Kafka; astronaut Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt; humor writer David “Dave” Barry and Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange.

In addition, today is International Chicken Wing Day, International Plastic Bag Free Day, Stay Out of the Sun Day and Superman Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, you three! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Thursday, July 2

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to eight gifted visual journalists…

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Matt Bambach is a grad student at the University of Maryland. A 2011 graduate of Michigan State University, Matt specialized in 3D animation. He interned at Bryan Christie Design and the Seattle Times and joined the Toronto Globe and Mail upon graduation. He left last summer to go back to school. He’s currently interning as a studio intern at Baltimore’s Globe Collection and Press. Find his web site here and his Flickr gallery here.

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Keith Claxton is a former designer and an editorial content manager for business, money and real estate pages of the Chicago Tribune. A 2001 graduate of the University of Missouri, Keith spent a year there in 2007 teaching infographics. He’s currently working on a master’s degree in information services at DePaul University. He’s also taught at DePaul as an adjunct. Find his Twitter feed here. Keith turns 36 today.

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Darlene Horn is the San Diego editor for Zagat. She’s also a longtime food blogger who created and runs the web site My Burning Kitchen. A 1995 graduate of San Diego State University, Darlene spent nearly eight years as an editorial design assistant for the San Diego Union-Tribune. In 2005, she moved to the Los Angeles Daily News as a business section desk editor and designer. She moved again in 2006 to the Orange County Business Journal and leaped to the San Diego Business Journal a year later. The SDBJ laid off a number of staffers in 2013, including Darlene. Later that year, she launched Zagat’s San Diego web site. Zagat is owned by Google. Darlene is married to former Union-Tribune graphics wiz Paul Horn, who now freelances and produces a web comic.

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In 2012, they collaborated on a collection of Darlene’s writing and Paul’s cartoons called the Girl with the Donut Tattoo. Find that book for sale here. Find Darlene’s Twitter feed here.

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Martin Huisman is art director for Het Nieuwsblad in Antwerp, Belgium. A 1981 graduate of the design academy at Eindhoven, Martin spent eight years as assistant art director for Geïllustreerde of Amsterdam and four years as the same for a weekly magazine called Nieuwe Panorama before being promoted to art director in 1993. He was named art director of Mediaxis in 1998, art director of Ché — a monthly magazine — in 2000 and then art director of de Morgen in 2001. He moved to his current position in 2010.

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Justin McGuire is major league baseball editor for the Sporting News in Charlotte, N.C. A 1990 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Justin spent two years as a reporter for the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont before moving to Silver Spring, Md., as a reporter and editor for Business Publishers. He then became managing editor of Capitol Publications in Alexandria, Va. He spent nine years as an assistant city editor and then city editor for the Herald in Rock Hill, S.C. He moved to the Sporting News in 2008. Justin turns 47 today.

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Ken Mowry is vice president of e-commerce for Orvis, an outdoors-type retailer of Sunderland, Vt. A 1986 graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Ken worked as a graphic artist for the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette and the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader before becoming assistant art director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1989. He became graphics director of the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., in 1992. He hired me a few months after he got there. Five years later, Ken made the leap into the digital world, working as creative director of Total Sports, creative director of e-commerce for Kohl’s stores and then director of customer experience for Sears. He spent nearly three years as a senior vice president of user experience at Bank of America and then moved to Charming Shoppes, a women’s clothing retailer based in Bensalem, Pa., in 2009. Ken returned to Wisconsin in 2012 as general manager of retail at BuySeasons Inc. He moved to Red Envelope, an online gift store in San Diego in 2013 and then to his current gig last fall. Find his Twitter feed here.

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Jamee Tanner Urrea is director of creative services for Central Michigan University. A 1994 graduate of Ohio University, Jamee spent a year as a graphic artists with the Akron Beacon Journal and another year with the Detroit News before leaving the newspaper business in 1996 to become a media specialist for InfoCision of Akron. She moved to the Lansing State Journal in 2001, spent 11 years as a design editor and audience editor and left the business again in 2013. Find her web site here and her Twitter feed here. Jamee turns 43 today.

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Rachel Van Blankenship is a features designer for the Gannett Design Studio in Phoenix, Ariz. A 2006 graduate of the University of Montana, Rachel spent a year as a designer for the Standard Times of San Angelo, Texas, and then five years with the Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Times Leader before moving to Phoenix in 2012. Find her web site here, her blog here and her Twitter feed here. Rachel turns 31 today.

Darlene, Rachel, Keith, Matt, Martin, Jamee, Justin and Ken share a birthday with actors Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Michelle Tisdale, Ronald Arthur “Ron” Silver, Sal Rubinek, George Fisher (better known as Brock Peters) and Curtis Wain Gates (better known as Ken Curtis); musicians Devin Star “Dev” Tailes and Michelle Jacquet DeSevren Branch; comedian David Hale “Dan” Rowan; TV writer and producer Lawrence Eugene “Larry” David; model Jerry Faye Hall; sports greats José Canseco Capas Jr., Ángel Manuel Pagán (both baseball), Chad Steven Henne and Carlos Cornelius Rogers (both football), John Garvin “Johnny” Weir (figure skating), Alexandra Patricia “Alex” Morgan (soccer), Samuel Jon “Sam” Hornish Jr. and Richard Lee Petty (both auto racing); Mexican leader Vicente Fox Quesada; shoe collector Imelda Remedios Visitacion Romualdez Marcos; physicist Hans Albrecht Bethe; novelist Herman Hesse; civil rights activist Medgar Wiley Evers; Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and hamburger salesman David “Dave” Thomas.

In addition, today is Compliment Your Mirror Day, I Forgot Day, Made in the USA Day and World UFO Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday, folks! Best wishes!