Birthdays for Tuesday, Dec. 8

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


ArLuther Lee is a content strategist for Arlubic Design of Atlanta, Ga. A 1997 graduate of the University of Florida, ArLuther spent four years at the Fort Myers News-Press and then another two years at the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel before moving to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2003 as a designer and copy editor. He left newspapers earlier this year.


Therese Shechter is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in quirky, humor-tinged documentaries. She spent ten years as associate graphics editor and a features art director of the Chicago Tribune before leaving newspapers to go work for Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Productions in New York City. She’s now on her own as an independent filmmaker, having made I Was A Teenage Feminist and How I Learned to Speak Turkish. Her most recent projects both premiered in 2013: How to Lose Your Virginity and SlutWalkNYC. Learn more about the Trixie Films operation here. Find Therese’s design portfolio here. Find her Twitter feed here.


Woody Vondracek is a graphic artist in Youngsville, N.C. A former mechanic for Eastern Airlines, Woody spent several years at the Miami Herald and then the News & Observer of Raleigh. His big claim to fame, though, was as a poster artist during the art deco revival of Miami’s South Beach in the 1970s and 1980s. Find his web site — and order copies of his prints — here.

Arluther, Woody and Therese share a birthday with actors Teri Lynn Hatcher, Kimila Ann “Kim” Basinger, Wendell Pierce, Ian Joseph Somerhalder, John Arthur “David” Carradine, James Gordon MacArthur and Maximilian Schell; musicians James Douglas “Jim” Morrison, Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor, Onika Tanya Maraj (better known as Nicki Minaj), Corey Todd Taylor (of Slipknot), Gregory Lenoir “Gregg” Allman and Samuel George “Sammy” Davis Jr.; comedians Samuel Burl “Sam” Kinison and Clerow “Flip” Wilson Jr.; director Richard O. Fleischer; fitness guru Bob Greene; painter Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez (better known as Diego Rivera); sports greats Philip Rivers (football), Michael Cole Mussina, Vernon M. Wells III (both baseball), Dwight David Howard (basketball), Drew Doughty (hockey), Amir Khan (boxing) and Ryan Joseph Newman (auto racing); inventor Eli Whitney; political commentator Ann Hart Coulter, Popeye creator Elzie Crisler “E.C.” Segar and cartoonist/writer James Grover Thurber.

In addition, today is Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, folks! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Birthday for Monday, Dec. 7

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to Erica Howard, marketing and special events coordinator for Florida State University, Panama City.


A 2006 graduate of the University of Central Florida, Erica spent six years as a copy editor and page designer for the Panama City News Herald. When Freedom Communications sold the paper to Halifax in 2012, she became slot editor. She left the paper in 2013 to take her current position. Find her portfolio here. Erica turns 31 today.

Erica shares a birthday with actors Emily Jane Browning, Jeffrey Wright, Nicholas Caradoc Hoult, Edna Ray Gillooly (better known as Ellen Burstyn) and Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka (better known as Ted Knight); musicians Harry Foster Chapin, Thomas Alan “Tom” Waits, Dominic James Howard (of Muse), Aaron Charles Carter, Sara Beth Bareilles and Louis Prima; sports greats Larry Joe Bird (basketball), Terrell Eldorado Owens (football), Johnny Lee Bench, Constantino “Tino” Martinez, Yasiel Puig Valdés (all three baseball), John George Terry (soccer) and Luke Campbell Donald (golf); linguistics professor Avram Noam Chomsky; Sears co-founder Richard Warren Sears and Sweet ‘N Low inventor Benjamin Eisenstadt.

In addition to Pearl Harbor Day, today is National Cotton Candy Day and International Civil Aviation Day. Seriously.

Best wishes, Erica! Have a wonderful birthday today!

Birthdays for Sunday, Dec. 6

Here’s wishing the happiest of birthdays to eight top-notch visual journalists…


David Anesta is design team leader for the Gannett Design Studio in Asbury Park, N.J. A 2000 graduate of the University of Miami, David spent two years as a designer for the Prague Post, two more as a designer for the New York Post and then two more yet at the Boston Herald before moving to the Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale in 2006. He joined Gannett in 2011, working as a features design team leader in Asbury Park, becoming creative director in the Nasville studio in 2013, spending a year as consumer experience director for the Tennessean and then moving back to Jersey in October. Find his portfolio here and his Twitter feed here.


Eric Ebert is a technology application analyst for US Bank in Minneapolis, Minn. A 2006 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Eric spent a year as a cops reporter for the West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minn., before moving to the Green Bay Press-Gazette in 2007 as a copy editor and designer. He was promoted to presentation director in 2008. Eric left the Press-Gazette in 2010 to join Sport Ngin of Minneapolis, which designs marketing web sites for professional and amateur sports teams and leagues. He moved to US Bank in 2013. Eric turns 32 today.


Charmaine Engelsman-Robins is a freelance writer, photographer, artist and marketing consultant in Sarasota, Fla. A product of the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and the Ringling College of Art and Design, Charmaine spent 10 years as a music columnist for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and a contributing editor for Sarasota magazine. She’s also worked as a contributing editor and photographer for Attitudes magazine.


Alan Jacobson is the creator of Teen Tribune and Tween Tribune, daily news sites geared toward youngsters and classrooms and now owned and operated by the Smithsonian Institute. A 1978 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, Alan is also a news design consultant based in Norfolk, Va. His latest venture helps web sites examine their potential profitability. Find his Twitter feed here.


Tina Luster is a communications manager for the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau near San Francisco, Calif. A 1984 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Tina spent seven years as editor of the Weekender — an entertainment weekly that served California, Arizona and Nevada — before moving to State Farm in 1997 as regional communications coordinator. She spent a year-and-a-half as a designer for the Napa Valley Register and then signed on in her current gig in 2007.


Johnn-Grant Munro is head of design for die Burger, an Afrikaans-language daily in Cape Town, South Africa. A 2003 graduate of the University of Stellenbosch, Johnn worked as a visual journalist for Eikestadnuus before moving to die Burger in 2004. He served as a layout artist for corporate content, then became the same for the main paper and moved to assistant chief sub editor in 2006. He was named the paper’s chief layout artist in 2008 and moved into his current position in 2014. Find his Twitter feed here. Johnn turns 36 today.


Caitlin Rother is a writer of true crime books, based in San Diego and an instructor at UCSD. A 1984 graduate of Cal Berkeley, Caitlin earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University in 1987 and then spent a year each at the Springfield-Union News, the Los Angeles Times and the L.A. Daily News before signing on with the Union-Tribune of San Diego. She worked there for 13 years as an investigative reporter before leaving the newspaper world in 2006. Caitlin’s the author of ten books, including seven with a “true crime” bent. I’ll Take Care of You was released in January and Then No One Can Have Her came out last month.


In addition, her one novel — Naked Addiction – was released in 2014.


Find Caitlin’s web site here and her Twitter feed here.

Megan Tkacy is a designer for the Lee Enterprises hub in Munster, Ind. A 2011 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Megan interned for the NextMedia radio group of Waukegan, Ill., and then spent year designing for the GateHouse hub in Rockford. She moved to the Lee hub in 2013. Find her entertainment blog here and her Twitter feed here.

Eric, Megan, Tina, Charmaine, David, Johnn-Grant, Caitlin and Alan share a birthday with actors Janine Loraine Gauntt (better known as Janine Turner), Noel Anthony Clarke, Thomas Edward “Tom” Hulce, Wallace Maynard “Wally” Cox, Margaret JoBeth Williams, Agnes Robertson Moorehead and Lillie Louise “Lynn” Fontanne; musicians Peter Lawrence Buck (of R.E.M.), David Warren “Dave” Brubeck and Israel Gershowitz (better known as Ira Gershwin); comedian Steven Alexander Wright; director Judd Apatow; comedian-turned-director Wil Shriner; animator Nicholas Wulstan “Nick” Park; poet Alfred Joyce Kilmer; politician Andrew Mark Cuomo; Civil War Gen. John Singleton Mosby; AIDS victim Ryan Wayne White; sports greats Alberto Contador Velasco (bicycling), Lawrence Robert “Larry” Bowa, Gary Lamell Ward, Stanley Camfield Hack (all three baseball), Otto Everett Graham Jr. and Jonathan Paul “Johnny” Manziel (both football); photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt; editorial cartoonist Douglas Nigel Marlette and Craigslist founder Craig Alexander Newmark.

In addition, today is National Pawnbrokers Day and St. Nicholas Day. Seriously.

Have a wonderful birthday today, all! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Saturday, Dec. 5

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


Phil Geib has been an artist for the Chicago Tribune for the past 18 years. A graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Phil worked for a number of freelance clients before starting work for Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1987. He moved to the Trib in 1997. Find his portfolio here. Phil turns 51 today.


Linda Martinez was a copy editor and page designer with the Ventura County Star in Camarillo, Calif. She left the paper in early 2011. Linda turns 54 today.


Kim Storeygard is lead sports designer for the Detroit News. A 2005 graduate of Northwestern University, Kim earned a master’s degree at Syracuse University and served an internship with the Syracuse Post-Standard. She spent two years as a news and sports designer with the News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., before moving to Detroit in 2008. She also helps tutor students in writing and editing via the Student Connection in Birmingham, Mich.


Steve Yelvington is vice president of audience for the Savannah (Ga.) Morning News. Steve spent seven years as an editor for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat before moving to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1985. He switched to the digital side on April Fools Day 1994 as editor of Star Tribune Online and, later, of Steve was named executive editor and director of network content for Cox Interactive in 1999 but then, in 2001, moved to Morris Communications of Augusta, Ga., as a corporate-level audience development consultant. He slid into his current position in 2011. Find Steve’s web site here and his Twitter feed here.

Kim, Phil, Linda and Steve share a birthday with actors Francisco James “Frankie” Muniz IV, Paula Maxine Patton, Jessica Paré and Amy Louise Acker; musicians Gary Allan Herezberg, John Joseph Theodore Rzeznik (of the Goo Goo Dolls), Keri Lynn Hilson, James Melvin “Jim” Messina and Richard Wayne Penniman (better known as Little Richard); comedian Margaret Cho; politicians Martin Van Buren and James Strom Thurmond; Gen. George Armstrong Custer; physicist Werner Karl Heisenberg; sports greats Niklas Hagman (hockey), August Rodney “Gus” Mancuso (baseball), James Arthur “Art” Monk, James William “Jim” Plunkett (both football) and James Patrick “Jim” Tressel (football coach); directors Otto Ludwig Preminger and Friedrich Christian Anton “Fritz” Lang and animator Walter Elias Disney.

In addition, today is World Soil Day, AFL-CIO Day, Earmuff Day, Skywarn Recognition Day, Bartender Appreciation Day, Bathtub Party Day and International Ninja Day. Seriously.

Have a terrific birthday today, folks! Best wishes!

Birthdays for Friday, Dec. 4

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


Jarrod Evans is North American marketing manager for the Life Sciences Division of ALS Environmental, producer of environmental testing services and based in Houston, Texas. A 2004 graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University — where he served as sports editor for that school’s student paper, the Pine Log — Jarrod spent two years as a designer, copy editor and columnist for the Daily Sentinel of Nacogdoches, Texas, before moving to the Wichita Eagle to become A1 and sports designer. He moved to the Houston Chronicle in 2007 and then made the leap to the marketing world in 2009. Find his Twitter feed here. Jarrod turns 35 today.


Sylvia Santivañez is a journalist with Media Networks Latin America based in Lima, Peru. She’s a graduate of the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Lima. Find her Twitter feed here.


Bill Zapcic is a workflow product analyst for Gannett’s NewsGate news database and editing system and based in Asbury Park, N.J. A 1977 graduate of Dickinson college of Carlisle, Pa., Bill spent four years as assistant night editor of the Daily Register and five years as assistant chief copy editor of the Record.  He was named online editor of the Home News Tribune in 2002, moved up to associate editor of the Courier News in 2007 and then to executive editor of seven zoned weeklies that were part of the Courier News and Home News Tribune. He move to the Asbury Park Press in 2009 as a regional desk copy editor and then a universal desk editor. He took on his current duties in 2011. Find his Twitter feed here. Bill turns 60 today.

Sylvia, Jarrod and Bill share a birthday with actors Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Leon “Jeff” Bridges, Fred Armisen and Maximilian Adalbert “Max” Baer Jr.; musicians Shawn Corey Carter (better known as Jay-Z), Lila Elaine McCann, Aiden Samuel Grimshaw and Dennis Carl Wilson (of the Beach Boys); model Tyra Lynne Banks; game show host Winston Conrad “Wink” Martindale; sports greats Joe Thomas, Frank Michael Reich Jr. (both football), Bernard King (basketball), Ryan Michael Dungey (motocross), Jay Michael Demerit (soccer) and Kristina Groves (speedskating); canned meat merchant George Albert Hormel; Spanish leader Francisco Franco y Bahamonde and U.S. World War II hero Gregory “Pappy” Boyington.

In addition, today is National Spokesperson Day, National Dice Day, National Cookie Day and World Wildlife Conservation Day. Seriously.

Have a great birthday today, y’all! Best wishes!