We consistently aim to give you the stories you haven’t read and the information you want. Our passion for Abilene, along with a good amount of coffee, drives us to be the premier source of purely local news.
John Mendez (Columnist): I’m no stranger to the Big Country, being born and raised in Baird, TX. I graduated in 2008 from Baylor University and received my Bachelor’s degree in Film and Digital Media, working for a short time with MTV Networks in NYC. Today, together with my wife, Melissa, and two boys, John Michael and Maverick, we now call Abilene home. When I’m not helping to wrangle our two boys, I enjoy following my favorite sports teams, blogging, fishing, hunting and riding my prized UTV, Ruby Gail. Find out more about me and my family life by following my blog at daddythoughts.blog.
Lucas Bennett (Columnist & Editor): I am a freshman English and Biblical Text major at ACU. When I’m not studying or writing, I run cross country and track for ACU. I love reading and writing almost every genre out there.
Ed Morrell (Columnist): I was born and raised in Freeport NY, a multicultural suburb of NYC, where I grew up eating foods from a variety of cultures. In my 20’s I moved to Queens and that is where my love for food had become a focal point in my life. I had pretty much the entire culinary world in my backyard and I took advantage of it to the fullest. I have since moved to Abilene and have not lost that passion for exploring the local culinary community.
Krista Masci (Columnist): Krista Masci was raised in Abilene from the age of 6, when her first loves were books and cats. Graduated in May ’15 with her BS in Digital Ent. Tech, she has physically not yet left ACU; Krista now works at ACU in the Department of Communication & Sociology and is in her second term in the GST for a M.A. in Christian Ministry. Krista constantly thinks about comfy pants, art history, and good food — and is still in love with books and cats, but now also her husband. Krista & Erik have been married for a year and half.
Erik Masci (Columnist): Erik was born in Thousand Oaks, California, raised in Aurora, Colorado, and has been a resident in Abilene for the past 5 years (give or take). After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Abilene Christian University, he is now pursuing an M.Div in the Graduate School of Theology at ACU and is currently the PRN Chaplain for Hendrick Hospice Care. He enjoys fiction, philosophy, theology, but will always have a place in his heart for table-top gaming, stand up comedy, and pastries. He and his wife spend most of their downtime sending each other videos of small furry creatures and eating good food.
Erika Bolado (Columnist): Erika grew up in a small town near the beach in South Texas. After high school graduation, she left her hometown and became an ACU student to pursue a convergence journalism and political science degree. She enjoys meeting unique people, whether it’s in the way they dress, think or act. She aspires to be a political journalist or a website designer. If she’s not interviewing people, shooting photos, or working – you can find her watching Portlandia, reading books, and shopping at thrift stores.
Brandi Brightwater (Columnist): Brandi was born and raised in Abilene then went wherever life took her. She’s lived all over Texas, in Wyoming, and in Colorado but has visited countless other places. She currently owns her own Virtual Assistant business but has donned many hats such as Cheese Specialist, Ceramics Assistant, and Massage Therapist. She is a passionate and active advocate for the arts and culture, especially live theater, and forewarns that anyone who says there is nothing to do in Abilene is opening themselves up for a lively debate.
Victoria Aldana (Reporter): Tori is a senior journalism student at ACU, raised in Midland, Texas. Her passions include music, travel and watercolor painting. Ask her to tell you a story, you’ll probably be entertained.” I never know what to write for these things, but I really appreciate how interesting the other staff members were able to be.
Megan Butler (Contributer): The Butlers moved their family to Abilene in July of 2015. Megan is no stranger to the area since she grew up just North of here in Jayton, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M and is a former science teacher turned stay-at-home mom. She spends her days chasing around two young boys, Baker (3) and Fisher (2), and blogging over at www.thebutlersquarters.
Kester Smith (Contributor): Kester Smith spent years working as a part time bookseller and full-time church-planter in Austin before moving to Abilene to pursue an MDiv. at ACU. He currently serves as the chaplain for Wisteria Place and the recruiter for ACU’s Graduate School of Theology. He is married and has a son in middle school.
James Wagstaff (Contributor): Born in Dallas but raised in Abilene, I am a local who has just moved home. Even though I’m a 5th generation Abilenian, it really had nothing to do with moving back. After graduating from McMurry with a BA in history I set out to see the world. Missionary work in Honduras. Peace Corps in Morocco, Santa Fe for a few years once I returned to the US. And settled on a career in NYC where I lived for 17 years in Tribeca. Now I live in a cool old house on Sayles Blvd with my two dogs, work virtually, and write on the side. I enjoy being back and near my family–I’m lucky in that regard! Love connecting people and all the cool things happening in Abilene.
Jeremy Meeks (Contributor): is the Regional Sales Manager for Benchmark Business Solutions and covers a territory from Abilene to Wichita Falls. He supports six sales people in their sales efforts by providing guidance and his experience of 13 years. He is also host to a new podcast and website, Leadership is Listening. Visit leadershipislistening.com to learn from stories and insights how to lead your people better tomorrow.
Rebecca Parvaresh (Contributor): Rebecca Parvaresh is a Texas gal through and through. She fell in love with journalistic storytelling her Freshman year of high school. Many years later in 2010, she began sharing stories of other Texans through collaboration with publisher ‘With You In Mind Publications’. Their local living magazines feature the faces of your friends and neighbors in over a dozen markets in Texas. She writes for texashillcountry.com and Texas Living Magazine as well. She loves writing about the beauty in nature and beauty in people. Featuring all that makes the Texas a place to call home is another piece of her story.w to lead your people better tomorrow.
Solomon Gerges (Contributor): Solomon’s apprenticeship in taste began when he started cooking with his dad on Saturdays. He started brewing coffee a few years ago and has only grown in passion since. He routinely brews coffee as currency for big conversations. Solomon expects coffee to taste wonderful, create ethical change globally, and enrich the people around him.
Hannah Johnson (Creative Director): Hannah is a sophomore graphic design major at Abilene Christian University. Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Hannah grew up traveling as a military kid and her desire for adventure derives from that childhood. Her interests include backpacking, photography, and street tacos.
Katherine Kinnaman (Copy Editor): Katherine was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She has a Bachelor’s in English from Abilene Christian University and works as a technical writer at Milsoft Utility Solutions in Abilene. Katherine has loved to read and write since she was very small and her favorite class in college was Advanced Grammar, which should tell you something. An unapologetic nerd, she loves sci-fi and fantasy novels and TV shows, as well as playing D&D weekly with her husband and friends.
Chai Green (Contributing Photographer): Chai holds a Master of Fine Art with an emphasis in Photography from the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has exhibited his photographic work in Belfast, UK; Dublin, Ireland; Abilene, TX; Houston, TX; and Nashville, TN. His work has also been featured in the quarterly publication of the Royal Photographic Society. Find more of his work by visiting his website, www.chaigreenphotography.com.
Kaleigh Borge (Director of Business Development): Kaleigh is a junior Management and IT student at Abilene Christian University with a particular interest in Business Statistics and Analytics. She has a passion for the Abilene community and wants to learn what you love about Abilene too! Kaleigh’s interests include two-step, world travel, and petting every dog she sees around campus.
Taylor Spencer (Vice President): As a Marketing and Management major at Abilene Christian University, Taylor holds particular interest in sales, fundraising, and entrepreneurship. He enjoys overcoming problems in the Day-to-Day operations of business just as much as he enjoys enabling his team to excel in their areas of work. As a man who values hard work and integrity, Taylor enjoys business literature, polishing his own shoes, and making the Key City a better place: one post at a time.
Nathan Spencer (Founder | President | Publisher): Nathan graduated from ACU in 2012. Originally from Missouri, he’s called Abilene home for eight years. Passionate about education and culture, Nathan is committed to improving the Abilene community. He’s happy to talk your ear off about science, travel, or business… you’ve been warned.