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About Us

While the mass media offers many windows into our regional, state, national and global world, there will always be a separate need for windows into the everyday lives of the "ordinary" and extraordinary people and communities within them.

That's why we started this community newspaper in 1996, and that's why, 20 years later, we still dedicate ourselves to covering community news that is "totally local" and personally relevant to the residents and businesses of northwest Guilford County.

Since we began, we've grown from a once-a-month, 8-page community newsletter for Oak Ridge to a once-a-week community newspaper and 7-day-a-week website that focuses exclusively on the communities of Oak Ridge, Summerfield, Stokesdale and northwest Greensboro.

Our staff is particularly honored when we hear someone say, "I've never been much of a newspaper reader, but I read the Northwest Observer because it provides information that is personally relevant and connects me to my community."

If you're new to our area, our newspaper or our website, we extend a warm welcome and hope you enjoy getting to know us and the communities we cover, and that we in turn have the opportunity of getting to know you. We are very appreciative of feedback, whether glowing praises or constructive suggestions for improvement, and encourage you to let us know what you think about our newspaper coverage, website and special-focus publications.

The Northwest Observer is independently and locally owned by PS Communications. For more information about our company and other publications, please visit

Patti Stokes, editor/publisher

Patti Stokes, editor/publisher

I'm blessed to have a job that I thoroughly enjoy, complete with infinite challenges as well as opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally. I'm ultimately responsible for every aspect of the business, from accounting to customer service to marketing to editing to human resources.

My husband and I have two children, both of whom graduated from Northwest High School before attending college and venturing out into the world, leaving us with a house that now has way too much empty space.

In my spare time I love to work in the yard, read, surf the Internet, and be as close to the water as possible. I don't have any grandkids yet to dote on, but I have two very sweet dogs who eagerly lap up any attention I give them and pay me back with unlimited love and affection. "My boys," a beagle mix and a Cavalier King Charles, accompany me to the office every day, sleep underneath my desk, and remind me that the joys of life are most often found in the simplest of things.

Laura Troeger, associate publisher

I'm a mid-west country girl, perfectly at home now in North Carolina (although I still root for my beloved St. Louis Cardinals every chance I get). I make a valiant effort to keep up with my two teenagers, and stay busy with church activities, keeping in touch with friends, and working on my ever-expanding list of home and garden projects.

I have been part of the PS Communications family since January 2008. I enjoy the variety and unpredictability of my position, as well as the chance to meet and talk to new people in the community almost daily.

Sean Gentile, art director

What makes me tick? It is somewhere among my love of all things design, minimalism, contemporary architecture, photography, bonsai, creating music, coin collecting, repairing antique clocks, and struggling to keep my car unrealistically clean.

I am indebted to my family, friends, and teachers for nurturing my passion for design. As a graduate from the College of Design at NC State University, I find PS Communications to be an excellent creative environment for me. I work alongside great people, and am in a place where my passion is truly valued.

Annette Joyce, advertising manager

I grew up on a tobacco farm in northern Stokes County, graduated from Appalachian State University and married my high school sweetheart -- in that order.

Before joining PS Communications in 2003 as marketing manager, I produced special publications for the Winston-Salem Journal and was later vice-president of marketing for a Greensboro company that sold commercial embroidery equipment. Although I continued to write for the Northwest Observer, I left PS Communications for a few years to work as a Realtor. I found out I couldn't stay away.

At PS Communications, I have the opportunity to indulge both of my passions - writing and helping business owners market their businesses. I believe everyone has a story to tell and one of my favorite things is finding those hidden gems.

I relish being in the thick of things and spend a lot of time volunteering. I'm a member of Central Baptist Church, the Board of Directors for Camp Carefree, the Northwest Guilford Kiwanis, the Stokesdale Parade Committee, the Oak Ridge Dog Park Committee and Bible Study Fellowship.

My husband Kelly and I have been married 32 years. I like spending my free time with my family and our dogs, Charlie (you might have read about his antics in our paper) and Phoebe.

L.A. Logan, sports/community news writer

As a sports fanatic, my first loves are basketball and football.

I never thought of myself as a journalist, but one day at Guilford College I met journalism and we've been together ever since. Sports writing is my main niche; however, with the Northwest Observer, I plan to become a more well-rounded journalist who has no boundaries on topic coverage.

I enjoy reading historical literature, challenging myself to try new things and traveling to meet and learn about new cultures domestically and internationally (I thought being in the Army for four years would fulfill that dream, but instead I spent most of my time in historic Savannah, Georgia - no complaints, though).

At PS Communications, I plan to bring youth sports coverage to a new level, and also learn how to do the same with other community news coverage.

Yvonne Truhon, page layout

I grew up in Rochester, NY and have lived in Winston-Salem for over 25 years. My husband and I have two cats that are adopted rescues. I enjoy gardening, reading, cooking and theatre. I volunteer backstage at Twin City Stage and Theatre Alliance of Winston-Salem. I've even "trod the boards" myself, once playing a sailor in Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore because I was tall for my age!

I've been a graphic artist at PS Communications since 2003, and am primarily responsible for laying out our publications and working directly with our printer. I hold a degree in Greek and Latin from Valparaiso University with a minor in drama. I've worked in a variety of places: a doughnut shop, a bakery/restaurant, a printshop and of course the publishing industry, thus proving a college professor's saying: "If you can learn Greek, you can learn anything."

Linda Schatz, distribution manager

Twenty years ago I would have been that girl on a bike throwing a paper in your driveway, but modern day delivery girls like me ride little red Honda Elements with "Totally Local" etched in the back window! My name is Linda Schatz and I've been the circulation manager for PS Communications for the last 3 1/2 years. I'm not sure if it should be considered work, though, because I have fun doing what I do! I get to meet people along my delivery route, drive the Element around with the radio on, and get "free" exercise from delivering thousands of newspapers every week.

My husband Ken and I have been married my whole life (21 years) and we have 15-year-old twins, Scott and Ashley. We enjoy living in Oak Ridge with our two poodles, a bunny and bearded dragon. Other fun things for me are being outside, exercising and listening to music.

Lucy Smith, finance manager

I am a First generation American of Greek decent, and my real name is Vassilia Emanuela Sapounas-Smith. I love to cook and garden when I have the time, and I always find the time to exercise. I have a BS in Accounting from UF.

I work part-time at PS Communications, and have a full-time job as a controller elsewhere. Here at PS Communications, I am who our customers go to for questions on their billing information, and insure all the little details are fulfilled. My favorite things about my position here are the people and how we work together. Every one of my co-workers is good at what they do, dependable and a delight to work with!

Northwest Observer PO Box 268 Oak Ridge, North Carolina 27310
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