The Custer County Chief is proud to introduce two new staff members. One is a native returning to the area, the other a transplant from the eastern part of the state.
Joining the editorial staff as sports editor is David Merrill.
David hails from Nebraskaâs largest city, and graduated from Millard North High School in Omaha in 2007.
David became interested in journalism as a high school sophomore. He has always loved sports, especially basketball, but says trying to make the team in a school that size is tough.
âSo I figured if I couldnât play, I would write about it,â he laughs.
He says his love of basketball has been life-long.
âI was born April 1, which is always around the time of the Final Four. My mom says I was born loving basketball!â
After high school, David attended Iowa State University as a journalism major. While there, he was a sports writer for the Iowa State Daily - the campus newspaper. He covered soccer, womenâs basketball, volleyball, football, baseball and hockey.
David says he is looking forward to getting to know the area and the people here, and working closely with the coaches and athletes. As a college sports writer, he says he had to work through sports information directors. He says that is one of the things he is most looking forward to with his new job - getting to form relationships with the athletes themselves.
âDavid is a great addition to our staff,â said Chief Publisher Deb McCaslin. âHe brings a wonderful enthusiasm for high school sports, and sports in general. He knows how to get the job done, so start looking for him on the sidelines, and help us welcome him to central Nebraska.â
In his spare time, David enjoys playing video games, going to movies, and of course - playing basketball.
He invites everyone to add him to their Facebook friends and follow him on Twitter @davidmerrill8.
Heidi Phelps grew up in Callaway and graduated from Callaway High School in 2002. She has deep family roots in Custer County - her father, Ivan, was raised in Anselmo.
Following high school, Heidi attended college at Mid-Plains in North Platte for a semester on a performing arts scholarship. Unsure of what she really wanted to do, and the direction she wanted to go, she did a lot of moving around over the next few years.
In 2004, she got married to a soldier she met while living in Kansas. He was later seriously wounded while on deployment in Iraq, and the couple spent about a year and a half in San Antonio, Texas, while he recovered.
Heidi later moved to Indiana, and in November 2006 she and her husband separated. She ended up in Lincoln, where she attended Kaplan University, and was the last student to graduate with a degree from the schoolâs travel and tourism program.
She moved to Wyoming in June 2009, working as a reservations agent at Yellowstone National Park and returned to Nebraska in 2010. She has continued to live and work in the central Nebraska area until recently joining the Chief staff.
âYouâll love Heidiâs enthusiasm,â said McCaslin. âShe too is a terrific addition to the staff. Growing up in Callaway, she understands our rural economy. Her experience in the travel industry translates well into the newspaper world.â
Heidi will be handling the advertising from neighboring communities, and will also be helping in the editorial department. You will notice her byline on the Cook-of-the-Week feature, as well as other articles from time to time.
âWe feel great about the new additions to our staff. And thanks again for allowing us to be your âHometown Community Newspaperâ since 1892,â said McCaslin.