Meet the Staff
Cheryl Kaechele has been the owner, publisher of the Allegan County News since 1982, the Union Enterprise since 1985 and the Commercial Record since 1988. She has been active in the publication of the papers in all aspects from editorial to business, production to management and even delivery to recycling. Kaechele has been active in state and national newspaper organizations since becoming a member of both in 1982. She was on the board of the Michigan Press Association from 1992-2002 serving as the state president from 2000-2001 and is currently a member of the Michigan Press Association's Foundation Board. She has been a member of the National Newspaper Association board since 2004 and was the president from 2009-2010 and led the organization through a restructuring process. Her commitment to the newspaper organizations she has been a part of is her attempt to keep her papers the best they can be and to provide the communities they serve with the best newspapers possible. In 2010, her efforts were rewarded with the Allegan County News being selected the NNA's general excellence award winner for non-daily newspapers with a circulation of 3,000 to 5,999.
Walt Kaechele has been associated with the paper since 1982 when the Allegan County News was first purchased. He became active in the paper in 1999, after retiring from the Allegan Public School system with 32-years of service as a social studies, English, geography, business teacher and coach at the junior high and senior high levels. His years as a teacher and coach allowed him to follow those areas into the paper as a sports writer, photographer and feature writer. Currently Walt has been handling the Fennville City Council and board of education, acting as the contact person between the paper and the school systems in the county, producing a column for the Union Enterprise dealing with the cities of Otsego and Plainwell and covering sports events.
Ryan Lewis moved to west Michigan and began work as a staff writer in 2002. He grew up on the east side of the state and graduated with a bachelor's degree in liberal arts from Albion College majoring in English. When not reporting on various city, township, school and county board meetings, he is busy writing feature stories, taking pictures, editing staff stories and crafting his next column. His job has taken him to Hamilton Middle School's pool for scuba diving lessons--to tromping through a corn field to find a crashed airplane--to riding along with the sheriff department's snowmobile patrol. He and his wife live in Otsego Township with their two young sons. Ryan enjoys keeping up with Red Wings hockey, playing strategy board games and daydreaming of the days when he can make his sons do the yard work. Things he misses: the canceled TV series "Firefly"; his old, red, 1990 Jeep Wrangler; a time when PG-13 movies were actually PG-13 (and not the equivalent of R-rated); and Bill Brown, the previous editor of The Allegan County News. (Updated October 2014)
Scott Sullivan became editor of The Commercial Record and Resorter, based in Saugatuck-Douglas, May Day 2006. He has been editor of the bimonthly Michigan Runner magazine since 2001, and is former editor of the weekly Penasee Globe (Wayland, Mich.) and Lakeshore Times (North Muskegon, Mich). He has won 15 National Newspaper Association and 46 Michigan Press Association awards for journalism and photography. He was a founding editor of SKY magazine, a 1990s West Michigan literary quarterly, taught photography for the Muskegon Museum of Art, and was perpetrator of multi-media art shows in his more-manic, younger years. Sullivan graduated from Purdue University Phi Beta Kappa in 1977. In 1998 he ran in the Boston Marathon. The light of his life is his daughter Flannery, born Jan. 12, 2000.
Hi. I'm Dan Pepper, I cover a bunch of different things for the Allegan County News and the Union Enterprise and sometimes for the Commercial Record. I go to the county commission meetings, cover the police and courts, go to Otsego and Plainwell school board meetings and the Gun Plain Township Board. Plus, I do general local news, feature stories, take pictures and help unload the truck. If you know of anything you think should be in the paper, or just want me to know something, please don't hesitate to call me at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-5985 (my voicemail extension is #13) or email me. I've worked for the Kaechele papers since 2002. I grew up in Baraga, a tiny town in the U.P. and then went to Michigan State and studied journalism with a minor in history. I decided I had to become a reporter after I took freshmen level chemistry and it made my brain hurt. I'd always liked writing and generally figuring things out, so I happily found a job where they'd pay you to do that. I like books, comic books, movies, music, football, hockey and college basketball. I live in Kalamazoo with my wife, Stacey. We have a dog we named Indiana, after the Jones and not the state, and are generally tolerated by the cat, whom we named Conan because it was apt. My current favorite quote is: "Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm." -James Madison "Federalist #10"
Jason Wesseldyk joined the staff of Kaechele Publications as a sports writer in 2000 before being promoted to sports editor in 2004. Jason and his wife, Terra, were married shortly after he began his employment with Kaechele Publications and in November 2004 were blessed with the birth of their first child, Colin James. Two years later, in November 2006, another son, Caleb Anthony, joined the family, with daughter McKenna Leigh arriving in April 2011. Originally from South Haven and a graduate of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Jason loves nothing more than spending time with his family. He also enjoys coaching his boys' youth sports teams, reading and keeping up with his beloved Detroit Tigers.
Virginia Ransbottom has once again joined the staff of Kaechele Publications, Inc. Virginia worked for the Allegan County News in 1998-99 while still getting her feet wet in the newspaper business. She caught the journalism bug while attending college for a bachelor's degree in business administration and working for the Marcellus News. After graduating with her degree and an added minor in journalism, she joined Kaechele Publications, Inc. as a copy editor and feature writer. Since then she served six years as the managing editor of the Three Rivers Commercial-News and six years as a staff writer at the South Bend Tribune in Indiana. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, rollerblading, cross country skiing and anything outdoors—including fairs and antique shows. Virginia believes in the value of PBS, adopting shelter pets, rooting for the underdog, volunteering for worthy causes, providing a voice for those who should be heard, people's rights to know and respecting a victim's right to privacy. Her passion is learning something new every day, meeting new people and being introduced to all they do to inspire others in the community. Whether a child donating their lemonade stand money or movers and shakers driving the economy, Virginia's humbled to be able to tell their stories.
Robin Clark is the advertising representative for the center hub of Allegan County. Robin joined Kaechele Publications in February 2005. She previously worked in the banking industry for 28 years, where she met and developed business relationships with many people. She is married to Gary, who is self-employed and does general repair work on vehicles, lawn and garden and farm equipment. Robin said he is a jack-of-all-trades and can fix anything. The pair have two children, a son and daughter, and operate a storage business for motor homes, boats and cars. Robin enjoys going to horseshows, camping, riding motorcycles and spending time with her new grandbaby and her children's families.
Connie Ellis has been the office manager for Kaechele Publications for 14 years. As office manager, Connie oversees office function and all financial matters. She also handles accounts payable and payroll.
Teressa Curtis is in charge of circulation as well as being an office clerk for Kaechele Publications. She started with Kaechele in 2012 after being a stay-at-home mom for ten years. Originally from Hamilton, Teressa moved to Allegan 15 years ago. She is married with three daughters—two in high school and one in middle school—who all attend Allegan Public Schools. In her spare time Teressa enjoys hobby farming, coaching and watching her daughters play volleybal, basketball and soccer.
Julie Hotchkiss is responsible for accounts receivable, national advertising and insert specialist for Kaechele Publications. She has been with the company for 14 years and has several years of previous experience. Julie lives in Allegan and has one son, Trevor. She enjoys traveling, especially to New Mexico to visit friends.