New staff members welcomed at the Tribune

Friday, January 30, 2015

From Staff Reports

Veteran journalist Larry Taft has joined the Marshall County Tribune and Marshall County Shopper staff as general manager following the retirements of Jim and Glenda Ward.

Taft is taking over the position held by Jim Ward for the past seven and a half years. Also joining the staff, filling Glenda's role as advertising sales account representative, is Marshall County native Misty Cruz.

The Wards retired this week to travel and spend time with their grandchildren.

And as Jim Ward has said as retirement approaches, "We're old enough to retire and, after 42 years in the business, tired enough to do it and enjoy life without deadlines."

Hugh Jones, publisher of both the Tribune and Shopper, said the staff changes bring mixed emotions.

"We are certainly going to miss Jim and Glenda, and we appreciate all of the contributions they made to our publications and the community. But also we are happy for Jim and Glenda. They've been hard-working, loyal and dedicated employees. We wish them well in their retirement," Jones said.

"At the same time, we're looking forward to working with Larry and Misty. We were fortunate to add these two qualified candidates to join us, and we're confident they will be good additions to our staff. Larry has years of experience in a daily newspaper environment, but his background makes him a perfect fit for Lewisburg and Marshall County. He understands small towns and is proud of his rural roots. And Misty is personable and well thought of in the community."

Taft, a native of the Taft Community in Lincoln County, is a career newspaperman, having spent more than 30 years at The Tennessean in Nashville. He also worked at the Knoxville News-Sentinel and the Democrat-Union in Lawrenceburg.

Taft won numerous writing awards while at The Tennessean, including high school sports writer of the year, from the Tennessee Sports Writers Association, and American Association (baseball) writer of the year, as voted on by the league's beat writers. He also has received the prestigious Associated Press Managing Editors story of the year award.

During his time at The Tennessean, he served as a sports writer, online content coordinator and high school sports coordinator. Prior to leaving The Tennessean in 2012, he was the paper's sports editor for five years.

Taft and his wife Dinah, a registered nurse for Veterans Affairs, have four sons and seven grandchildren. He is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and a member of the Lincoln County Commission. In 2011, he was inducted into the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in the Contributor category.

"This community has been almost like a second home for me. While at The Tennessean, I made many, many friends here while covering high school sports teams. And as a youngster, we visited Marshall County frequently. Our family bought our cars here and came to the area often because my father and mother were Tennessee Walking Horse breeders," he said.

"I'm excited about working with all the citizens, civic organizations and businesses in Marshall County. My goal is to continue the good relationships developed by Jim and Glenda with businesses and individuals. I want this community to have a newspaper that is informative and entertaining each time we publish."

Cruz was born in Lewisburg and has lived in the area all of her life. She attended Marshall County High School and comes to the Tribune after having spent five years as a manager at Mildred's Restaurant. She is the daughter of Bobby and Rachel Welch and has two sons, Jacob Warren, 22, and Alex Cruz, 8, who is a student at Marshall Elementary School.

"The opportunity to help and serve our advertisers and meet and assist those who I do not yet know is an exciting challenge for me," Cruz said.

"I'm a people person, and it is going to be a thrill for me to get to know more people and help them with their advertising needs."

The Marshall County Tribune has a rich history, dating back to 1898. Years ago, the county had two weekly newspapers -- the Lewisburg Tribune and Marshall Gazette. More than 50 years ago, the two merged into one entity and eventually became the Marshall County Tribune. Published twice weekly, the Tribune continues to serve the county as a trusted, go-to source for news and information.

The Marshall County Shopper has served readers and businesses for decades and is distributed to every home in Marshall County.