After being gone from Palestine for 18 months, Mary Rainwater has rejoined the Herald-Press staff as news editor. Her first day back at the newspaper was Oct. 4.

In her new but familiar role at the paper, Rainwater is covering the county beat, general assignments and features. She also designs news pages a couple of days a week.

“I am so excited to return to Palestine and the Herald-Press,” Rainwater said. “In my previous seven years here, I grew to love this community and develop relationships that I have continued to maintain today. Palestine and Anderson County feel like home to me, and in many ways, it seems like I never left. It feels like I am back where I belong.”

Herald-Press Publisher Gary Connor was pleased to welcome Rainwater back to the newspaper.

“Mary is a veteran journalist and a former staff writer for the Palestine Herald-Press. She did a marvelous job for us when she was on staff before and we know she will do a great job again for us. We hear very nice things from our readers about Mary’s work so we know the community will be glad to read Mary’s work once again.”

Rainwater graduated from Malakoff High School in 1995 as an advanced honors graduate. She attended East Texas Baptist University and transferred to the University of Texas at Tyler, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2000.

After college graduation, she worked at The Monitor, a twice-a-week paper in Mabank, as a reporter, covering everything from education to city and county government.

Rainwater first joined the Herald-Press staff in November 2001 as staff writer and copy editor. She covered education and feature news as well as designing news pages until January 2009.

During her time at the Herald-Press, Rainwater won four Texas APME awards, including a first-place award for short feature writing and two TASB Media Honor Roll awards, from Palestine Independent School District and Elkhart ISD.

Rainwater joined the staff of The Huntsville Item in April 2009 as a staff writer covering education and features as well as designing news pages.

While in Huntsville, she witnessed 20 state executions for the paper; and covered the locally high-profile murder trial of Jerry Martin, a TDCJ inmate who killed a corrections officer while trying to escape.

“I learned so much in Huntsville and met so many wonderful people. But more importantly, in covering executions for The Item, I was able to gain experience that not many reporters get. That, the murder trial and other experiences I had there, I feel, have made me a stronger reporter, especially on the hard news side. I am glad to return to Palestine with those experiences and hope to bring them back to the readers here.”

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Texas native Mindy Poehl, of Waco, joined the Herald-Press staff Oct. 18 as the new editor of the East Texas Farm & Ranch News, a weekly publication of the newspaper.

The East Texas Farm & Ranch Newspaper, now in its sixth year of publication, went to a weekly publication this past September. It focuses on issues and news relating to agriculture and rural living.

With a circulation of more than 14,000, the weekly newspaper is distributed in 10 East Texas counties.

Poehl’s experience in writing about agriculture topics made her the perfect choice to lead the East Texas Farm & Ranch News.

“Mindy comes to us with several years experience writing for an agricultural publication and we are excited to have that kind of knowledge and experience in her position. She also earned a degree in journalism from Baylor University,” Herald-Press Publisher Gary Connor said. “I am very pleased to have Mindy on board.”

Born and raised in Waco, Poehl graduated from Baylor University with a degree in journalism and a concentration in communications in December 2003.

“I’ve lived in Waco my whole life, except for two months when I lived in Costa Rica studying Spanish,” she said.

After college graduation, Poehl joined the staff of the Country World Newspaper, an agriculture newspaper in Hewitt, near Waco, with the main office located in Sulphur Springs.

Poehl’s duties at the newspaper were as writer and photographer for three years.

Her last job was in advertising for a real estate company, Coldwell Banker Jim Stewart, Realtors in Waco.

“I’m excited to be putting my journalism skills to use again. I love writing and photography. I love asking questions and finding things out,” Poehl said. “I didn’t grow up on a farm or knowing anything about ag, but I find farming and ranching and animals very interesting. I will get to tell people’s stories to the readers. That’s what’s important to me.

“People in the agriculture industry work hard, love what they do, and are honest. I want to be able to share with the community what is going on around them and what certain people are doing in the agriculture industry.”

Poehl encouraged readers to send her ideas of things they would like to see covered in the Farm & Ranch News.

“If you have any exciting story ideas, please call me or email me,” she said.

When not working, Poehl enjoys doing mixed martial arts “as a tough workout in my spare time -- punching, kicking, sparring, grappling and jiu-jitsu.

“I also love Baylor Lady Bears basketball. Even though I live here, I’m still going to be driving home for their games,” she smiled.

Poehl, who is single, has two dogs -- Scout, a 95-pound Chow-Golden Retriever mix, and Lola, a 5-pound Chihuahua.

“We are excited to move out here and enjoy the country life,” Poehl said.

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Just one week ago, Dawn David joined the Herald-Press as the new advertising sales assistant. She had worked in the transportation industry since 1992.

“I’m looking forward to learning something new, learning about a new industry,” David said Friday.

A Dallas native, David moved with her family to Palestine in July from the Houston area.

“I have family that lives here — my mom (Barbara Smith) was born and raised here, my uncle (Ralph Smith) lives here and my 90-year-old great-aunt (Aline Smith),” David said when asked why her family moved to the Palestine area.

David said she enjoys learning about Palestine’s history because her grandparents, the late Verlin and John Smith, lived in Palestine for many years and owned a farm on FM 315.

“We are very pleased to have Dawn David working in our advertising sales support role,” Publisher Gary Connor said. “Her enthusiasm and energy will be a tremendous asset to our advertising department.”

David and her husband, Keathe, have been married 17 years. They have two sons, Shane, 16, and Cobi, 14.

“In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my children. My youngest son plays select baseball,” David said. “We love animals too.”

 

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