Al Sacharov, seasoned journalist, worked as an English writing teacher in New York after working at three newspapers including the Pittsburgh Press. Al has published four books and written plays.
Wandering into the Utah Stories office in 2012, he asked, "How can I help?"
Al began writing and has been editing for Utah Stories since then, including for a time from Peru.
He is currently writing a memoir, "Gringito: My Life in Peru."
Alison has been writing human interest stories and highlighting local businesses for Utah Stories since she graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Communications in 2014. She has also contributed a few photographs to accompany her stories.
Wanting to learn about Utahâ€™s local businesses and activities is what led Alison to start reading Utah Stories and eventually writing for them.
She transferred to Salt Lake City from Houston, Texas with her job with a major airline. She is reluctant to call Utah home even though she has lived here for more than 30 years. Alison was born in Texas, but has also lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, and Idaho. Sheâ€™s still trying to figure out where to call home, but she likes the west the best.
Working for an airline gives her the opportunity to pursue her passion for traveling. If sheâ€™s not working or traveling, she is hanging out with her husband.
Cathy McKitrick discovered her love of storytelling in midlife, graduating from Weber State University in 1998 with a journalism degree in hand.
She covered local government for the Standard-Examiner until 2005, when she was hired by the Salt Lake Tribune. During that eight-year adventure, she covered local and state government, poverty, homelessness, the opioid overdose crisis, and more.
Following a mass layoff, she returned to the Standard-Examiner in 2013, again covering local government, opioid overdoses, cannabis and other health care issues.
Cathy retired from the Standard-Examiner in April 2018, but her passion for journalism remains intact. She now freelances and serves on the board of the Utah Investigative Journalism Project.
In her spare time, this grandma enjoys a leisurely run, a good laugh, and catching up with family and friends.
She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/cathy.mckitrick.7, and Twitter at @catmck.
DANNY B. STEWART
Danny grew up on a haunted racehorse farm in Vineyard, Utah, where he spent most of his youth chasing after the â€œwater monstersâ€ that lurked in the swamp that bordered his home. These haunted experiences helped to mold him into the creative he is today. He is a traditions bearer, historian, educator, entertainer, writer and storyteller who specializes in folklore, mythology and legend, with a special emphasis on everything that is â€œspookyâ€ about Utah.
He is a former adjunct instructor of Humanities through the Arts at UVU, and is the creator of The Original Provo Utah Ghost Tour. Danny has collected more than one hundred and seventy original pieces of local folklore that will soon be preserved by Brigham Young University's Library in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.
Deann Armes, AKA â€œThe Ogdenite Writerâ€, is a freelance journalist with an eye for unpolished beauty. This vision landed her in â€œuntamedâ€ Ogden where she relocated to seek offbeat adventures with her kids in 2015. She loves unearthing the unseen in Utahâ€™s lands, history, culture, and people â€” and bringing it to light through story. When not writing, Deann is out hiking, kayaking, or exploring Ogdenâ€™s Historic 25th Street and her old stomping grounds in Salt Lake for the best food, drinks, and stories.
HEATHER L. KING
Heather is a food and beverage writer and anonymous restaurant critic for a variety of publications in Utah. She's happy to have reported on Utah's changing food landscape for more than 20 years. When not dining out, you'll often find her at local farmers markets shopping for fresh produce and meeting local vendors.
During the pandemic lockdown, she spent her time perfecting gin cocktails â€” often using locally produced spirits and garnishes. She shares her love of great food with her husband and two Great Danes.
Her passion for traveling is fueled by experiencing the food cultures of other countries and regions. She owns SLCLunches.com, and you'll find her sharing her favorite dishes @slclunches.
Jennifer Jones is a paranormal researcher and author from Ogden, Utah. She has been writing about the true history behind urban legends, haunted places, and other high strangeness since 2012 with her blog, The Dead History. She also wrote the book Ghosts of Ogden, Brigham City and Logan. When she is not digging through old newspapers and other historical documents, she is usually working on creepy miniatures or relaxing with her cat, Boo.
Storyteller Kristen Clay founded the original, award-winning Ogden and Salt Lake City Ghost Tours in 2002. Impressed by Utah's rich culture and history, Kristen set out to study its stories. As she began interviewing the merchants and residents of Northern Utah, she came across the usual tales of pioneers, immigrants, hardships, and survival, but was surprised to hear many bizarre and interesting ghost stories among them.
In addition to being creator, and director of Story Tours: Ogden and SLC Ghost Tours, Hysterical History Tours, and custom storytelling concerts, Kristen has circled the globe as a storyteller, actor, writer, teacher, and perpetual student.
She is known for bringing various cultures alive to audiences around the world. She has a passion for healing and inspirational stories that she is often privileged to share in schools, prisons, rehab facilities, and youth-in-custody.
Kristen is the co-author of three books. Haunted Salt Lake City, Spooks and Saints, and the recently released, Ghostly Tales of Salt Lake City for middle-grades.
Her greatest joy is watching her audiences and readers make connections with different cultures and experiences, then remember their own stories.
Mike has been a Utah stories contributor of photography and articles since 2012. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, nature and portrait photography, whisky and craft beer tastings.
Earlier this year he earned his masters degree in library science with a concentration in archiving from Emporia State University.
â€œMy favorite thing about Utah has got to be the history,â€ Mike says. â€œThere are so many weird and interesting things that have happened here. The outdoor scene is pretty great as well; summer or winter, thereâ€™s always something to do, and lots of great people to do it with.â€
The reason he likes contributing to Utah Stories? â€œThe people I get to meet. I get to play an active role in spreading the news about what makes Utah great, and I get to do it with my camera.â€
M. SHANE RICHINS
M. Shane Richins was born in Utah and is now a small business owner in the Salt Lake valley. In between those endpoints, he has moved around a bit, mostly within Utah, but has also lived in other states and has done some world traveling. In the end, he found that Utah, with it's extremely varied terrain, is the most magical.
As far as writing goes, his passion is comedy. As far as reading goes, he is a big fan of non-fiction, specifically books about science and skepticism. Beyond literature, he loves outdoor sports such as rock climbing, paddle boarding and hiking with his dogs.
In the past few years, Shane has involved himself in music and is learning to play guitar and bagpipes. When the world wasnâ€™t ending, if he wasnâ€™t in the mountains, he could be found around music; either listening to local musicians, playing at a jam, or dancing to music somewhere.
Shane really wants to experience everything, and there is much to experience and share in Utah.
Palak Jayswal is a Salt-Lake based, award-winning journalist. She has written for several Utah publications such as The Salt Lake Tribune, SLUG Magazine, and The Daily Utah Chronicle.
Palak has been involved in projects with the Poynter Institute and NPRâ€™s Next Generation Radio. She currently works at KUER where she handles all things digital. She aspires to one day be a music critic, and her favorite part of being a journalist is being able to listen and share other peopleâ€™s stories.
Pamela Manson is an experienced journalist who covered numerous beats at two statewide papers â€• The Salt Lake Tribune and The Arizona Republic â€• and worked at Texas Lawyer newspaper in Dallas and the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She has won many awards for her reporting and serves on the board of the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which advocates for a free press and works to inspire the next generation of journalists. Pamela, who is now a freelance writer, grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and earned a bachelorâ€™s degree from the University of Kansas School of Journalism.
SÃ¸ren Simonsen is Executive Director of the Jordan River Commission, where he works to conserve and restore the Jordan River and its surrounding natural environment, expand outdoor recreation opportunities, and serve as a technical advisor for responsible riverfront development. SÃ¸ren is an architect and urban designer by trade. He served two four-year terms on the Salt Lake City Council, and has led numerous businesses, nonprofits, and community and professional organizations, as a champion for social enterprise, urban design, active transportation, public health, ecology, environmental stewardship and resource conservation, arts and culture, and human rights. In his free time, SÃ¸ren loves to hike, bike and paddle in Utahâ€™s great outdoors. You can find him regularly riding and floating the Jordan River Parkway.
Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine, and travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, music, and reading, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
Ted is also the author of the Utah Bites newsletter, which is published in partnership with Utah Stories. Before moving to Utah, Ted lived in New York City, and numerous states in the US, as well as in various countries overseas, Spain, Japan, Canada, Brazil, and Mexico.
He earned a Masterâ€™s Degree in Anthropology from the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research.
Tim Haran is an experienced marketing and communications professional with expertise in social storytelling and digital brand-building strategy. In 2018 he founded Utah Beer News as a project of Tim Haran Digital LLC. The journalistic-style website and accompanying podcast are dedicated to delivering stories important to the Utah craft beer community.
Prior to launching his consulting business, Tim spent nearly a decade at a billion-dollar nutritional supplements company. He directed the companyâ€™s expansive social media presence, which had grown to 90 web properties and more than 750,000 followers/subscribers globally. The companyâ€™s flagship Whatâ€™s Up, USANA? blog was inducted into the PR News Platinum Hall of Fame in 2014.
USANA social media either had won or been a finalist for more than 75 awards and Tim has been named PR News Blogger of the Year, as well as Digital Communicator of the Year and Social Media Professional of the Year.
Tim earned a masterâ€™s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley and spent several years as a newspaper and multimedia journalist before joining USANA Health Sciences in 2007. Tim lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Amy, and his Wheaten Terrier mix, Wrigley. He is a longtime Chicago Cubs fan and an avid homebrewer. Follow Tim on social media at @timharan or @utahbeernews.
PHOTOGRAPHERS AND ILLUSTRATORS
Braden Latimer is a lifelong Utah native with a passion for photography, videography, and capturing the essence of people and nature.
A graduate of the University of Utah in communications, Braden (or Biddy, to his closest friends) stumbled into photography, first as a hobby, before growing his work through freelance and full-time gigs.
Braden has been a contributor to Utah Stories since 2017. When he isn't traveling the world shooting vibrant photos and video, Braden enjoys hiking, camping, and road-tripping to concerts. His loves include good kombucha, good people, and anything with four legs, fur, and a tail.
Mediocre guy who has loved snapping photos of strangers for as long as he was drawing stick figures â€¦ which is a very long time. But it was only 10 years ago that he decided to pick up a big, clunky DSLR, and has since produced a bunch of photos ranging from portraits and landscapes to food and street photography. He consumes more coffee than he cares to admit, and loves walking barefoot wherever heâ€™s allowed.
John Taylor is a photographer based in Salt Lake City. Armed with his grandfatherâ€™s vintage camera as a young boy, he started to see the world through the lens. Even today, he enjoys connecting with people on assignment or location, or just out for a walk with his wife, son, and rescued greyhound. He never leaves home without a camera and is always on a quest for the best shot. To see more of his work, visit his website at www.visionfoto.com.