Each member of our team brings experiences from a variety of personal and professional backgrounds, education and training. Collectively, we’ve acquired and developed skills and interests across a broad spectrum. We’ve invested in our families and homes, we’re involved in our community and we’re passionate about keeping it local. We know what it takes to operate a small business and we know the satisfaction that comes from staying connected to the people and businesses that stay connected to us.
fran johnson, publisher[email@example.com]
Fran’s political idealism in her teens translated into specifics of community service during the years that she raised her daughters, taking roles that ranged from girl scout leader, choir mom and PTA volunteer to local political office, all while sharing management of a family-owned design/manufacturing business. A native of Baltimore County, she had lived in Philadelphia’s Main Line and in London before relocating to Harford County, where she and her husband Wayne are renovating an 1890s shotgun house in Bel Air. Despite the enticements of gardening and handcrafts and visits to her daughters in San Francisco and NY, Fran remains committed to community involvement. She’s an active member of the Board of the Bel Air Alliance, volunteering at community events throughout the year. Her favorite event is the outdoor movie series in Bel Air – stop by and say hello when you buy your popcorn.
sandy kapinos, managing/creative director[firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sandy utilizes her natural talents and flair, along with her business and corporate communication degrees from the University of Baltimore. She has been in the design and marketing industry for over 20 years, initially for other firms and for the last 14 years as the owner of Sonipak Design & Marketing, providing design, advertising and marketing services for regional and national businesses. She currently balances her agency work with the welcome demands of motherhood and assisting her husband Kevin with the operations of Kapinos Builders, a home improvement company. In addition to volunteering at school, church and activities for her three children Garrett, Lars & Gwenivere, Sandy served on the Board of the Rockfield Foundation and participates in coordinating fund-raising events for a number of local non-profit organizations. She’s a devoted friend and animal lover (with one crazy Irish Setter and one little Chi-weenie), passionate concert-goer, fascinated by medieval history and art, and an energetic gardener and cook.
maria knott, circulation & advertising sales[email@example.com]
After earning her MS in mathematics, Maria rediscovered her real passion in art. She took a few detours through teaching, property management, antique dealership and home renovation, as well as volunteering with community groups such as the Harford Artists Association, to establish herself as an award-winning portraitist and muralist. Her passion for artistic expression has its roots in her commitment to her community in northern Harford County. In following her own dream, Maria "gets it" about small business owners and about supporting local endeavors. Like most of the team, she’s a pet owner, with a menagerie of dogs, ducks and parrots.
melissa mcsorley, advertising sales manager[firstname.lastname@example.org]
Melissa's affection for Harford County dates to 1986, when she moved here after graduation from high school. Her passion for Keeping it Local and her appreciation for the economic realities of small businesses is based on her experience in banking and retail sales and as a business owner. Most recently, her role as Events and Promotions Coordinator for the Bel Air Downtown Alliance widened her connections with the business community and deepened her understanding of the complex interconnections among local businesses. Melissa describes her interests as “spending time on the soccer and lacrosse fields, supporting son Seamus’ musical talents, being pampered at Kaye Edwards Salon & Spa (where eldest daughter Kahli is a stylist), motorcycle rides with husband Tom and date nights during football season, exercising, caring for our dog Angus, dinner around the kitchen island, wine with girlfriends, thrift store shopping and the need to find the ultimate treasure!” Harford's Heart has found a treasure in Melissa, who adds another dimension to our team.
lisa jones-butz, fashion & style columnist, the style file[email@example.com]
After graduation from C. Milton Wright High School, Lisa struck out from home to 'spread her wings' and pursue her interests in art and design. After graduation from University of Baltimore, with a degree in Communications and History, along with independent art history studies in Europe and attending styling school, she became an educator for the Wella Corporation, training other stylists and assisting on and off stage at national shows and seminars. Her reputation led to her co-hosting a monthly makeover segment on Fox 45 TV, as well as being Beauty Editor of Smart Women magazine. Marriage and a family (8 year old twins and a 6 year old son) reorganized priorities and she returned to Harford County. "Harford County is home; it's familiar and comfortable, and the school's are great. There's so much going on here that I had to move away to appreciate!" Lisa is the owner of Subtle Rebellion, a salon and art gallery, featuring monthly shows for regional artists. Her sense of style, as well as her sense of place, gives her a unique perspective for The Style File, bringing global and national beauty, health and style trends to Harford County.
vonnie winslow crist, literary columnist, the writer's block[firstname.lastname@example.org]
Vonnie’s life-long interest in the arts encompasses both writing and illustration. She earned her BS in Art-Education from Towson University in 1974, returning 30 years later to earn her MS in Professional Writing. In addition to writing "The Writers Block" for Harford’s Heart, she is staff illustrator for "The Vegetarian Journal," editor of "The Gunpowder Review," and occasionally teaches creative writing for Harford Community College. She has lived in Jarrettsville for more than 35 years, drawing inspiration for her writing and art from gardening, animals and folklore. A Maryland State Arts Council AiE Poet for over a decade, Vonnie is author-illustrator of "Essential Fables," "River of Stars," and "Leprechaun Cake & Other Tales;" editor of the anthologies "Lower Than the Angels" and "Through a Glass Darkly." Her fiction and poems appear regularly in mainstream and speculative magazines.
catherine butrim, advertising sales & staff writer[email@example.com]
Catherine's passions for cooking, pets, fashion, craft and writing combine with her experience in independent sales and business consultation. As a free-lance writer with features appearing in publications such as Threads, Sew News, Feline Wellness, Antique Trader, Clavier and more, she has honed her research and creative writing skills to inform, entertain and inspire. Her blog, A Seamaiden's Dream, combines many of her interests, which include discovering and celebrating all things local in Harford County, her home for the last 16 years. A true romantic at heart, Catherine reunited with her childhood sweetheart via the internet (yes, it really does happen!) and they are now engaged.
darin d'onofrio, music columnist, the plug[firstname.lastname@example.org]
In another era, Darin would be known as a Renaissance Man – embracing a wide range of skills, interests and experience. He's a successful realtor (with Long & Foster), an Instructor for State Certification of Responsible Alcohol Service, part-time Supervisor at Fallston Seafood, and a consultant for the hospitality industry. The former owner of Otter Point Station, his past also includes: corporate Manager for EcoLab and competitor Chemtron, as well as his own company that provided services for the food and restaurant industry. An accomplished musician, Darin has performed throughout the region, both solo and in duo with local musicians Patrick Redmond and Ralph Donato; in November he'll be headlining in Germany at the memorial concert for Chris Jones. Most intriguing is Darin's passion for history: founding member of the group that fought to preserve Tudor Hall, he is steeped in local history; he's also a Civil War re-enactor and sutler, providing blacksmithing for other re-enactors at events throughout the mid-Atlantic region. His wife, Jenny, creates authentic clothing for re-enactors or interpreters through her website. Tying all these diverse interests together is Darin's affection for Harford County – he's lived in Fallston since 1969, attended Fallston and Bel Air High Schools, and he shares with the Harford's Heart team a commitment to Keeping it Local.
chip emely, technology services & website development[email@example.com]
The efficiency of our website and email accounts is due to technical support from Chip, through his firm, CMTS Consulting. He and his wife Mandie launched the company in 1991, offering web development, network integration, basic programming and professional photography services to small businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region from their home office in Street. Their business shares their home with their two sons, Cameron and Max. Chip and Mandie also provide internet marketing services, and have recently applied their organizational skills to management of sports events, such as the Chick-fil-A®/Mike Stankovic Regional Soccer Tournament. Chip's first-hand management experience, along with his considerable technical skills, enables him to find solutions for technical support that work best for other small business owners.
howie & dawn hundley, columnists & fishing enthusiasts,[firstname.lastname@example.org]
fishing harford's waters
Howard Hundley has lived in Harford County since 1968 and has been fishing Harford's streams since he was 3. His first catch, on an overcast morning in May, was a 4" perch and he became hooked on the experience, connecting with nature and the thrill of the sport. He has completed courses in fly casting and fly tying and is an avid fly fisherman. Howie has fished nearly every inch of the many streams in the county and has written about his adventures for Maryland's Fisherman's Annual. Dawn has lived in Harford County for more than 30 years. She has learned to fish fairly well from Howie and enjoys tying flies. Like Howie, she is a talented chef and enjoys creating new ways to cook their catch on the rare occasion that they decide to keep it.
dr. ann lane, clinical psychologist, what's on your mind?[email@example.com]
Dr. Ann Lane is a clinical psychologist, practicing in Bel Air. Her column in Harford's Heart, What's On Your Mind, explores themes that are universal, to provide some insight into the commonality that we share. Rather than a traditional 'pop psychology' advice column, with answers to personal questions, What's On Your Mind offers a professional perspective and suggests small changes that can help adjust our outlook. Those who know Dr. Ann, through her non-profit foundation Paws 4 Life of Harford County, through her vibrant paintings (featured on the cover of the September/October 2011 issue of Harford's Heart), are attracted to her positive outlook and curious mind. Her common sense approach to life and her zest for people (and pets) are refreshing and inspiring.
debbie limpert, health columnist, healthy choices & staying fit[firstname.lastname@example.org]
An enthusiasm for helping others and a firm belief that excellence is achieved through commitment and effort are behind Debbie's personal and professional life choices. The energy that she brings to teaching at Homestead-Wakefield Elementary School (with a Masters Degree in guidance counseling) and as a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, is a testament to her passion for a healthy, active lifestyle. Debbie is also actively involved in youth sports, having coached field hockey for more than 20 years, and currently serving as a Commissioner for the Fallston Rec Council. Clients at Forest Hill Health and Fitness are encouraged by her common sense approach to fitness and her knack of presenting the most ambitious challenges in attainable, achievable goals. Her two daughters and husband share her enthusiasms and readers are inspired by the recommendations and helpful tips in her regular columns – Staying Fit and Healthy Choices.
ryan nicotra, arts columnist, state of the arts in harford county[email@example.com]
As Vice-Chair of the Harford County Cultural Arts Board, Ryan Nikotra is uniquely positioned to provide our regular feature State of the Arts in Harford County, reporting on the activities of local arts organizations. In addition to producing and directing theater productions in Harford County as founder and Company Director of the BOOM Theater Company, he has performed with various theater and dance companies in Maryland and Delaware. Ryan is a graduate of the Theater Arts program at Flagler College and hopes to pursue continued arts education and professional opportunities. He is a vocal advocate for Center for the Arts and shares the commitment to Keeping It Local, promoting awareness and support for arts groups in Harford County.
julie noble, staff writer[firstname.lastname@example.org]
Julie's roots in Harford County stretch back to when a young army officer from Montana met a pretty clerk at Edgewood Arsenal. The young couple married and moved to Tacoma, Washington, where our staff writer was raised. Summers were spent in Harford County, where Julie's mother's family has lived for generations. Memories of those summer visits, as well as the family connections, drew Julie back to Harford County on her retirement. In between, Julie was an actor and teacher, a trainer of guide dogs and therapy dogs, and a writer, living in New York, Chicago, Paris, Tacoma, and, now, Jarrettsville. Insights gained from her travels and wide experience give her a unique perspective on the community and character of Harford County. Like many on our team, Julie owns two dogs: Louie, a mixed-breed male with the enthusiasm of a puppy; and Petunia, a black lab, with a mellow temperament befitting her training as a former Guide Dog.
denise sawyers, advertising sales & staff writer[email@example.com]
In common with many members of our team, Denise has volunteered extensively with her children's scouting, church and school groups, while juggling the responsibilities of work and home. Her involvement with Women of the Moose has helped raise funds for a range of community services. She is Guest Services Manager for Deer Creek Overlook, the 4-H facility in northern Harford County, coordinating events at the pavilions and lodge, as well as developing the annual Bridal Fair. Denise has the ability to identify a need in the community and create a means to meet that need. As a sales executive for Chesapeake Publishing, she was recognized repeatedly as "salesperson of the month." She lives in Street, with husband David and their three children, as well as Shelby, their yellow lab.
amy smith, online calendar coordinator[firstname.lastname@example.org]
The attention to detail required for the production of our calendar of events – both online and in the bimonthly magazine – is matched by resourcefulness in researching and screening the many entries that we receive from community groups, individuals and businesses. Fortunately, as our "Calendar Girl", Amy brings a natural level of organization that she heightened in her years of administrative work at Towson University's Advancement Division and Foundation Offices. Like many of our staff, Amy is a "transplant" who quickly became a fan of Harford County after moving here from Parkville. "You feel like you're out in the country, but you're close to everything – which makes it easy to Keep it Local!" In addition to volunteering at school for her three sons and being involved with their sports activities, Amy participates in many community events. She's always interested in finding more events to include in our calendar, which is updated online every week.
andy walsh, culinary columnist & enthusiast, eating seasonal[email@example.com]
In today's fast-paced world, it's important to Andy to slow down as often as possible to appreciate food with family and friends. Even though he works full time as a government contractor, volunteers coaching soccer for his two daughters, and is starting a new catering business, our favorite foodie still finds time to plan and prepare meals for his family of four. After earning a B.S. from Towson University, Andy worked for several years in the food industry including at Phillips Seafood and Sutton Place Gourmet. He also has a strong background in project management. Andy credits his combination of planning skills and knowledge of food as the keys to his success making healthy and good-tasting food. The diversity of Andy's background and experience can be seen in his recipes, but his main goal is to help educate families on the benefits of healthy eating. Eat well, be healthy.