Bill Horner III is a third-generation newspaperman who followed his grandfather and father as publisher of The Sanford Herald. Now, 45 years after his first byline in that newspaper, and out of semi-retirement, he is part of the ownership group of the News + Record. He has been on the staff of eight different newspapers, beginning with his early days as a sportswriter (which helped support his autograph collection); his last 20 years have been as a publisher. Bill Horner III is a husband (celebrating 31 years married to Lee Ann), father to three incredibly talented kids. He is also a lover of books, travel, the mountains and acoustic guitar music. He is also a slow road cyclist and a keen enthusiast of German Rieslings and Argentinian Malbecs. In high school, his history teacher Mrs. Alice King told his entire class: "Bill is the only person who has permission to do two things at once."
Taylor Heeden is a North Carolina native from Goldsboro. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2020, and she worked in Johnston County as a reporter for The Johnstonian News before coming to Chatham County. She is passionate about telling the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their community, as well as keeping communities aware of the decisions being made impacting them. When she is not typing furiously on her laptop to make deadlines, Taylor can be found watching true crime docuseries while sipping on a cup of coffee or tea.
Ben Rappaport is a Raleigh transplant who moved from Southern California when he was 14. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in December 2021 with a degree in journalism. He is passionate about learning from the people of Chatham County in the pursuit of a just and democratic community. Ben previously worked in radio at WCHL/Chapelboro.com in Chapel Hill and with Bush Radio in Cape Town, South Africa. When not listening to his fellow citizens, Ben can be found waxing poetic about his love of podcasts, public transit, walkable cities or his beloved L.A. Dodgers.
Victor Hensley is the sports editor at the News + Record. At the bright age of 14, he discovered that his jump shot was a little - or a lot - worse than his peers, so he shifted to telling stories about sports rather than playing them. He is an avid sports fan with passionate opinions about even the most mundane sports topics and would debate a brick wall if it came down to it. At the News + Record, his goal is to highlight the wealth of athletic talent and passion rooted in Chatham County. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2020 and has covered sports for The High Point Enterprise and, while at UNC, produced stories for the Durham VOICE and The Greensboro News & Record.
In 1986, Hawks created her dream job: Niche Gardens; a mail-order nursery featuring nursery-propagated wildflowers, shrubs and trees as well as other interesting plants rarely found in local garden centers. She started working as a photographer at the Chatham News & Record two years ago, when she retired. Photography is her passion.
Photography may be his main beat, but as an engineer at heart, Sickles is always working on new ideas and designs. Whether that be for photography or even climbing, he typically stays pretty busy. The last year at Chatham News + Record has been wonderful because he has gotten to meet all sorts of interesting and amazing people. He looks forward to continuing his work in the community and meeting even more of Chatham’s great residents.