140th TPA convention celebrates community newspapers as leaders in local news

Newly installed TPA President Ramona Ferguson (left) presents Laurie Ezzell Brown with a plaque commemorating her term as president. Officers installed in June 2018 served terms of 18 months as the organization made the transition to January officer installation.

Ramona Ferguson, publisher of the Banner Press Newspaper in Columbus, was elected president of the Texas Press Association at the 140th TPA Convention and Trade Show in Galveston.
She succeeds Laurie Ezzell Brown, who is now chairman of the TPA board of directors. TPA’s transition to officer installation in January is now complete after officers installed in June 2018 served terms spanning 18 months.
Other officers elected at the annual membership meeting are First Vice President Jim Bardwell, Gladewater Mirror; Second Vice President Leonard Woolsey, The Daily News, Galveston; Treasurer Ken Cooke, Fredericksburg Standard Radio-Post; Chairman Laurie Ezzell Brown, Canadian Record; and TPA Executive Director Mike Hodges.
The Ferguson family has a long tradition of active membership in the state and regional press associations. Ferguson’s husband, the late Chad Ferguson, served as TPA president in 2011-12. With the 2020 officer installation they became the first husband and wife to have served as presidents. Both were presidents of the South Texas Press Association as well, Chad serving in 2000-01 and Ramona in 2005-6. In addition, Ramona Ferguson has served two terms as president of the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association, in 1999-2000 and 2016-17. In 2013, the Fergusons were honored by STPA with the Chester Evans Award, which recognizes long and dedicated service to the association. 
Ramona and Chad were among the Ferguson family members who started The Banner Press Newspaper in Columbus in 1985. They became part owners in 1988 and were co-publishers until Chad’s death in 2019. Their newspaper has won numerous awards in annual TPA contests and in STPA and TGCPA regional contests.
Elected directors are Bill Crist, the Snyder Daily News; Roger Estlack, Clarendon Enterprise; Jerry Nye, Marshall News Messenger; Bill Patterson, Denton Record-Chronicle; Cyndy Slovak-Barton, Hays Free Press, Kyle, and Jake Mienke, Palestine Herald-Press.
Appointed directors are Lisa Chappell, the Herald-Banner, Greenville; Rick Craig, Nacogdoches Daily Sentinel; Patrick Dorsey, Austin American Statesman; Regina Keilers, Fayette County Record, La Grange; J.L. Mankin, Big Lake Wildcat; Yvonne Mintz, The Facts, Clute; Jim Moser, Jackson County Herald Tribune, Edna; and Melissa Perner, Ozona Stockman.
Representing the regional press associations on the board are their presidents and vice presidents. The Panhandle Press Association is represented by Tara Huff, the Eagle Press, Fritch and Jeff Blackmon, County Star-News, Shamrock. Representing the North and East Texas Press Association are Brad Blakemore, Van Zandt Newspapers, and Wyndi Veigel, Marshall News Messenger. STPA representatives are Regina Keilors, Fayette County Record, La Grange, and Dan Parker, Port Aransas South Jetty. TGCPA is represented by Jeff Wick, Fayette County Record, La Grange. Representing the West Texas Press Association are Kristen Tribe, Wise County Messenger, Decatur, and Pat Canty, Odessa American.