Contributors: November 2013

Richard Bak, Dorothy Hernandez, Veronica Soderlund

Richard Bak

Like most baby boomers, Richard Bak, who contributed this month’s story about JFK’s assassination, remembers exactly where he was when he heard President John F. Kennedy had been shot. “I was 9 years old, inside a classroom at Epiphany Catholic Grade School on Detroit’s west side,” he says. (One of Bak’s fourth-grade classmates that day was future “Mayor of Midtown” Sue Mosey.) “We all went next door to church to pray. What sticks with me was the overall sense of shock and grief. Even as a kid, you picked up on this feeling of great loss. I saw those black-trimmed JFK funeral cards tucked into prayer books for years.” Bak has a small collection of Detroit-related JFK memorabilia, including color home-movie footage of Kennedy’s Labor Day appearance in Cadillac Square and an unused ballot sheet from the 1960 election with the names of Kennedy and Jerry Swainson on it. Bak is convinced there was a second shooter in Dallas. “Those who believe in the lone-gunman theory think Oswald was some kind of sniper because he’d been a sharpshooter in the Marines,” says Bak, a former Marine. “But qualifying on the rifle range means shooting at stationary, not moving, targets. And Oswald’s scores never qualified him higher than sharpshooter, the intermediate of three ratings. I rated an expert’s badge, shot 20 points higher than Oswald’s best score, and I know I never could’ve placed three rounds within 6 or 7 seconds with a bolt-action rifle like he supposedly did. I’m not a conspiracy nut. I just think logic and forensics point to a second gunman. But who and why? I don’t know.”

Dorothy Hernandez

After a career in newspapers, including The Detroit News and Chicago Tribune’s RedEye, Dorothy Hernandez is excited to join Hour Detroit as a copy editor. The Chicago native has also written about food for various print publications and websites. Her passion for good food, especially in terms of health, access, and sustainability, inspired her to take a break in her journalism career in 2009 to enroll in AmeriCorps. During her year of service, she helped teach low-income families how to cook healthy meals on a budget through Cooking Matters Michigan classes. When she isn’t copy editing, the Grosse Pointe Park resident loves to explore Detroit through taking photos and checking out new restaurants.

Veronica Soderlund

A former intern from Hour Media’s Custom Publishing division, Veronica Soderlund recently earned her bachelor’s in Digital Media Design and joins Hour Detroit as our new graphic designer. Soderlund is passionate about traveling with her husband and loves finding new places to visit that allow her to immerse herself into the local way of life and atmosphere. “It’s exciting to step out of everyday life and into something new and different,” she says. She also enjoys spending summer afternoons at her parents’ lakeside home in Anchorville for family parties, bonfires, and generally enjoying life. Soderlund is thrilled to be starting her career with Hour and is looking forward to the new adventure this will provide right here at home.

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