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SPOTLIGHT
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Pittsburg reporter honored for arts coverage

Published on -9/2/2013, 12:59 AM

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PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) -- In Pittsburg, the night of dress rehearsal in local community theaters are simply known as "Nikki Nights."

That's the night when, for the past 46 years, Pittsburg Morning Sun reporter Nikki Patrick visits to watch the production and write a review.

The Morning Sun reports (http://bit.ly/16UmsO6) Patrick was asked back this past week for the opening of "Steel Magnolias" at the city's Memorial Auditorium for special recognition. It was chance for the community and the Pittsburg Community Theater to bestow honors on Patrick for her support of the arts in southeast Kansas.

Monica Murnan, a member of the Pittsburg city council, proclaimed Aug. 28, 2013, as Nikki Patrick Day in Pittsburg. Murnan said that since Jan. 8, 1967, Patrick had been a source of information for arts in Pittsburg, from theater to music and other exhibits, as well as coverage of events put on by the parks and recreation department.

The veteran reporter has also created and written a section of the newspaper called Patrick's People where she highlights members of the community in a variety of walks of life.

Judy Westhoff, co-president of the Pittsburg Community Theater, presented Patrick with an ornamental piece of glass.

"We want to recognize you tonight for everything you have done for us," Westhoff said. "It's been many, many years and you have continued to support the Pittsburg community theater as well as the other schools in the area and you have done so much for the arts of this area."

Jason Huffman, manager of the city's Memorial Auditorium, said the building's green room where performers wait before shows would be renamed the "Nikki Patrick Green Room," an announcement that drew applause from the audience.

"We have this plaque that will be installed outside the green room and it says, 'In heartfelt appreciation of your dedication and support to performing arts in Southeast Kansas,"' Huffman said.

Patrick and her husband, Steven Teller, met when he taught a seminar on the works of playwrights Marlowe and Jonson. Patrick and Teller's first date was a televised production of "The Duchess of Malfi." Patrick took their son, Jamie, to his first play when he was 10 days old.

"To be honored for doing something I enjoy so much, you might as well honor me for eating chocolate," Patrick said.

Andrew Nash, managing editor of The Morning Sun, said the honor for Patrick was fitting and appropriate.

"Nikki has given everyone, from the smallest children to the grandest stars, an ear to listen, a place to share their story and a pen ready to write," Nash said. "Her devotion to the arts has been apparent throughout the years. It is fitting to see the green room be renamed in her honor, as she has always made anyone who takes the stage feel honored and welcome."

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