Location: 36 W. Liberty St.
Sumter, SC 29150

Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Main Office: (803) 774-1200

Circulation/Delivery Issues: (803) 774-1258

Submit a news tip: newstip@theitem.com
Report delivery issues or get subscriber help: circulation@theitem.com
Submit press release information: pressrelease@theitem.com
Contact the sales department: marketing@theitem.com
Write a letter to the editor: editor@theitem.com (please include your full name and address)
Inquire about video coverage or commercial video services: studio@theitem.com


To contact a specific employee, find his or her contact information below.


Vince Johnson, Publisher
Office (803) 774-1200, email: vince@theitem.com

Vince was named publisher of The Sumter Item in September 2017. Prior to coming to Sumter, he led newspaper and digital operations in Atlanta, northern Los Angeles and south Georgia, and he has been a regular speaker on media innovation in newspapers for more than a decade. He is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and lives in historic downtown Sumter with his wife, Brooke.



Customer Service (Circulation & Classified)

Kathy Stafford, Customer Service Manager
Office (803) 774-1212, email: kathy@theitem.com

Kathy, a long-time resident of Sumter, has been employed by The Sumter Item for more than 23 years. She is the customer service manager, legal notices clerk, insert coordinator and layout paginator. She is married to Robbie Stafford and has three children and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family, doing arts and crafts and bowling and works with a small nonprofit organization.


Linda Pekuri, Customer Service
Office (803) 774-1231, email: linda@theitem.com

Linda emerged from retirement and joined The Item as a customer service representative in March 2021. She gained her customer service experience while serving adults and children in Minnesota, South Dakota and South Carolina as a dietitian and public health professional for 35 years. Born and raised through her teenage years in Brooklyn, New York, and as a young adult in St. Paul, Minnesota, Linda calls herself a “Yankee transplant.” A Sumter resident since 1991, she is the devoted wife of Mark Pekuri and proud mother of their adult son, Aaron.



Karen Cave, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1242, email: karen@theitem.com

Karen was born and raised in Centerville, Tennessee. Being a prior Air Force wife, she had the opportunity to travel all over Europe by living at Sembach Air Force Base and Lindsey Air Station in Germany. She also lived at Eglin Air Force Base in Ft. Walton Beach and at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida. She has called Sumter home since 1993. She has worked for The Sumter Item since February 2002. She truly enjoys being an advertising sales representative because she gets to help local businesses and watch our community grow. She’s married to Robert Cave. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren. She attends Alice Drive Baptist Church, and her hobbies include traveling, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.


Devin McDonald, Sales Representative
Office (803) 983-0786, email: devin@theitem.com

Devin was born and raised right here in Sumter and graduated from Lakewood High School. Before joining The Sumter Item, he had been working in the health care industry for 10 years, doing sales and management for the last six. He is excited to be working for The Sumter Item, where he can be involved in enhancing Sumter and being more involved in the community. He married his wife, Kyndal, in 2012, and they have two children, Ella Rose and Ben. He and his family attend Christ Community Church.


Mark Pekuri, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1274, email: mark@theitem.com

Mark has been in sales, management, marketing and advertising for 28 years and has worked at The Sumter Item for about 13 years as an advertising and marketing sales representative. Born in 1961 to Robert and Charlotte Pekuri, Mark is the youngest of five children. He graduated in 1979 from Westwood High School in Ishpeming, Michigan, and moved to North Carolina in 1980 before calling South Carolina home in 1993. He married his wife, Linda, in 1995 and has three sons, Eric, Jared and Aaron. He is a member of Bethesda Church of God.


Xavier Platt, Sales Representative
Office (803) 774-1211, email: xavier@theitem.com

Upon graduating cum laude from Morris College in December 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, where he made the dean’s list for his last three semesters, Xavier joined the sales team at The Sumter Item in February 2019. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, he is the youngest of two boys. His family moved to Wedgefield when he was 4, where he attended F.J. DeLaine Elementary School. He then lived in Virginia for three years before returning to Sumter for his eighth-grade year at Furman Middle School and a year and a half at Lakewood High School and finishing high school at Stonewall Jackson Senior High School in Virginia at the top of his class. He says his greatest accomplishment is his daughter, Kehlani, who was born in 2018.



Kayla Green, Executive Editor
Office (803) 774-1235, email: kayla@theitem.com

Kayla has worked in local news since 2009. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, she received her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida and has worked in Gainesville, Tel Aviv, Atlanta and now Sumter. Having always had a strong pull toward feature writing and storytelling but having been thrown into the crime and courts beat as a new reporter, she has learned the critical importance of providing information people need to know and holding the powerful accountable while also writing about hope and triumph. Of telling stories spanning the spectrum of humanity. She joined The Sumter Item in October 2017 after first being named editor at the Forsyth County News in Georgia and has been awarded for reporting on topics ranging from heroin addiction to animal rescue to arts and entertainment.


Micah Green, Chief Digital Officer
Office (803) 774-1200, email: micah@theitem.com

Born in Texas and having lived in Mississippi, Georgia and now South Carolina, Micah is a product of the South. He picked up a camera at his short-staffed newspaper after graduating from Mississippi State and has been telling stories through the lens since. His photography has received awards by both the Georgia Associated Press and South Carolina Press Association, including Photo of the Year twice. He started at The Sumter Item in October 2017.


Dennis Brunson, Sports Editor
Office (803) 774-1241, email: dennis@theitem.com

Dennis has been working fulltime in The Sumter Item sports department since September 1985. Before that, he delivered the newspaper as a teenager and worked in the circulation area and as a stringer while in college.



Rhonda Barrick, Newsroom Manager
Office (803) 774-1264, email: rhonda@theitem.com

A military brat, Rhonda has been a Sumter resident practically her entire life. She has been with The Sumter Item for more than 40 years beginning as a file clerk and now is the newsroom manager (mom).



Ty Cornett, Director of Video Production
Office (803) 774-1200, email: ty@theitem.com

Hailing from Galax, Virginia, Ty joined The Sumter Item in December 2017 to help launch the paper’s digital news and video services department, Studio Sumter, which has transformed The Sumter Item into a multimedia news company. Ty earned a degree in graphic design from Radford University in Virginia.



Kareem Wilson, Audience Development Manager/Reporter
Office (803) 774-1227, email: kareem@theitem.com

Kareem is a genuine Southern man born and raised in Georgetown. After graduating from Winthrop University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in theater and mass communications, he covered several topics on health, community and education as a reporter for The Georgetown Times before joining The Sumter Item’s newsroom. While in college, he gained experience as a writer forThe Roddey McMillan Record and as a reporter at The Charlotte Post. Through these experiences, he has learned the importance of information and the power of people’s stories in bringing change to their communities. Always a visual thinker and storyteller, he is working to help find new and creative ways to bring local news to underserved communities.


Bruce Mills, Reporter
Office (803) 774-1228, email: bruce@theitem.com

A Sumter resident since 2002, Bruce has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of journalism, communications and community and economic research. After working on the news copy desk at The Sumter Item from 2002-06, Bruce served nine years as a research analyst in the greater Sumter region to include Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties. His field of research included area K-12 education and the local colleges, workforce development and business and industry trends and statistics. Bruce’s beats now include education, business and industry and general assignments. Bruce is married, and he and his wife are members of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Sumter.


Shelbie Goulding, Reporter
Office (803) 774-1272, email: shelbie@theitem.com

Shelbie is a born-and-raised Hoosier from Northeast Indiana who covers cops and courts, local government and general assignment beats. After graduating from Kent State University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she joined the team in The Sumter Item’s newsroom. While in college, she gained experience as a writer then senior editor then managing editor of The Burr Magazine and as a columnist, reporter and assigning editor at The Kent Stater. She also wrote for the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company and Scriptype Publishing.


Tim Leible, Assistant Sports Editor
Office (803) 774-1221, email: tim@theitem.com

Tim joined The Sumter Item's sports department in 2019 after covering high school sports professionally in Missouri for four years, most recently as the sports editor for The Rolla Daily News and as a sports reporter at The Lake Today before that. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.


Sandra Holbert, Newsroom Clerk/Obituary Copy Editor
Office (803) 774-1226, email: sandra@theitem.com

Sandra has worked as the newsroom and obituary clerk and copy editor for The Sumter Item for more than 19 years. She grew up in Sumter and graduated from Hillcrest High School in 1984. She is married to Richie Holbert and has two children, Cheyenne Harper, who is married to Staff Sgt. Bobby Harper, and Shayne McJunkin. She enjoys antique shopping, reading, fishing and spending time with her family and dogs.


Sammy Way, Archivist
Office (803) 774-1200

A lifelong Sumter resident, Sammy now gives back to his hometown as a historian and archivist. Sammy taught history at Sumter High School and coached football, basketball, track, cross country, tennis and golf, winning three state championships in track. He was named High School Coach of the Year in 1981 and ’83-’85. He has taught at Central Carolina Technical College and earned bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina. Sammy is the curator of the Sumter County Military Museum and helps in the orientation of new recruits at Shaw Air Force Base. Sammy and his wife, Rita, have two daughters and two grandchildren.

Ivy Moore, Arts and Culture Contributor
Office (803) 774-1200, email: pressrelease@theitem.com

Sharron Haley, Clarendon County Contributor
Office (803) 774-1200, email: pressrelease@theitem.com

Bryn Smyth, News Intern
Office (803) 774-1200, email: bryn@theitem.com


Creative Services

Jivon Adams, Graphic Designer/User Experience
Office (803) 774-1244, email: jivon@theitem.com

Raised here in Sumter, Jivon served for six years in the U.S. Air Force as a heavy equipment operator, during which time he started at the University of South Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 2020. While in college, he gained experience as a designer working for 826CHI, a children’s book publishing company, creating social media campaigns. He loves creating ads that inform viewers while entertaining them with great visuals. He is interested in UX design because it allows him to use design methodology, data and surveys to become a better visual storyteller and create a compelling visual experience. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and camping.


Melanie Smith, Page Designer/Copy Editor
Office (803) 774-1293, email: melanie@theitem.com

In some way, The Sumter Item has always been a part of Melanie’s life. She was born on Shaw Air Force Base, and her parents have been subscribing for decades. In high school, she began working as an intern editor and designer and continued working for the paper while studying print journalism at USC in Columbia and Sumter. Now, she enjoys helping our team of reporters polish their stories and designing pages that give readers information they need quickly. Her favorite types of articles to design are those we can all relate to (favorite pizza toppings, anyone?) In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors hiking and working in her yard, crafting and spending time with her husband and their menagerie of pets.


Janel Strieter, Graphic Designer/Community Coordinator
Office (803) 774-1244, email: janel@theitem.com

Janel is a member of the creative team at The Sumter Item and serves as a graphic designer, creating content for a wide range of publications. She joined The Sumter Item after several years of working for the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she decided to move to South Carolina after falling in love with the area while visiting family.


Business Office

Caroline Coxe, Controller
Office (803) 774-1245, email: caroline@theitem.com

Michele Barr, Senior Staff Accountant
Office (803) 774-1249, email: michele@theitem.com

Michelle Lee, Staff Accountant
Office (803 ) 774-1236, email: michelle@theitem.com


Graham Osteen, Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.
Office (803) 774-1200

Jack Osteen, Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.
Office (803) 774-1238, email: jack@theitem.com

Kyle Osteen, Co-Owner of Osteen Publishing Co.
Office (803) 774-1254, email: kyle@theitem.com