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Portfolio Detail: The Next STEP

Note: The sample pages here are formatted as PDF files. For a (free) PDF reader, click here


NEWSLETTER: The Next STEP, Jan. 2001-present. Bi-monthly newsletter of the City of Sebastopol, delivered in City water bills. This friendly, informative 2-page newsletter offers helpful information about the risks of common household toxics and the benefits of the viable alternatives available. The Next STEP implements the Sebastopol Toxics Education Program (STEP), the City's innovative program to support reduce the use of pesticides and other toxics, thus creating a healthier and safer town for everyone.

ROLE: Editor, Lead Writer, & Graphic Artist since the premiere issue. Led in defining the original newsletter design. Since the premiere issue, have obtained and written articles, edited the content, and done the graphic design.

SAMPLE PAGES: Click on images to download PDF files with sample newsletters. Note that images are optimized for a Postscript printer (LaserWriter, etc.) and can look choppy on-screen in reduced view.

Issue VI/1
Lead article: Protecting Your Family from Toxic Pet Products

Issue II/5
Articles: Children & Pesticide Exposure at School - Managing Mosquitos - Our Bodies' Toxic Load

Issue IV/1
Lead article: The Sweet Smell of Clean (naturally-scented cleaners) - Mold Banishers

Issue III/5
Articles: Choosing Healthier Paints - Salmon Pesticide Buffer Zone - Pesticides Linked with Prostate Cancer

View text only for lead article

View text only for lead article

These are some of the articles that Ms. Dines wrote for The Next STEP:

* Healthy Homes for the Holidays
* Protecting Children From Pesticides
* Protecting Your Family From Toxic Pet Products
* Nurturing a Truly Healthy Lawn
* Controlling Ant Invaders
* Mosquito Protection Without Toxics
* Oven Cleaning Without Toxics
* Green Air Fresheners
* Choosing Healthier Paints & Stains
* As the Mold Grows
* Perfume Dreams
* What's the Matter with Roundup
* Calculating the Full Cost of Toxic Pesticides
* Preventing Those Neurotoxic Blues
* Natural Cleaners Go Mainstream (and What's Hiding Inside?)
* Safer Chemicals Policy Proposed to California Legislature
* Oil, Katrina, Security, & Toxics
* Teaching Your Children to Work Cooperatively With Nature
* The Laguna's Lushness

You can see our 2013 reader survey and a brief history of the project at

Praise for The Next STEP (TNS)

"I am writing to express my deep appreciation for Patricia Dines' outstanding and unique work in writing, editing, and providing the graphics for the widely successful [STEP] newsletter.... The community response has been overwhelmingly positive and I believe the use of toxics in Sebastopol has declined significantly as a result of it.

Patricia has provided valuable contributions of her talent to Sebastopol and Sonoma County.

I unhesitatingly recommend her to any company or agency that is looking for a highly creative individual who can deliver the desired product for customers or audiences of any community."

Dave Brennan, Sebastopol City Manager

"I've worked with Patricia very closely in creating The Next STEP newsletter for the last two years. She is an excellent researcher, a dedicated worker, and an exceptional writer. She can distill a tremendous amount of information down to the core ideas, and make the final result look easy. She consistently keeps both her clients and her audience in mind, and always comes up with solution that pleases them both. I highly recommend her."

Jim Gleaves, STEP Editorial Committee, Senior Tech Support Safari Books Online

Readers consistently communicate to us that they value this newsletter, with many giving specific examples of changes they've made in their lives as a result of the information from the newsletter.

Note: Unless noted otherwise, these comments are from our annual reader survey, which is anonymous.

"Patricia -- You are doing a wonderful job with the [STEP] newsletter. I can't even begin to tell you how many things I have learned and use in my daily life. I take your newsletters to work and hang them up in the workroom to share with people. Keep up your hard work. Sebastopol is a better place to live thanks to people like you. Best wishes for a beautiful New Year."
- Chris Nelson, Sebastopol Realtor

"Thank you for the great newsletter."

"[The articles] are not only practically helpful but also very inspiring."

"I love the newsletter! It's given me so many ideas and is so friendly not preachy."

"I think your newsletter is excellent and very important. Thank you all!"

"Thank you, this is fabulous info to have on hand."

"TNS is a constant reminder to do the right thing!"

"What a wonderful issue! They all are and getting better. Thank you so much for writing and distributing this newsletter."

"A great service to the community."

"Keep up the good work!"

"Honestly, I cannot think of a more wonderful and welcome newsletter for folks opening their utility bill to enjoy! Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and compassion. The graphics are excellent as well!"

"I have enjoyed reading The Next STEP very much. Thank You! The newsletter gives me a proud and SAFE feeling of living in a community who cares about this issue."
Sandi Maurer

"Thank you so much for the Next STEP newsletter. It is always useful and enlightening. It reminds me of why I wanted to live here, all the forward looking folks like you."
Chris Boyd

"The Next STEP is wonderful! Both graphics and text are very well done, and the message, of course, is much needed. Wouldn't it be marvelous to get every city in the U.S. to include it with one of their bills? You have really accomplished something.... Carry on your good work!"
Lynn Lawson, Author Staying Well in a Toxic World

For more positive feedback on this project, see STEP-Accolades.

All back issues are available online, indexed by category, at <>. For more about this project, see <>.

More information about this project is available upon request.

Note: I've created newsletters, educational materials, talks, training, and events for a variety of business, government, and nonprofit clients. More about my offerings is at Please contact me to explore how I might assist you in reaching your goals!


PD [at] • (707) 829-2999
708 Gravenstein Hwy N, Suite 104 • Sebastopol, CA 95472

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Page last updated 10/09/13.