Payton Gift is a journalism student at Western Washington University with a minor in political science. Payton enjoys covering local politics, housing and public policy issues. Originally from Chehalis, Lewis County, Payton moved to Bellingham for college but decided to stay for the charm.
Boisterous by nature, Payton decided to use her talent of talking to pursue a career in journalism. While working on Western’s school paper, The Front, Payton enjoyed connecting with community members and understanding the elements that make Bellingham one of a kind. In Payton’s shrinking reserve of spare time, she can be found roller skating. Or, more commonly, falling while roller skating.
Kayla Heidenreich, self-proclaimed bagel critic, is a true born-and-raised Bellinghamster. She traded the rain for the sun when she moved to the Lake Tahoe region to pursue her two degrees in journalism and outdoor adventure leadership.
During her time in Tahoe, Kayla found creative ways to tell adventure stories that resonated with many who hadn't had the chance to experience those interesting places for themselves. While studying, Kayla took the trip of a lifetime to rural Alaska to study under and write about the Indigenous Gwich’in tribe. Her article highlighted their decade-long resistance to oil corporations attempting to destroy their land and culture.
After graduating, Kayla bought a 2006 Ford shuttle bus and traveled through nine states with her partner, their 6-month-old husky, and their cat Meatball. The end destination was unclear in the beginning, but somehow they seemed to keep getting closer to rainy ol’ Bellingham.
When Kayla is not writing or pouring beers at Aslan Brewing, she can be found up at Mount Baker getting face shots of pow, or attempting to knit Meatball a nice sweater.
Sarah McCauley, a rock-collecting Washingtonian, joins Cascadia Daily News as an intern after a pandemic prompted her to act on an impulse to move back to Bellingham. She discovered her interest in reporting while she was editor of her high school’s award-winning yearbook in Aberdeen, Grays Harbor County (a small town that’s most exciting trait might be the plaque under a bridge commemorating where Kurt Cobain once slept).
After graduating with an English B.A. and minors in journalism and psychology from Western Washington University, she moved to the Seattle area for an internship with Premier Media Group. Here, she discovered her fondness for writing profiles on people and businesses.
The plan was to stay in Seattle, but the pandemic sent her driving across the state to stay with family. She ultimately was drawn back to Bellingham, one of her favorite spots.
If she’s not reporting or at one of her other jobs, you can find her training for a marathon, on a climbing wall, or somewhere along the waterfront impulsively grabbing a rock she thinks is cool and putting it in her pocket.
Editor Ron Judd on news interns:
Interns are key to the news mission at Cascadia Daily News in two major ways: They’re central to our ambition to encourage, nurture and employ young journalists during a period when the odds are stacked against them in many ways. And they bring unique perspectives and energy into our newsroom that makes us all better people and journalists. We pay our interns and by giving them regular news assignments, have high expectations for their work. Our first group, Kayla, Sarah and Payton, have already proven themselves welcome additions as they prepare stories readers will see after our launch. They lead the way for what we hope will become a proud tradition of young journos getting their start with the Cascadia Daily News.