Canyon Lake Insider welcomes seven new columnists

Canyon Lake Insider is growing. Since December, seven new columnists have joined the Canyon Lake Insider team: Humor Columnist Pat Van Dyke, Health and Fitness Columnist Melissa Vogel, Pet Columnist Elle Williams, Parenting Columnist Cindy Hartwig, Inspirational Columnist Pastor Pete Van Dyke, Food and Drink Columnist Vinnie Torrente, and Self-Improvement Columnist Jeff Hartwig.

Canyon Lake Insider’s team of columnists are informed opinion writers, each with their own distinct style and voice. They have the same ethical and journalistic standards as reporters but add their perspective gained through experience, education, and a passion for the topic they write about. Canyon Lake Insider columnists are expected to conduct the same level of research on the facts presented in their column as a reporter or editor would. 

Humor Columnist Pat Van Dyke. Photo by Canyon Lake Insider.

Humor Columnist Pat Van Dyke
Pat Van Dyke is no stranger to Canyon Lake publications. For four years, Van Dyke was a humor columnist, front-page reporter, and photographer for a local newspaper. After a two-year break from writing, Van Dyke is back and will continue to amuse readers through her “Pat’s Musing and Memories” Humor Column at the Canyon Lake Insider.

Van Dyke graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and earned a master’s degree in educational administration from California Baptist University. She was a middle/high school teacher for 20 years and served as a middle/high school principal for 14 years. 

Health and Fitness Columnist Melissa Vogel. Photo provided by Melissa Vogel.

Health and Fitness Columnist Melissa Vogel
Melissa Vogel is a business owner, a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo, a keynote speaker, a model, an actress, and a mother of three daughters. A fitness expert with more than 20 years of experience in the health and wellness industry, Vogel was voted Best Personal Trainer by Inland Empire Magazine in 2020.

Vogel is the creator of the online moms-only coaching group, Busy To Bomb Fit Mom, where she helps busy moms get back to being fit through mindset work, vision, balance, and proper nutrition and exercise.

As a busy mother who has lost 60 pounds, Vogel understands the struggle of a busy lifestyle and how difficult it can be to fit fitness in. It is from this real-life experience that Vogel was able to develop her workout routines, fitness guides, and programs that other women could use to gain the same health success that she has achieved.

Vogel is the host of the Bomb Mom Podcast. She entertains many different speakers over several topics in order to broaden listeners’ ideals of what health really is and to inspire listeners to find new avenues to set, reach, and maintain their goals.

Pet Columnist Elle Williams. Photo provided by Elle Williams.

Pet Columnist Elle Williams
Elle Williams is a home dog trainer and the proud pet parent to four rescue dogs: Gracie, a female American pit bull terrier; Olive, a female American Staffordshire terrier; Bandit, a female rat terrier mix; and Bear, a male hound mix.

Training dogs since 2019, Williams launched Give a Sit Dog Training in early 2021. Certified in dog psychology, nutrition, and grooming, Williams specializes in basic obedience, puppy preparation for basic obedience, advanced obedience, and behavior adjustment training. Her courses include corrections for unwanted behaviors and other topics such as toys, tricks, and getting energy out.

Williams said her love of dogs started when she adopted a special needs dog named Donut, who inspired her to explore the field of animal care and education. In 2017, Williams founded Donuts Dandy Donation. Since then, she has raised more than $5000 by donating a portion of over 80 original pet portrait commissions to local animal shelters such as Animal Friends of the Valleys.

Parenting Columnist Cindy Hartwig. Photo provided by Cindy Hartwig.

Parenting Columnist Cindy Hartwig
Cindy Hartwig is a parenting coach and consultant specializing in start-ups, growth, and expansion for churches and schools. She works with children, parents, educators, administrators, board members, accreditation teams, and pastors to strategize and implement best practices in education.

Hartwig’s 20-year tenure includes administration at numerous area early childhood programs, including founding preschool director positions at Canyon Lake Community Church and Cornerstone Community Church.

Hartwig’s speaking engagements are comprised of Associated Christian Schools International conferences at Biola University, First Five Riverside, Women’s and Family Ministries, and MOPs parenting groups. She is also a published editor and writer.

Hartwig resides in Canyon Lake and is co-founder of 1Focus Counseling with her husband, Jeff. Their family includes four grown children and a spoiled Lhasa Apso rescue pup.

Inspirational Columnist. Pastor Pete Photo by Pat Van Dyke.

Inspirational Columnist Pastor Pete Van Dyke
As a graduate of Central College, Pella, Iowa, and after earning a master’s degree in divinity from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, Pastor Pete has served as a pastor for over 49 years.

Pastor Pete served as the senior pastor at Canyon Lake Community Church for 39 years, the last six as Pastor of Congregational Care.

Pastor Pete and his wife, the humorous Pat Van Dyke, have resided in Canyon Lake since 1977.

Pastor Pete will be challenging Canyon Lake Insider readers with his thoughts regarding spiritual and inspirational subjects.

Food and Drink Columnist Vinnie Torrente. Photo provided by Vinnie Torrente.

Food and Drink Columnist Vinnie Torrente
Vinnie Torrente is a food enthusiast who enjoys cooking and trying new recipes. His approachable recipes are a celebration of all things delicious.

Torrente started cooking around the age of 13. He became more passionate about cooking at the age of 24. His “go-to” food is Italian, but he also enjoys cooking gourmet foods and family recipes that have been passed down through generations.

Torrente finds much enjoyment in the kitchen cooking for family, friends, and gatherings, such as his wife’s bunco group and Sunday dinners with neighbors. He shares his “foodie” photos with the community via the What’s Cooking Canyon Lake Facebook group.

Torrente said cooking is his therapy and he enjoys the challenge of creating different types of cuisine. He is looking forward to sharing his recipes, photos, and stories with Canyon Lake Insider readers and he hopes to inspire others to try new recipes. Torrente resides in Canyon Lake with his wife and their four children.

Self-Improvement Columnist Jeff Hartwig. Photo provided by Jeff Hartwig.

Self-Improvement Columnist Jeff Hartwig
Hartwig is a licensed clinical therapist and co-founder of 1 Focus Counseling with his wife, Cindy. His present work involves assisting individuals with developing insights and coping skills; overcoming PTSD, anger, anxiety, depression; and moving past grief, trauma, and loss. He also assists athletes with sports therapy. Leaders spanning diverse industries, including entertainment, medical, legal, and business, have benefited from his executive coaching.

Hartwig has a Bachelor of Arts degree in business leadership from Biola University, a master’s degree with an embedded PPS Certification in educational counseling and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling degree, both attained from Azusa Pacific University.

In addition, Hartwig has a background as a school counselor for at-risk youth at various school districts, working with students struggling through the challenges of parental conflict, divorce, ADHD, ADD, social anxiety, impulsive behaviors, stress, and sports enhancement.


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