This, my last Publishers’ Corner, is particularly difficult to write. It’s all very emotional, but I’ll try not to get too sappy.
Since taking over in 1995, we’ve been here through some of the defining moments of our society – 9/11, the 2008 recession, multiple wildfires, extended power outages, and now a pandemic. Our community has gone through tremendous ups and downs, the highest highs and the lowest lows. What has always kept us going is you – your support, your kindness, your sense of humor. Believe me, there were times where we were scrambling to keep things together with duct tape and paper clips.
So, thanks to all of you. As I’ve said many times, you are the Kenwood Press.
When we first came to Kenwood, as a newspaper reporter, I was intrigued that there was a little monthly newspaper called the Kenwood Press, published by a colorful Kenwood character named Jay Gamel.
We took the reins, but Jay has continued with the paper for most of this time, and honestly, the Kenwood Press wouldn’t exist without him. Words cannot adequately describe our gratitude to him for his friendship, and loyalty to the paper and its mission. I will miss our animated Friday afternoon political debates, but I take comfort in knowing I was always right.
We were blessed with the multi-talented Sarah Campbell Phelps, who left at the end of 2019, after 13 years at the KP. Sarah reported and wrote stories, put together ads, and was more organized than Ann (which is saying a lot). But I could never teach her to juggle, or convert her into a sports fan. Nobody’s perfect.
Our proofreader, Loralee Wellington, has been keeping us typo-free (with a few exceptions – anyone need a widow washer?) for 21 years. We keep track of how long it’s been by how old her younger son is. Casey was one when she started.
Our newest employee is the very talented Patti Buttitta, who does graphic design and ad work. If you’ve been thinking of advertising but can’t get started, call Patti!
Jay and Patti are sticking around, and the paper will continue, thanks to Melissa Dowling and Paul Goguen, who have stepped up to continue this important source of local information. Maybe we should tell them about the two times that cars drove into the office, the time a vandal shattered our glass door (along with most of the other businesses in the shopping center), and now, the mysterious hole in the wall (see story page 3). It can be a dangerous job, this small town newspaper gig.
As co-publisher and ambassador for the paper, it’s with pride that I say that I only showed up in the Crime Watch once (and I wasn’t really trespassing, in my opinion.) I’m going to have to rewire my brain a bit. Running the paper involves a constant mindset – “Oh, we should put that in the paper,” “Oh, they should really advertise,” “Oh, deadline week already?”
Abandoning city life in 1994 was a leap of faith, moving with three small children from San Francisco to Kenwood, an area we weren’t familiar with at all. I remember my mother saying something along the lines of “Have they lost their minds?” as our kids played in the dirt while the house was being remodeled.
It couldn’t have worked out better, though, living in a caring community where people from all walks of life work hard, are incredibly generous, responsible, and like to have fun. Who wouldn’t want to live here?
For 26 years our calendar revolved around deadlines, so I have to thank our three children – Ross, Gus and Elizabeth – for all the times we couldn’t take you to a soccer game, or pick you up earlier from school. You are three terrific adults now, so the scars must be few. And thank you to all our kids’ friends’ parents for taking care of them when we had to disappear into work. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – it does take a village… Finally, I wanted to thank my fellow publisher Ann, who happens to be my wife of 35 years. We have different skill sets, which allowed us to work together in a collaborative, and fun (well, mostly fun) way. We stayed in our lanes, merging it all together on deadline days. And no matter how much we groused about the never-ending cycle of going to meetings, interviewing people for stories, contacting and cajoling advertisers, working late and writing stories at the very last minute, once the paper had gone to press, we would look at each other and say, “Damn, that was a good issue!”
By our count, we’ve published 507 issues (in the beginning we only published once a month). That’s kind of like having 507 babies!
So thank you, Ann. I love you tons, and look forward to our future adventures in Kenwood and beyond. Together.