Newspapers seem to be gaining in strength as we enter 2022. Many Colorado newspapers have been sold with strong demand. Swift newspapers, that has had great success in ski towns with The Vail Trail and Aspen Times, sold with all of their Colorado newspapers to Ogden Newspapers located in Wheeling, West Virginia. Swift newspapers, family owned, headquartered in Carson City, Nevada, hired good management and ran excellent newspapers. The new owners are a successful newspaper family located back in West Virginia who own a conglomerate of newspapers across America worth a reported $1.1 billion and are owners of the Pittsburgh Pirate baseball team.
Colorado Community Media sold to The Colorado Sun digital newspaper folks who have a challenge to replace local owners Jerry and Anne Healey to produce 28 publications in Denver and suburban areas.
I’m reminded of my good friend and newspaper colleague Garrett Ray who was the editor and publisher of The Littleton Independent for a dozen years. Ray was tutored in the business by publisher Houstoun Waring who was tutored by Ed Bemis, all three veteran newspaper icons. The library in Littleton carries Bemis’s name.
Bemis spearheaded the publication of the delinquent property tax list by counties back in the 1930s, that developing the legal process for counties to foreclose on delinquent taxpayers after publishing the properties over a three-year period. The measure had a two-fold purpose; first to alert property owners that their lands or homes might be seized, especially important for property owners who owned land and had moved away, but still owned property in the taxing entity. The second purpose was to collect necessary taxes to fund the schools and governmental services. Most people don’t want their names published in the delinquent tax list, especially those in rural Colorado communities.
Garrett ultimately left the newspaper world and became a stellar journalism professor at Colorado State University. I was able to hire some of his graduates who raved about his knowledge and skill as a professor. Garrett passed away several years ago. We enjoyed socializing with Garrett and wife Nina at many press conventions.
Houstoun Waring passed away a number of years ago. I went to his retirement party at Jose’s restaurant in downtown Littleton decades ago. He was noted for his stylish hat that was resting on the coffee table as he greeted his many neighbors and friends.
I met Ed Bemis at a Colorado Press Convention escorted by Waring at the Brown Palace in the 1960s as a rookie new publisher from Craig. Those were the days with fiery Gene Cervi preaching to us to make our newspapers stand for something and to be courageous and independent.
Cervi later that year came to Craig and we had dinner together in the famed Cosgriff hotel that housed artist Delano original oil paintings located in the historic hotel lobby, paintings worth a small fortune today in museums.
Many memories of newspaper history as we march into 2022 waging war against the ongoing pandemic that medical science must still defeat.
The Marshall fire is shocking. Mother Nature is all powerful and especially when assisted by people who can be careless with high winds and fires. It is heartwarming to see the fellow citizens rushing to assist the disaster victims. It will take years to unwind the damage and rebuild the homes. God Bless the Salvation Army and The Red Cross, and all loyal volunteers.
It would make sense to call in the Army Corp of Engineers with the equipment and personnel to clean up the area quickly.
Homebuilders like Buz Koebel can rebuild quality homes if the lots are cleared for quality new developments.
American ingenuity is unsurpassed when turned loose and we’ve all been challenged in our lives as citizens of this great country. If we can leave politics at the city limits, the work will be done.
Let’s help each other and all get back to work in 2022.