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Life as performance art

Life as performance art


By Fr. G. Corwin Stoppel

Since I was a youngster and first walked into the Post Bulletin building in my hometown, newspapers and the people connected with them have fascinated me.

There was the “old” desk clerk with a blue tint in her hair who greeted people, sold copies and took advertisements.

Periodically she would take a half-empty coffee cup over to the sportswriter’s desk, where Bernie would refill it with something out of his desk drawer — the refill poorly hidden when he would take off his fedora and hold it so no one could see what everyone knew as happening.

Down the hall my dad’s friend Jim “Hard Hands” Hansen was at the linotype machine, holding down a job he’d had since he was hired to play on the paper’s baseball team right after World War I.

Sundays meant the thick St Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Tribune, so Dad could read the sports columns and my sister and I could read the funny pages. And sometimes the Chicago papers, with columns by Irv “Kup” Kupcinet, a youngster named Mike Royko and others.

After Watergate, a legion of college students enrolled in journalism school in hopes of becoming the next generation of investigative writers like “Woodstein,” as they were sometimes called.

That’s why I like the Commercial Record. I came when Mr. and Mrs. Lane operated the paper, and after that Walt and Cheryl, and now Scott is the editor.

In an era when print newspapers are struggling and some of dailies have folded (pardon the intentional pun) the CR endures after 150 years.

The paper has re-invented itself with technological changes, and that’s part of it. The CR has also kept pace as our communities re-invented themselves from lumber to fruit to tourism.

But that’s just part of it. We’ve been fortunate to have owners, editors and writers who are truly invested in the communities.

It was Walt, every spring, rushing from one school to the next across the county, attending and reporting on athletic and scholarship awards nights, then turning right around a few days later to attend commencements.

Today it is Scott, with a howitzer-sized camera and lens around his neck, and a backpack with more equipment to capture the local news and people.

Always the people — our friends, neighbors, visitors and what they are doing. Keeping up with people, local events, sports and politics is far from being an easy task.

With limited space, there is the challenge of knowing what must be included and what has to be set aside. Then, as soon as the paper is printed and distributed, it’s time to start over for the next week. We are incredibly fortunate to have a newspaper that has flourished for well over a thousand weeks!

So, it’s hats off to this long legacy in our community, to its owners, photographers, writers, editors, secretaries, assistants, printers, the sales force and more! And hats off to all of us who have encouraged the people who put the paper together to keep doing what they are doing.

Happy 150th Birthday!