CENTERS - It just won't be the same around here

It's a story we've written too many times. Plants closing. Furlough days. Cutbacks. Early retirements. People losing their jobs. It's a part of our job we hate. Writing about somebody's misfortunes isn't easy. This week it hit home. Friday night will be the last time we print the Norwalk Reflector right here in Norwalk. Starting Sunday night, the Norwalk Reflector will be printed at the Sandusky Register. It will be the first time in 180 years the paper won't be printed right here in town.
bigjoe
Jun 7, 2010

It's a story we've written too many times.

Plants closing. Furlough days. Cutbacks. Early retirements. People losing their jobs.

It's a part of our job we hate. Writing about somebody's misfortunes isn't easy.

This week it hit home.

Friday night will be the last time we print the Norwalk Reflector right here in Norwalk. Starting Sunday night, the Norwalk Reflector will be printed at the Sandusky Register. It will be the first time in 180 years the paper won't be printed right here in town.

That means 14 people here will lose their jobs -- five full-timers and nine part-timers.

It's a move that had to be made. This is a business and it was the right business decision.

But it still hurts.

It won't be the same around here. I'll miss Bob Sweet coming in every morning and giving us a recap of the Indians, Cavaliers, Browns or the weekend's NASCAR race.

I'll miss Frank Case and Roy Greaves punching in and giving me a holler.

Funny thing is, all three of those guys were Norwalk Furniture workers who lost their jobs when the plant closed.

I'll miss Sandy Brown, who never had a bad thing to say about anybody. I saw her in church Saturday afternoon and she reached out her hand like she always does. Her husband, Mel, just lost his job when Tenneco closed its doors and moved to Mexico.

I'll miss Larry Roth and Deb Bennett and Robert Hammerschmidt, the three full-timers in the mail room. And I'll miss our head pressman, Chris Kempf, and his assistant, Paul "Coach" Brown.

There are too many to mention. I'll miss them all.

Kempf did more for the way this newspaper looks than anybody -- ever.

Our press did not have the capabilities to run color. So while Bellevue, Shelby and even Willard were printing in color, we were still black and white.

But Kempf figured out a way -- he calls it an S-wrap -- to get color. It took a lot of time and hard work to make it possible.

We had a big plan. We were going to print a special four-page color paper and hand them out at the 2006 Fourth of July parade.

Everything was set. We were just waiting to make the big announcement of the Reflector finally stepping up to the real world.

But then, in late June of 2006, Norwalk was under water. Torrential rains caused floods from Elm Street to Main Street. We had great pictures and this was a huge story.

Kempf said he was ready to go and it would be a great day to run our first color pages. Then-Publisher Steve Trosley agreed and we jumped at the opportunity.

We have been running color ever since.

Kempf made something out of nothing.

This is a small newspaper and everybody has to pull their weight. That's why 12 different people -- myself, Matt Roche, Aaron Krause, Scott Seitz, Cary Ashby, Richard Russell, Alisa Kessler, Ellen Simmons, Jeff Van Natta, Chris Harlan, Jerry "Chopper" Harrington and Doug Mastroianni -- joined forces to bring you graduation coverage the last two weeks.

And don't forget about all the hours Mike Greco, Don Hohler and Van Natta spent covering the state track meet this past weekend in Columbus.

It's a team effort and we are losing part of our team. We'll miss them all.

Good luck.

And I would be remiss not to mention Lou Reda, who retired Thursday after more than 10 years as our photographer.

Lou's wife, Pat, also retired Thursday as a teacher at League Elementary after more than 35 years in the business.

Good luck to the Redas.

We'll miss you all.

Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. He can be reached via e-mail at jcenters@norwalkreflector.com.