SOLON & BEYOND: Looking back on a journalism career

Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percyby Marilyn Rogers-Bull & Percy
Solon, Maine 04979

Good morning, my friends, don’t worry, be happy!

First I would like to thank the Solon Pine Tree 4-H Club for the wonderful gift of love in the form of a very large plate of home made, delicious cookies on Valentines Day! It was delivered to our door by one of the 4-H members wishing us a Happy Valentine Day. This wonderful club has been in Solon for many, many years, thanks to the leader, Eleanor Pooler; we are truly blessed.

The next meeting of the Embden Historical Society will be on March 11, at 7 p.m., at the Embden Community Center. The DVD “Cut & Run” Changes in Wood Cutting in the 1970s will be played. The film was produced by Richard Searls.

As was voted a couple of years ago, there is no February meeting.

A Happy Valentine’s Day e-mail was sent to me by Happy Knits: The message is, “We hope you get to spend time today with the folks and things (yarn) you love.”

Some folks say that the snow is beautiful and, while we agree, we’re really ready for a bit of color therapy. As a cure for cabin fever, we’d like to prescribe a dose of Noro color!

When I hadn’t received any more recent news before I sat down to write this column, just in case, I had gone through some more old clippings and papers last night. (And there are many of them to look through and reminisce.) Anyway, I came upon this very impressive one written by Darla Pickett back on April 16, 1990. It states, Weekly tabloid, Somerset Gazette, steps into Reporter’s shoes. In bold, large letters are the words, The Somerset Gazette, Central Maine’s Weekly Community Newspaper, Serving The Route 201 Corridor.

It goes on to say: Jackman – Within a week of the closing of The Skowhegan Reporter, a new newspaper has stepped in to fill the gap.

Carrying the masthead, The Somerset Gazette, the weekly tabloid will be published in Jackman by Russ and Gail Lombardi, owners – publishers of the Jackman – Moose River Chronicle for the past two years.

The Skowhegan Reporter (more commonly known as Somerset Reporter until recent months) was shut down by its owner-publisher Howard James on April 3, closing the final chapter on the 150-year history of the paper published under several names.

The Lombardis’ didn’t take long to jump on the bandwagon.

The first complimentary issue of the Gazette is going to hit the mailboxes on Monday, according to Russ Lombardi, who said on Tuesday he is excited about the project.

“It will be a weekly mailed to about 12,000 mailing addresses in Somerset County.”

The Jackman-Moose River Chronicle, which the Lombardis began publishing in January 1988, will continue to be published, Lombardi said. Both papers will be printed in Waterville.

Lombardi said a random poll was made of people in Somerset County and “we found two things that everybody wanted: A tabloid, and the word Somerset in the name.”

The coverage area, Lombardi said, will include Lexington, Highland, North New Portland, Embden, North Anson, Anson, Madison, Starks, Norridgewock, Larone, Mercer, Smithfield, Kingsbury, Mayfield, Brighton, Solon, Athens, East Madison, Lakewood, Cornville, Skowhegan, Canaan and Hinckley.

The above one brought back many memories. I was writing for the Skowhegan Reporter when it closed and figured my reporting days were over, had written for other papers before that, and because of my curious nature, had enjoyed it immensely. But lo and behold, I got a phone call from Roland Hallee, asking if I would like to write for the Somerset Gazette, and the rest is history. My many thanks go out to him! It was a great pleasure to work for the Lombardis.

And so for Percy’s memoir entitled Hymns and Haws: Dentist’s hymn, Crown Him With Many Crowns; Contractor’s hymn: The Church’s One Foundation; Baker’s hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour;” Weather forecaster’s hymn, “There Shall Be Showers of Blessings;” Optometrist’s hymn, “Open My Eyes That I Might See;” IRS’s hymn, “All to Thee;” Shopper’s hymn: “By and By.” (words from a Guideposts in August 1996.)


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