by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, April 2018) I’d like to thank Cudell Improvement and the Martens Family for this honor. Growing up in the St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, I’ve known the Martens Family all my life. My brother, Fran, who is here today, went to school with Michael Martens, Wally’s brother.
Because of my roots in the neighborhood, some of the events the Plain Presshas covered in the Cudell and West Boulevard neighborhoods have had special significance for me and my family, and, I’m sure, many of you here today. Two events that come to mind, are the effort to keep St. Ignatius of Antioch Church from closing, and the effort to find a viable use for the West Technical High School building. Several generations of my family belonged to St. Ignatius Parish. My mother, cousins on both sides of my family and many of my friends in the neighborhood graduated from West Tech.
Part of the mystery of life is how events, places and people you know, shape who you are and what you end up doing with your life. At least, that seems to have been the case with me. The neighborhood, the events that happened, and the people in it have profoundly influenced the direction of my life and have led to my love of newspapers.
At age 10, I acquired a Cleveland Presspaper route that became available because the boy, who had the route before me, moved out of the neighborhood to make way for the Clark Freeway construction. Even more routes opened-up in my neighborhood as more families of kids with routes, lost their houses to the freeway. Eventually, my siblings, Fran, Tom, Mary Jo and I –served the area between Clark and Lorain Avenue from W. 73rdto W. 88thwhere Lorain and Clark met at Tony’s Diner. I enjoyed seeing people eagerly await the arrival of the afternoon newspaper as I delivered the Cleveland Pressas a child.
When I was in college at John Carroll University in my Junior year, the editor of the Carroll News, Larry Weakland, had attended St. Ignatius Elementary School where I went to elementary school as well. He named his successor, Marty Conroy, who was a friend with whom I had gone to St. Ignatius High School. As Editor of the Carroll News, Marty asked me to take his place as distribution manager. So, I was, once again, delivering newspapers, but more importantly, I was hanging out in the Carroll News office, learning the trade.
When I was in graduate school at the CSU College of Urban Affairs in the early 1980s, I ran into Jim Reddy, who was also in my grade school class at St. Ignatius Elementary School. We were riding the bus together from Cleveland State and talking about Roldo Bartimole’s Point of View. I told Reddy, I enjoyed my time at the Carroll Newswould like to get involved in a small newspaper. He told me a friend of his was volunteering for the Plain Press, a newspaper that had just started publishing again after closing-down for a year. He gave my number to his friend and soon the Plain PressEditor, Lisa Oppenheim, called me and I began to volunteer at the newspaper.
I became very involved as a volunteer. I represented the Plain Pressat the founding of the Neighborhood Community Press Association. I served on the Plain PressBoard of Trustees, helped with the production and distribution of the paper and did some writing as well. I eventually became a staff member in late 1988 and began to coordinate the monthly publication of the Plain Press.
Each month when the Plain Pressis published, it seems like a minor miracle. All the different contributions from members of the staff, volunteers and members of the community somehow come together on time. My job as Managing Editor has been to coordinate all those efforts. I’ve been blessed over the years in having dedicated staff and volunteers who make time each month, to make sure the tasks necessary to put a newspaper together are completed as we approach our print date.
I’d like to thank and acknowledge the Plain PressBoard of Trustees and staff members that are here today and some who were not able to make it.
I seePlain PressBoard of Trustees member Leo Jeffres is here today. The Board of Trustees has been a wonderful asset to the paper over the years, feeding the staff with many story ideas and contacts. Leo Jeffres has been involved in helping to link the Plain Press with other community newspapers forming an association of colleagues among the small newspapers. Helen Smith has contacts for almost anything, and Joe Narkin has done double duty at times over the years writing articles and taking photos as well as serving on the board. Keith Brown has vast knowledge of development occurring in the neighborhood, David Gamble shares his knowledge of the Tremont neighborhood and health care resources and Peggy Davenport provides input on the Stockyard neighborhood and school issues.
There are several staff people here tonight.
Our Editor, Debbie Sadlon is here. She has been staff since the early 1990s. Debbie is responsible for all copy editing that makes all our articles more polished and easier to read. She makes me look good. Debbie is also responsible for the layout design of the newspaper every month.
Tom Sheehan, who sold advertising for the Plain Pressfor many years is also here. Tom’s work, selling ads has helped sustain the paper throughout the years.
Also, here today is Ed Tishel, Debbie Sadlon’s husband, who has contributed technical support to the Plain Pressover the years through some challenging situations. Ed just recently joined the staff as an Advertising Representative for the Plain Press. Anyone here interested in advertising with us can talk to him.
Ahmed Morad, our distribution person, is here. Each month he jumps in and out of the van delivering newspapers to over 500 locations. Ahmed’s facility with languages allows him to greet store and restaurant owners in Arabic, Greek, French or English.
Doris Honsa, who is here today, for many years put together the Community Board for the Plain Press, and has volunteered to help do that this month.
A couple of staff members couldn’t be here tonight: Coriana Close who provides technical assistance with photo editing; Dave Myers, a graphic artist, who has designed ads for the Plain Pressfor many years; and, Teresa Calvo who prepares our mailing each month.
And, finally, Margie Bray, my loving wife who passed away this week, volunteered with the Plain Presshelping out whenever there was a need. Over the past several years, she served as the Community Board and Website Editor. Each month she pulled together all the various fliers, emails and online newsletters to put together a listing of free events and services in the neighborhood. Once the paper was published, Margie placed the articles and photos on the Plain PressWebsite.
Margie was thrilled when she heard I was being honored with this award and I know she is here, now, watching over me.
“I love you, Margie and I know you are proud of me.”