The year was 2005, and I remember it like it was yesterday. My wife came home from her job in the DHS cafeteria, wanting to talk about an offer she received from the owners of The Dayton Dispatch. They were in the process of moving and wanted to know if we would be interested in taking over the community newspaper. Having little to no knowledge about computer navigation and document formatting, my immediate response was, "I don't think so. Let them ask someone else." So much for that, right?
Validation that we should reconsider the offer soon followed. My sister-in-law said, "You would be perfect for this, Mike; you know practically everyone in town. Besides, If you don't do this, who will?". And then I got to thinking about how I delivered newspapers (then known as the Dayton Advertiser) as a boy, and what a shame it would be to see the paper end after existing for more than 60 years. So Ruth and I decided to give it a try and 135 months later, the Dayton Community News lives on.
The first steps of our new adventure went smoother than expected. Most of the advertisers were retained, thanks to a client list provided by The Dayton Dispatch. After that, I enrolled in a computer basics and Microsoft Word course through Urban Learning Center in Covington. I soon became proficient enough on the computer to format articles and create ads.
Leading up to our first edition of the paper, I kept thinking about the late Lee Reiber, a previous longtime editor of the paper. Lee was a respected businessman (Lee's 7th Avenue Cafe) and civic-minded gentleman who kept The Dayton Community News going for many years, sometimes at his own expense. His paper included city news, school news, church news, and good news. Nothing more, nothing less. In Lee's honor, The Dayton Community News name was reclaimed.
A couple of weeks after our first edition came out, I received a phone call from an older gentleman named Charles Tharp. All I knew about him was that he was a realtor and one of the first business owners to resume their ad in our paper. He called to offer his services by running a column in the paper titled "Then and Now". He wanted to send in two photos each month, one from 1898 and the other a current one, giving a history of the subject with short bios covering the owners and their occupations. I recall the excitement in his voice as he spoke about Dayton, so I agreed to give the old-timer a shot. Little did I know, my new friend would be winning over our readers for a stretch that lasted 86 months! Upon his retirement, Charlie donated a treasure trove of historical items and the building that his office occupied is now the home of Tharp Dayton Heritage Museum. I am proud to call him my friend.
Perhaps the best part about publishing The Dayton Community News has been the process of getting to know some really great people. It is through their support that our residents continue to receive the paper each month, both online and delivered. And now, thanks to some gentle, yet persistent coaxing from Tina Neyer, we are now able to make news on the city website more easily accessible, timely and colorful.
Dayton Community News