- August 5, 2020
Happy Anniversary! January 22, 2003, we published the first issue of Webb Weekly. Our cover story was about the upcoming Super Bowl. Man, have we covered a lot since then. Going back through and looking at past issues this week has been a trip, to say the least. The people, places, events and more that
January 22, 2003, we published the first issue of Webb Weekly. Our cover story was about the upcoming Super Bowl.
Man, have we covered a lot since then. Going back through and looking at past issues this week has been a trip, to say the least.
The people, places, events and more that we have covered over the years is impressive.
I am so proud to be a part of an organization that cares so much about the people and places in our community.
So in honor of our 15th anniversary, here are some stories that stuck out to me each year. You may remember others, these were the ones that stood out to me as I flipped through the old issues.
2003 – I know you would expect me to say that our first issue was the highlight of 2003, and it was special for sure, but I was caught by a story in our May 14, 2003 edition. It was a story by Webb staple Lou Hunsinger about the life of a band parent. Being a band parent isn’t an easy task. It’s a lot of work, travel and expense and it was nice to see the life of a band parent getting highlighted!
2004 – It wasn’t a particular story that caught my attention, so much as a cover. It was the August 25, 2004 cover. The picture on the cover is one I took. I remember it clearly. It’s a pic of a Little Leaguer who looks like he is swinging hard for the fences. I remember his nickname was ‘Biscuit’. I remember taking the picture with a tiny, FujiFilm camera. I think it had about four megapixels. That was the first Little League World Series that I covered and it set off a love of sports photography that I didn’t even know I had. I have gone on to get some really great shots at the Series, but that one will always be toward the top of my list.
2005 – March 23rd brought us a cover story about Nessie Whaley. Minister, businesswoman, speaker, fisherman and more, Mrs. Whaley was breaking gender stereotypes and doing whatever made her happy before it was cool. Plus, her hats were amazing!
2006 – Ahhh yes. 2006. March 29, 2006 brought us what is probably the most popular Webb Weekly article to have ever been printed. Yes, I am talking about that famous April Fool’s joke that had folks thinking there really was a shark caught in the Susquehanna. Brought to you courtesy of China Neal and Ken Hunter, I still hear about this story today and I’m fairly sure Helmrich’s is still getting phone calls.
2007 – The issue date was October 31, 2007, but the adventure had happened the week before. One of my favorite articles that I have written for the paper was when I got to be a ‘firefighter’ for a day. The Williamsport Bureau of Fire invited local politicians and members of the media to a day-long event where we got to learn CPR, how to use the jaws of life, the use of other safety equipment and it finally culminated in actually being able to go in to a controlled ‘burning building’ in full turnout gear to put out a fire.
2008 – OK, I have to laugh a bit about this one. October 29, 2008, Mr. Webb was convinced that President Obama was going to increase taxes on firearms and ammunition 500%, force everyone to register their guns with the government (or face court-issued search warrants for your property) and also phase out the PA Game Commission. I am happy to see almost 10 years later that none of these have come to fruition.
2009 – On February 11, 2009 we celebrated Loyalsock Athletic Director and (West Branch and PA Hall of Fame member) Coach Ron ‘CI’ Insinger’s 700th basketball win. We would later go on to celebrate his 800th win, his selection to the PA State Hall of Fame and hopefully, we’ll celebrate win 900 in the future.
2010 – One of the more surprising Webb Weekly pieces appeared on the cover of the February 24, 2010 edition. This piece, written by Karen Shaffer, discussed the emerging (and now ongoing) problem of female bullies. Nicknamed “Lip Gloss Bullies”, Karen discussed the non-violent, but equally damaging ways girls bully each other in a world fueled by online victimization and verbal threats.
2011 – July 29, 2011 Saw Ken Hunter foreshadowing the future. That week he wrote an article featuring then 18-year-old ‘Top Gun’ Morgan Craft. The third to last sentence noted that Craft’s ultimate goal was to represent the US in the Olympics. In 2016 Morgan, along with fellow Sullivan County Native Josh Richmond, would head to Rio to compete in the Summer Olympic Games.
2012 – There is not much more to say about 2012 than this is the year we lost Mr. Webb. He was the patriarch of our Webb Weekly family and we miss him dearly. We are all thankful for the opportunity he gave us with the paper and we all do our best to make him proud each and every week.
2013 – We were a little late, but February 27, 2013 brought us our 10th Anniversary special. Much like this issue, it was filled with memories and nice words from our advertisers.
2014 – March 19, 2014 kicked off our series of stories on the heroin epidemic in our area. We talked about the issue with several local experts including police officers, the DA, the coroner, the Mayor, local judges and more. Each gave a unique perspective into the problem and each had solutions that would hopefully stem the flow of heroin into the area. Unfortunately, the heroin issue is still rampant in the county and surrounding areas today, but hopefully we can continue to work together as a community, city, state and country to stop heroin.
2015 & 2016 – I am going to cheat a little bit here and cover two years with one extended story. In July 2015, Jimmy set out to save Chief Woapalanne, beloved protector of Brandon Park. See, Chief ‘Knock-a-Homer’, as Jimmy likes to call him, had deteriorated to the point of being dangerous and had been removed from his post at the top of the park. Jimmy knew he had to do something and started a looooong chain of phone calls to save the Chief. Thanks to his connections and the hard work of Brian Flynn and Dave Stably from Penn College, along with assists from everyone from Vince Matteo, Bill Nichols and more, the Chief was able to be restored and find a new, permanent home behind the new Trade and Transit Center downtown. We featured the Chief’s big reveal on September 14, 2016 cover. Since I have the opportunity and I’m saving myself a year, let me go ahead and add this. I have heard some complaints about the Chief’s location. Given, his location may not be as prominent as it once was, but remember a couple of things. One, he is safe and protected from the elements and easily accessible to anyone who wants to see him. Two, given that the alternative for the Chief was a literal wood chipper, I think we should all be thankful for the hard work volunteered by all to make sure we still have this amazing piece of art history in our city.
2017 – Since by now we all know that I love to tout all of the things that are happening in our great area, I think my favorite pieces of 2017 were the back-to-back April 26th/May 3rd issues covering the histories, presents and futures of the Pajama Factory and First Friday in the City. There is so much, art, culture, music and fun to be had at both and it was nice to be able to give each the recognition they deserve.
As you can see, we have covered a lot of ground over the years, and we continue to do our best to bring you all of the things that are happening in the area and the fantastic people who live here.
While we reflect on the past of Webb Weekly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the members of the Webb Weekly family we have lost through the years. Louise Ulmer, Rosemary Neidig, and Tom Paternostro were all welcome contributors to Webb through the years. We appreciate all that they did for the paper and will always consider them Webb Weekly Family.
Here’s to 15 years of Webb Weekly and here’s to 50 more.
Thank you to our readers and advertisers for sticking with us through the years and always supporting us.