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This column was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 22,

1999. All rights reserved.

Between the Lines

If I had it to do all over again the only thing I would

have done differently would have been to organize a forum for the

millennial eve, and invite some of the brightest minds in Princeton

to ponder the past and assess the future.

The great thinkers, I now realize, might have led us away from the

narrow-minded Y2K concerns that have gripped the nation for the past

few years. If we focussed only on the turn of the century — not

the whole 1,000 years — we still would have had a cornucopia of

food for thought.

As a not-so-great thinker, I could have picked one of the several

momentous events I have been lucky enough to be present at and turn

it into some sort of discourse: The Apalachin gangland convention

in 1957; the introduction of the IBM 1401 computer in the early 1960s;

campus unrest in the spring of 1968; the Robert F. Kennedy funeral

and train to Washington; the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention; the

Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the late 1970s; and — on

a micro-level but still telling — the conversion of this

newspaper’s

production mode from phototypesetting to digital publishing in the

course of one grueling 14-day cycle in December, 1989, and getting

an 80-page paper off to the printer and into the readers’ hands on

time.

So I regret not being able to assemble some big thinkers who might

have provided a big picture. But there are a lot of things I do not

regret. Among them:

Not having struck a deal with ambitious entrepreneurs eager to clone

U.S. 1 up and down the east coast in the late 1980s, when it was

apparent

that this was a viable journalistic form. Not so fast, I argued then:

It’s viable for me, a publisher working in his own hometown, but I

am not sure it will fly for someone else somewhere else. We are not

in the fast food business.

Not having turned over the editorial direction of this paper to

someone

else. This one is always subject to review, especially at nights like

last night, when the clock turned past 11 and then 12 and then

approached

1 a.m. as I laboriously trimmed photos and captions and stories to

squeeze as many Helping Hands into this issue as possible.

But there are no regrets and the masthead of that December, 1989,

issue provides one explanation: There’s production adviser Larry

DuPraz,

who has helped me out since 1965; Craig Terry, who started working

with me in the 1970s and has been the regular U.S. 1 photographer

since the beginning; Stan Kephart, who has designed covers for us

since 1986 or so; and Barbara Fox, who has written for the paper since

1986.

Then there is the man who rises at 3 a.m. every Wednesday to truck

the paper from the printer. John Mitchell has been with us since

around

1987. These are just the people at or pushing 15-year marks with U.S.

1. There is another class right behind them, and I hope each of them

will be here through the coming decade. And they said the ’90s spelled

the end of loyalty.

Finally the readers, who never fail to lift my spirits. We wish you

all a happy New Year, and a great decade, century, and millennium.

Thanks.

Richard K. Rein

December 21, 1999

U.S. 1 will take its annual midwinter break and return on

Wednesday, January 5.


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