Happy 10th Birthday, Free Press! | PostIndependent.com
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Happy 10th Birthday, Free Press!

Ken Johnson
CONNECTING THE DOTS
Free Press Opinion Columnist
The first two issues of the Grand Junction Junction Free Press, which debuted in May 2003.
Staff Photo |

Wow. I sure hope the whole town wanders into the Free Press office between 11 and 1 today.

It’s an open house celebrating the paper’s 10th birthday, a true milestone. And THAT is something to celebrate!

Volume 1, No. 1 was May 19, 2003. That day, much like today, water was the big headline. Writer Ellen Miller launched a three-part series on where all the water used in the Grand Valley comes from, and where it goes.

Jim Spehar was Grand Junction mayor, and he also wrote a column for the new paper. He continued that weekly chore until he went with the Sentinel a couple of years ago.

Despite the rip-roaring gas drilling boom starting up Rifle way, starting yet another economic surge in the valley, in May of 2003 you could buy a 12-pack of Corona for $11.99. Home Loan would give you 5.88% interest on a 5-year CD, and you could buy one for as little as $2,500.

Housing was also moving along, with new building picking up and adding even more to the economy.

And, at a carnival booth at the Mesa Mall parking area, a youngster could shoot a water GUN, one that looked like a pistol, with not one person demanding he be grounded!

Ten years ago the Free Press was launched to wide acceptance. It was colorful. It was free. Golly, it still is!

So when you stop in at the open house today be sure to pick up an extra copy and say “Hi” to two of the Free Press staff members who were part of the start up back in 2003 — Managing Editor Tracy Dvorak and display advertising’s Linda Findley.

By 2005 the four partners in the Free Press — John Duffy, Chan Edmonds, Bob Wilson and I — had agreed to sell the paper to Swift Communications, owner of Aspen, Vail, Glenwood Springs and a host of other papers in Colorado and elsewhere PLUS owner of a nice printing press.

While we went our merry ways, the Free Press is still telling stories about good people doing good things.

Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.


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