Greenbelt News Review 75th Anniversary Dinner
The Greenbelt News Review published its first issue on November 24, 1937 (then called the Cooperator) and is the second oldest cooperative in Greenbelt (the oldest being the Greenbelt Federal Credit Union). On Sunday, November 18, the paper’s 75th anniversary dinner was held at Greenbelt Marriott.
A few issues of the News Review (out of 3900) are on display at the back of the ballroom.
Eileen Farnham, president of Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Association, welcomes more than 130 guests to the 75th anniversary dinner.
Sandra Lange recognizes the organizing committee members for tonight’s dinner and those who worked on the News Review’s 75th anniversary issue, which was published on November 15, a few days before the dinner.
Sylvia Lewis, who recently joined the News Review’s ad desk and who is a retired Unitarian minister, gives the invocation.
Black-and-white photos from the paper’s history are displayed.
Photos of some of the paper’s current staff members
A special display on Dorothy Sucher (1933-2010) who served as the paper’s editor between 1963 and 1967 (off and on) and was a longtime reporter. Later at the dinner, Sucher’s husband Joe Sucher will announce a fund established in memory of her.
A few books by Dorothy Sucher are on display.
Dorothy Sucher’s most widely read book is “The Invisible Garden” about gardening in Vermont.
The evening’s program starts after dessert has been served. Here Jim Giese, former Greenbelt city manager and current News Review board member, introduces staff members of the paper.
Virginia Beauchamp, who is the second longest serving member of the paper (since 1957, only Elaine Skolnik has a longer tenure), gives her recollections. She recalls discovering the first issue of the paper at her doorstep on the first Thursday after she moved to Greenbelt in 1957. Later she responded to the paper’s appeal for help, went to its grim Parkway office and met Harry Zubkoff and Phyllis Chasanow (then a high-school girl and later Phyllis Richman, long-standing restaurant critic for the Washington Post). She also tells about meeting Mary Lou Williamson, the current editor, in 1962 when Beauchamp asked her new neighbor for help locating a poem by Robert Frost. And she concludes by telling the libel suit brought by developer Charles Bresler which the News Review won at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Harry Zubkoff was the paper’s editor on several occasions in the 1950s. He begins by telling that he was named Harry because of a song “I’m Just Wild About Harry” by Eubie Blake. He talks about the McCarthy days, Abe Chasanow and the movie “Three Brave Men,” and the paper’s problems with the Greenbelt Consumer Services (GCS). To distinguish itself from GCS, the paper changed its name from The Cooperator to the News Review in 1954 when Zubkoff was editor.
Mayor Judith Davis presents the News Review’s current editor Mary Lou Williamson a proclamation celebrating the paper’s 75th anniversary.
Jim Giese, tonight’s master of ceremonies, tells that he became Greenbelt’s city manager right after the News Review’s 25th anniversary dinner in 1962. In fact, then Mayor Francis White left that dinner to fly to Illinois to interview Giese’s references.
Editor Mary Lou Williamson starts with several episodes in the 1950s, from the paper’s conflict with the Greenbelt Consumer Services to its support of the Greenbelt Veterans Housing Corporation (now Greenbelt Homes, Inc). She then asks questions about the paper’s present. Should the paper cover GHI board meetings? What about the Coop’s board? Is the paper covering enough activities by local organizations? Will the paper have space for these stories without a significant increase in advertising income? She acknowledges that the paper presently does not have enough ad revenue to cover the cost of producing the 12-page paper. She asks whether the paper has done enough to appeal to a new, more electronically-savvy generation.
Sandra Lange surprises Mary Lou Williamson with a special tribute from the paper’s staff and friends. She tells that the paper had many editors before Mary Lou Williamson joined the paper in 1962. Williamson has been the editor in chief for the past 40 years.
The special tribute is distributed to those in attendance.
Mayor Davis reads a special tribute to Mary Lou Williamson from the Greenbelt City Council.
Sandra Lange presents Mary Lou Williamson with a 75th anniversary bag.
Mary Lou Williamson, who has been with the paper since 1962 and its editor since 1972, receives a standing ovation.
Nell Sydavar and Paula Clinedinst (not pictured) lead everybody in singing Happy Birthday to the News Review.
Altoria Ross, a member of the News Review board, talks about the paper’s future including online editing, remote reporting, and an interactive website. She then passes the symbolic torch to her son, 16-year-old Joshua Ross, who is a deliverer for the paper.
Dorothy Sucher’s husband Joe Sucher tells about her life and her involvement with the News Review, Greenbelt Museum, New Deal Café, and Greenbelt Writers Group. He also talks about Sucher’s role in the Supreme Court case which took up four years of her life. To conclude Joe Sucher announces the establishment of the Dorothy Sucher Memorial Fund to support one internship at the Greenbelt Museum and one at the News Review.
Joe Sucher receives a standing ovation.
Before the conclusion of the program, Eileen Farnham reminds everybody that this coming week, because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the production schedule will be move up one day.
From left are Virginia Beauchamp, current editor Mary Lou Williamson, former editor Harry Zubkoff, and current new editor Elaine Skolnik.
Mary Lou Williamson, Barbara Likowski, Virginia Beauchamp, Harry Zubkoff, Elaine Skolnik, Sandra Lange, James Giese, and Eileen Farnham.
Paula Clinedinst, a member of the paper’s staff, was Miss Greenbelt in 1985 when Mary Lou Williamson was named the city’s Outstanding Citizen. Earlier Mayor Davis recognized all Outstanding Citizens at the dinner. There are many: Elaine Skolnik (1974), Mary Lou Williamson (1985), David Lange (1986), Sandra Lange (1987), Leta Mach (2000), Konrad Herling (2001), Virginia Beauchamp (2002), Barbara Likowski (2007), Jim Giese (2010), Sylvia Lewis (2011), and John Henry Jones (2012).
John Henry Jones shakes the hand of Harry Zubkoff. Jones is the oldest deliverer of the News Review.
Elaine Skolnik and Mayor Davis
Mary Lou Williamson with the News Review’s desktop publishing contractor Lynn Eppard
Joe Sucher, Sylvia Lewis and Marat Moore