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Things you find after 39 1/2 years

By Joe Centers • Jan 22, 2019 at 12:00 PM

For the first time in 39 1/2 years, I am working on a story from a different desk at the Norwalk Reflector.

We have packed up our newsroom and moved to the middle of our building. We have more space and a better setup. I love the change, but it’s just not the same. When you sit in one spot for two-thirds of your life you kind of get used to it.

We have a new publisher at the Reflector, Ron Waite, who doubles as the publisher of the Sandusky Register. When Ron’s in Sandusky, Bill Ney is in charge. Together they bring a wealth of knowledge to Norwalk and we are excited about that.

We are in the process of changing the way we put out the Reflector each day, but we aren’t going anywhere. Times are tough, but not just in the newspaper business. I had a long talk a couple of weeks ago with Doug Berry, owner of Berry’s Restaurant. Two businesses right across from the restaurant recently closed, Berry pointed out, and it’s tough making a living. 

We feel your pain. And as I told Berry, we are all in this together. When a business in town closes, everybody is effected. When the original Norwalk Furniture closed, workers stopped going to the doctor. They stopped going to the dentist. They stopped eating out. And they stopped buying the newspaper. 

But we all survived and thanks to some generous local investors, Norwalk Furniture is back.

That’s what makes this town great. That’s what makes Huron County, Milan and Berlin Heights great. We are all in this together.

You just have to re-tool at times and we are doing that right here. Stop in and see us in our new office. I think you will be impressed.

And if you every have any questions you always can call me at 419-668-3771 ext. 1234.

Speaking of the move, I had a lot of stuff to clean out of my desk. Here are a few things that you might remember.

• I found a free Y2K drink chip from the Shamrock Tavern. Who out there misses The Rock?

• I found a President Ford button. I must have inherited that one — he was president from 1974-77. I didn’t start here until 1979. I also found a “presidents of our country” ruler. The last president listed was George W. Bush.

• I had a handwritten note I found one day taped onto the front door of the Reflector. It read “5 more die every day! Mr. Bush stop the war.”

• I have a magnet schedule for the 2003 Miami University volleyball team (our daughter Jordan’s freshman year playing for the Redhawks).

• I found a re-elect Adelman magnet. “I like Mike” for county commissioner. The late Mike Adelman was one of the nicest guys and maybe the biggest cheerleader ever for Huron County. He really loved his job and he was one of the best high school announcers ever. He and Bob Haas were tremendous working together on WLKR.

• I found a bunch of old birthday cards and one card congratulating me on my 30th year at the Reflector. I have worked with a lot of great people over the years.

• I found my 2004 season pass to Norwalk Raceway Park.

* I found drink chips to the American Legion post in Bucyrus, American Legion post in Marion, VFW in Sheffield Lake, American Legion in Plymouth and Bourbon Street. I think I got all of them from my old buddy, Richard Russell, who worked here for many years.

* I found a press release dated Feb. 28, 1983, from state Rep. Don J. Pease (D-13th district). Pease, at the urging of new Huron County Commissioner Jim Westerhold, fought to save the county $2,296.18 for some transcripts lost in an appeals case. The mistake was on the federal level, but they wanted to charge the county. Because of the two, the federal government picked up the tab.

• Speaking of Westerhold, I have a copy of the photo we ran Oct. 30, 1982 of him with a top hat and a flag waving to motorists along Milan Avenue. He won the seat for commissioner, thanks to some good old-fashioned politicking.

• I found a page from the Oct. 25, 1984 Plymouth Advertiser. There was a letter to the editor talking about the brawl during the Plymouth-Black River football game at Mary Fate Park. “When the football field becomes a battleground, some careful planning must be done to avoid any future barbaric outbursts so that no game opponent can stir such hostile actions in ‘our team’ and our spectators,” read the letter from Mrs. R. Eugene Russell, of Shiloh. I remember that brawl ... it is something we still talk about from time to time.

• Finally, I found a book of matches promoting Cochran for state senate. The late Tom Cochran was former mayor in Norwalk with grand ideas — including putting a dome over Main Street. As you can imagine, that dome idea was dumb, but we got a lot of great stories out of Cochran. 

I remember one time we were at Raceway Park when the IHRA Nationals were coming to town. Cochran was there in his jumpsuit promoting the local airport and the city. He was talking to Eddie Hill, a great drag racer at the time, and he told Hill his goal was to become president of the United States.

Cochran didn’t become president or senator. He ran into some legal problems while he was mayor and that ended his political career. 

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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