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Chance to live a dream
Written by Bob Hyle   
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 7:44 PM

A couple of events in Harrison last week shook some of the many cobwebs that occupy my brain, and reminded me of a significant time in my own life.

One of the events was the death of former Harrison mayor Harry A. “Ham” Rolfes.

The other was the announcement that an execution date finally has been set for Jeffrey Wogenstahl, who was convicted of murdering Amber Garrett.

These were two significant newsmakers during the years 1986 and 1993 when I owned a weekly newspaper in this community known as The Record.

Yes, it was 20 years ago, February of 1993, that I published the final issue of what was my grand dream for success.

It seems like a pretty silly dream when you look at it in 2013. First off, there were two weekly newspapers in a town of some 7,000 people.

Secondly, the heyday of newspapers has come and gone. I still love newspapers, but the days when people sat around in the living room getting their news in print form is outdated.

When I came to Harrison in July of 1986, the first person I sought out was the mayor, Ham Rolfes.

Over the next seven years, I probably wrote his name in the newspaper more than any other.

If something was going on in Harrison, Ham Rolfes had his nose in it and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Like most people here, I wish I had never heard Wogenstahl’s name. What little innocence Harrison had back then was taken away for good in November of 1991 when Wogenstahl committed his unspeakable act on a 10-year-old girl.

Impossible battle

Looking back, I was fighting an impossible battle when I bought The Record. In my years running the newspaper, I was often judged as much on its previous ownership - the evil Chuck Biddle. That was a battle I couldn’t win.

My dream had been to build up enough good will in the community that one day I would convince the brothers Kuntz, who owned this newspaper, to sell their product to me so Harrison could have a single, weekly newspaper.

Unfortunately, I never got to share my vision with Bob and Bill Kuntz. Less than two years after I came to Harrison, they sold their newspaper to Register Publications, owned by another set of brothers, Gene and Dale McCann.

In another incredible coincidence, I attended the funeral of the father of an old friend last week and who should also be there but Gene McCann.

Sometimes, inspiration for this column slaps me in the face three or four times before the proverbial lightbulb illuminates.

20 years later

Twenty years later, I look at the experience of owning my own newspaper as being life altering.

I wish The Record had been more of a success than it ultimately proved to be, but I don’t regret my decision to move on with my life.

I worked 60-plus hours a week for seven years and my deadline day would routinely start around 8 a.m. and drag on until midnight.  I had one vacation in those seven years.

Trust me, it was awful, and I’d do it again if I was 35-years-old and had a chance to live a dream.

Bob Hyle covers sports and writes a weekly column for The Harrison Press. He lives in Bright.