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Co-Founder Nedra Hawley at the 40th birthday party for The Mountain Enterprise in 2005. Hawley began the newspaper in 1966 with her blue manual typewriter on which the paper was first created, in her family’s basement. The typewriter is now on display at the Ridge Route Communities Museum.
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The Mountain Enterprise office in 1995, on Mt. Pinos Way, east of Elm Trail. The paper moved to its current location on Los Padres Drive and Mt. Pinos Way in April of 1995.
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A couple of the many state and national awards won by The Mountain Enterprise since 2007, for public service, investigative reporting and excellence in online news coverage.
The Mountain Enterprise Enters its 46th Year of Service to the Mountain
By Gary Meyer and Patric Hedlund
On September 22, 1966 the first edition of The Mountain Enterprise was produced on a robin’s egg blue Royal typewriter by Nedra Hawley and her husband Jess.
That typewriter is now on display at the Ridge Route Communities Museum in Frazier Park.
The only front page news story in Edition Number One was “Water: Lebec’s Number One Problem,” about the difficulties of living with inconsistent water service, and the call for something to be done about it.
We are still struggling with some of those issues today.
The technology used to produce The Mountain Enterprise has changed considerably in its nearly-half century of continuous service. In the sixties it was typed on letter-sized paper and mimeographed for distribution. In 1970 the paper was converted to a tabloid format printed on an industrial web press.
“Paste-up” is what assembling stories and ads on pages was called, because that was exactly what they did: cut strips of printed text and pasted them onto page layouts, then the printer made a photoplate of the paste-up from which they printed the newspaper. That continued until the mid- 1990s when computer software was adopted by Editor Linda Sawyer to paginate story text, ads and images together, producing an integrated page from which photoplates were made.
Today, everything is designed and assembled in computer software and transmitted electronically for printing. Breaking news stories are posted at www.MountainEnterprise. com, a vital resource for many who need to know how wildfires, snowstorms or Interstate 5 traffic snarls will affect their lives. There’s a power generator on hand when the electricity goes off.
In 1995, the paper moved its offices to the present location at Mt. Pinos Way and Los Padres Drive, taking over the former Santa Barbara Savings building which was built in 1982.
According to historian Bonnie Kane, four other newspapers served this area prior to The Mountain Enterprise: “The Frazier News was put out by the developers of Frazier Park in the 1920s, The Lebec Tribune, put together by workers at the General Petroleum plant in Lebec in the 1930s, The Ridge Route Rambler in 1939 and The Mountain Breeze in the 1950s.”
“The Mountain Enterprise has certainly outlived them all, thanks to its variety of wonderful editors through the years,” Kane wrote in her address for the 40th anniversary celebration.
The paper has changed hands six times since its first edition. After Jess and Nedra Hawley, ownership passed to Jack and Peggy Albee, Neil and Michelle Keyzers, Keith and Kitty Jo Nelson, Mountain Media, then three successive groups of owners under Hometown Publishing.
Patric Hedlund, Gary Meyer and Pam Sturdevant are going into their eighth year working to keep The Mountain Enterprise local and fiercely independent.
The Mountain Enterprise won its first statewide journalism awards in 2007 in the Public Service, Ag Resource and Best Website categories. When awarded a second public service honor in 2010 for its coverage of Pine Mountain’s firefighterparamedic initiative—which brought Kern County its first firefighter paramedics and better emergency response service to this rural area— the blue ribbon judges said: “Kern County today has a better emergency response team thanks to The Mountain Enterprise.
“The newspaper’s gritty and persistent effort to get a firefighter-paramedic program approved on a public vote represents a notable example of journalistic public service,” the judges’ panel wrote.
“Gritty and persistent effort” is the journalistic tradition that is likely to be upheld for the next 46 years at The Mountain Enterprise.
This is part of the September 02, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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