Inaugural Celebration Of Local Newspaper Institution

Roots of TMJ News Started Thirty Years Ago

~ by Rick Langenberg ~

Thirty years is a long time for any local business, organization, and political entity.

But face it, this is outright bizarre for a newspaper, with the technological revolutions that have occurred; and the ongoing myth that community papers are dinosaurs and synonymous with dead rocks.

Yet, this month, we are celebrating three decades of serving as a local journalism institution, community outlet, historic ink rag, tabloid, or other nicknames conned our way since late 1989. Like most newspapers, we have experienced our share of fans and foes.

The personalities of TMJ may have changed over the years, with many saying we should do more stories about our infamous crew. Quite frankly, we have gained a

Mike Parish maintained quite a multi-varied status in the community, and questions still persist about his legacy. Mike passed on Nov. 11, 2011

reputation for featuring some pretty diverse and unique personalities. Just ask the staff of the Historic Ute Inn in Woodland Park, who try to keep us in a separate area during staff gatherings.  If you work for TMJ News, and earlier the High Mountain Sun, you are often regarded as A Definite Character. I am no exception to that dose of reality.

These stories should be reserved for a book. Some have compared our antics to a rock band that just won’t go away.

Yes, we have our share of stories and entertaining times. Kids have grown up and become adults and even seniors during our stint as a newspaper.

Thirty years ago during our inaugural edition, our fine abode was visited by former Colorado Governor Roy Romer. The issues of growth, downtown development, real estate boom-bust hysteria, fiscal management of city hall, and recreation bliss dominated our local pages.  Sound familiar.

The faces may have changed, but many of the stories and struggles remain the same.

Yet, our local abode, village or whatever you call our area, has encountered big changes and experienced an amazing level of growth.

Oddly enough, several weeks after our inaugural issue, the rumors of gaming coming to Cripple Creek circulated. That rumor turned into a real life development that changed the face of Teller County and Cripple Creek forever. It was one of those rumors that exploded, thanks partially to our publication, and took on a life of its own.

Over the years, our region has been bombarded by development mania, hefty land use battles, political squabbles, soap opera-like showdowns, recreation, resort and housing bids, a new amazing golf course, and yes, murders.

The end of the Patrick Frazee trial has finally arrived and our area can return to normalcy and we can say farewell to our fine media friends from Denver and other parts of the country. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out of town.

Sadly enough, some of the national attention of our area has centered on bad things and disasters, such as the Jacob Ind murder saga, the capture of the Texas Seven killers, the Hayman and Waldo Canyon fires, and the troubling Kelsey Berreth killing.

Unfortunately, the highlights of Teller County life, which probably offers the best recreation secrets of any place in Colorado, are often overlooked

Yet, the one factor remains the same. The people, including TMJ staff members, are what make this area special and quite unique. With the many disasters that have unfolded, the way local folks have come together in our area is still quite a treasure.

So join us in the next month as we celebrate a 30-year tradition.