An anniversary is usually a pretty straightforward thing: An event occurred at a certain time, and every year thereafter it’s appropriate to commemorate that event. Special celebrations are often observed at 5- and 10-year milestones.
In the Bugle’s case, things are a bit more complicated. The first issue of the paper was published in July 1974, but the nonprofit organization that took over the Bugle and continues to publish it, Park Press Inc., was formed in 1975.
So, was the Bugle’s 35th anniversary last year, or is it this year?
The current board of directors of Park Press Inc., in its infinite wisdom, has declared that 2010 should mark the paper’s 35th anniversary, which will be observed by several retrospective articles throughout the year.
The decision to date the Bugle’s origin from the inception of Park Press Inc. is not entirely arbitrary. Park Press is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization, formed under Minnesota’s Nonprofit Corporation Act.
As a free nonprofit newspaper, the Park Bugle has always relied on a combination of advertising revenue and contributions from readers. Without that non-advertising support, the Bugle would not have become the paper it is today.
The time period when the Bugle began witnessed the launch of several other community newspapers, many of them nonprofits. Since then, most of those have either ceased publica-tion or been taken over by for-profit companies.
The tax-exempt status of Park Press has been reviewed and confirmed several times by the IRS, most recently in 2007. Having 501(c)(3) status is important because it means that any contributions to the Bugle are tax-deductible.
Three people signed the articles of incorporation that brought Park Press Inc. into being: Andrew Boss, Gerald McKay and Joseph Skovholt. They were joined on the board of directors by John Hunt, Josephine Nelson, Kurt Steinhauser and Gail McClure, the Bugle’s first editor.
The Park Bugle was a stepchild of Crocus Hill Press, which published a community newspaper called the Grand Gazette. Andy Boss approached Roger Swardson, the president of that organization, to discuss the possibility of starting a similar paper in St. Anthony Park.
Swardson agreed to help launch the Park Bugle, and the paper was published by Crocus Hill Press from July 1974 until April 1975, when the ownership was officially transferred to Park Press Inc.
The Bugle’s first issue noted the demise of the Bench, a monthly publication that served Lauderdale, and included an invitation to Lauderdale residents to contribute news to the Bugle.
From its inception, then, the Bugle covered areas outside St. Anthony Park – first Falcon Heights and Lauderdale, and later the northwest part of the Como Park neighborhood. Today the paper is delivered door-to-door in all four communities.
That first issue also publicized the Fourth of July celebration held in Langford Park, with a parade down Como Avenue, and every July issue since then has included a similar announcement.
Other stories included news of 102 additional units at the U of M’s Commonwealth Terrace, a petition organized by the St. Anthony Park Association to add a stoplight at Como and Doswell, plans for the 86-unit Hampden Square complex in south St. Anthony Park, and an announcement of the Green Grass Festival at Raymond and Hampden, which was to include a dunking booth that would feature City Councilmember Vic Tedesco and State Representative Neil Dieterich.
Advertisers in that inaugural issue included several businesses still in operation (Micawber’s, Park Service, Milton Investment, Bibelot), some that have changed names or ownership (Lamplighter Inne, St. Anthony Park Barber and Stylists, O’Donnell’s Cleaners) and some that are no more (Bridgeman, Miller Drug, St. Anthony Park Realty, Terminal Bar).
The world of publishing has changed considerably since 1975, and the Bugle continues to reassess its role as a community service. To that end, the paper will distribute a survey in the next few months that will give readers an opportunity to tell the Bugle board and staff how they think the paper could be improved.