“New bar owner says no go go girls” reads the headline from a June, 1973 story on the ‘Capac Journal’ page of the Tri-City Times.
The huge and somewhat unwieldy bound book that holds that issue—and six months worth of other weekly editions of your “hometown newspaper” is sitting on a long table in the Stella MacDonald Reading Room of the Ruth Hughes Library in Imlay City. It’s one of a dozen or so bound books containing vintage issues of the Imlay City Times, the Almont Times Herald and the Tri-City Times that date back to the mid 1950s and up to the present day.
Colleagues and staff members Maria Brown—the assistant editor—and Tom Wearing—writer, reporter, and the newspaper’s sole professional drummer/musician and myself haul those books—and other Tri-City Times memorabilia and of course our most recent Michigan Press Association awards (15 of them but who’s counting…) into the library for a special ‘Newspapers and Nosh’ event coordinated for March is Reading month.
From the moment the idea was conceived to the actual event itself on Thursday, March 21, library Director Tracy Aldrich and her brilliant staff were totally on board. And as usual, totally creative about the whole thing. Children’s Activities Coordinator Mandy Summers comes up with a ‘newspaper hat’ craft for kids; Tracy somehow finds newsprint deli wrap to serve the food on and digs out historic newspapers from her own collection, and library board member Cynthia Strobel puts her chefs hat on and cooks up a culinary storm for the after-work soiree. As always, Cynthia goes all out with her innovative skills in the kitchen, assembling chicken wrap sandwiches, brie and apricot jam, cucumbers with lime and tahini, cheese and crackers with fresh grapes, a delicious and slightly spicy artichoke dip, yummy mini-quiches with and without sausage, newsprint wrap ‘cones’ of caramel corn and spiced nuts for the kids, and the cutest little confection called ‘belly buttons’ consisting of small pretzel rounds filled with melted milk chocolate and topped with two pastel-colored M&M’s.
Friend Deb brings her ‘simply amazing’ peanut butter cookies (simple because they contain just three ingredients, not one of which is flour) and amazing because no one can eat just one. Friend Paula brings hummus and vegetables, and library staff member Jessica Bostian makes a loaf of ‘Don’s Bread’ in honor of the beloved and highly missed library benefactor Don Davenport. Suffice it to say it’s a feast and a delight. The entire event was free, and in a word, it was FABULOUS.
The Ruth Hughes Library is an absolute gem in the community. And a perfect illustration of how looks can be deceiving. Driving by the Almont Avenue building it looks rather small but I’m here to tell you it’s anything but. The first floor stretches out long toward the back, and along with the Stella MacDonald Reading Room hosts stacks of books, high top tables ala cafe style, quiet rooms, a bank of computers and much more. The spacious lower level houses special events, workshops, and any number of activities and happenings featuring local businesses and entrepreneurs who rent the space.
We applaud and appreciate the amazing Ruth Hughes Library and its equally amazing, outstanding and passionate staff. If you haven’t stopped in lately, we urge you to check it out. Whether it’s the latest best sellers, reference books, Kindles or DVDs, you’ll find all that and more within its walls. Most of all, you’ll find the sort of love and enthusiasm that comes from the hearts of people who truly care about what they do, and who constantly strive to be the best at it.
A big ‘thank you’ to Tracy and all the staff for an amazing ‘Newspapers and Nosh’ night at the library!
Email Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.