Here's What I Think About That

Neighborhood News from Wauna to Longbranch


This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Key Peninsula News.

Of course, we might not really be 50. Could be 48; maybe 51? We’re celebrating anyway.

The front page of this edition has January 2023 as Volume 50, Number 1. But while indexing our nearly complete online archive editions, dedicated volunteers discovered some peculiar discrepancies in the timekeeping of KP News editors past.

The earliest edition we have is October 1975, which refers to even earlier editions within its pages, but has no volume or issue numbers on its front page. The first numbered edition we have is dated February 1977, which is labeled Volume 3, Issue 2 and is notably the first edition that included a masthead.

That suggests the Key Peninsula Civic Center Newsletter, as it was originally called, launched in 1975 (making it volume 1). Perhaps as it grew in popularity (and size) someone decided to start keeping track and added the numbers.

It all worked fine until 1981 when partway through the year what should have been Volume 7 became Volume 8. Likewise, the year 1984 began as Volume 11 (when it was really 10) but somehow ended as Volume 12. The numbering errors continued, invariably followed by overcorrections that further confused the record instead of setting it straight.

Reading the archives is something of a folksy delight. Whatever the paper may have lacked in journalistic standards, it informed the greater community of local news and items of common civic interest, groups and activities, and local history. Even newcomers will recognize some familiar names that grace many roads on the peninsula. It gave residents the opportunity to read about others who lived and worked on the KP, to learn more about local schools, the fire department and the parks and recreation district. There are handwritten and hand-drawn advertisements, square dancing news, meeting dates, club bulletins, history and recipes, all written by hard-working local volunteers strengthening community bonds through engagement and participation.

It left a record of the time, helped improve the local economy, and spread the word long before anyone ever heard the term "email."

Like most publications, there were good years and bad. The newsletter struggled, was losing money and by August 2002 the KP Civic Center Association decided it was time to suspend publication and the presses stopped.

But if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that Key Penners are stubborn and refuse to let go of a great idea for long.

A Reconstitution Committee was formed by the KP Civic Center Association after the August shutdown and went to work resurrecting the publication financially and editorially. They created new publishing policies to focus on supporting and building community by reporting on important local issues. An editor was hired part-time, and a host of people worked behind the scenes to make things happen.

The newspaper you hold in your hands today would not be here without the people who made the relaunch of Key Peninsula News possible in February 2003, an edition indexed as Vol. 30, Number 1. Special thanks to those essential committee members: Committee Chair Bill Trandum; KPCCA executive board members Loyd Miller, Tim Kezele, Dale Loy and Sylvia Haase; past KPCCA presidents Betty Kelly and Dave Stratford; KPCCA board members Phil Bauer and Richard Brudvik-Lindner; Dave Brasfield, Ken Bushnell, Marjorie Dietz, William Dietz, Marty Marcus, Vicky McClung, Hugh McMillan, Simon Priest, Colleen Slater, Bob Stackhouse, Ann Taylor, Ed Taylor, Rodika Tollefson, Irene Torres, Alice Tramil. Special thanks as well to the Angel Guild for their generous support for the 2003 reformation, support that continues today.

The October 1975 edition mentions that a Larry Nichols was “the person responsible for getting this paper started.” Further searching found another reference to him in our September 1977 edition:

“In this issue we would like to spotlight Larry Nichols of Longbranch for his contributions to our community,” we reported. Nichols was elected president of the KP Civic Center Association in 1972. “At that time, he was interested in tying the community together through a newsletter, the forerunner of the present Key Peninsula Newsletter. He carried it on during his second term in 1973, and it became an established project.”

Which makes us 51 in 2023, on our 50th anniversary?

We decided to ask a responsible adult for guidance.

“You would not believe how many small and even bigger publications have this problem,” said Ilona Perry, library associate at the Tacoma Public Library’s Northwest Room, who kindly received our entire collection of KP News editions for preservation into perpetuity.

“It has us grinding our teeth trying to figure dates, volume and issue numbers. There is no set protocol, and what you are suggesting — staying with the current volume count and acknowledging the discrepancy — is the best solution. And most importantly: Stay consistent from now on. Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary!”

So, happy 50th Anniversary to Key Peninsula News with many thanks to the many hundreds of people who put their shoulder to the wheel of this work over five decades, and to the many thousands of donors who made it possible.