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Our 28th year of publishing

Published July 6, 2021

Bulletin starts 28th year of publication

By John Toth / The Bulletin

This week’s paper starts the 28th year of publishing The Bulletin.

The years have flown by very fast. It seems like just yesterday we were shopping around for some computer gear we could afford to begin our adventure into the weekly newspaper world.

We bought a fairly middle-of-the-road computer with Windows 3.1 (it also worked with DOS programs), a scanner that was really hard to use and seldom worked right and a 300-DPI printer that had to be at the bottom of its class.

Even at that, these tools added up to thousands of dollars in the early 1990s. But we found one sweet bargain.

The publishing program we used was the one my brother-in-law, Harold Allen, found on a Walmart discount rack for $10. It was on sale for half price. I guess not too many people around here were in the market for a simple publishing program.

I messed around with the program for a while and started really liking it. We used it for many years, but we have since upgraded to top-of-the line equipment and programs.

We glued the first issue onto layout paper that we bought from one of the area newspapers. We couldn’t find a waxer we were supposed to use, so we just glued it. Once the text was down on the paper, that was it - no changing.

We did find a waxer at a Clear Lake art supply store later on, which was a big help. (The layout paper and waxer setup are long gone, replaced by digital production methods.) The first issue was dated July 4, 1994. It was eight pages, no color.

That was the start of our great adventure, and it has not stopped. I left my job at the Houston Chronicle six months later. It was a choice between The Bulletin or the Chronicle job. I couldn’t do both. The Chronicle would have allowed me, but I wasn’t getting any sleep. We also had two boys, a toddler girl and a house mortgage.

I can almost hear you. Why didn’t you stay with a big paper like the Chronicle with full benefits and paid health insurance? That was a crazy, perhaps irresponsible move.

Maybe, but I had to try. I was getting restless at the Chronicle, and this was an opportunity to do something on my own. My wife, Sharon, and I saved up some money, and I took a leap of faith. We have been running the paper together ever since.

I stayed long enough with the Chronicle to have our third child born on its insurance plan. When we knew everything was in order, I bought my own health insurance policy and put in my notice.

I was talked twice out of quitting by co-workers and editors. But in February 1995, I was finally on my own, without a paycheck or benefits. It was sink or swim.

We’re still swimming, sometimes against the current, but have fared well, thanks to our loyal readers and advertisers.

It has been an incredible ride so far, dear reader, and I don’t want to stop. The Bulletin has become an integral part of the community, and throughout our decades of publishing, we think we were able to help change the direction of this county. Today, we provide a valuable service to thousands of readers who enjoy The Bulletin weekly.

It has been nothing but pure joy to bring you this paper weekly. Every part of it, even the bookkeeping and distribution in the rain. We have the greatest readers.

Thank you readers and advertisers for believing in us all these years. There are many years to come. The adventure continues.

(John looks forward to hearing from you on this subject. Send me a note at john.bulletin@gmail.com. You can even send an old-fashioned letter to: The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516.)