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News Feature

Blue Hill
Web exclusive, December 9, 2010
Community turns out to celebrate The Packet anniversary

The Weekly Packet: Then & Now Archive
Click here to see the full The Weekly Packet: Then & Now Archive.

Bette Britt and Packet co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh

At The Weekly Packet’s 50th Anniversary celebration Thursday, December 2, owner Nat Barrows paid special tribute to long time news reporter Bette Britt, left, and Packet co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh. Not only were both women there for the first ever Packet publication, but both still write for the paper regularly.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Faith DeAmbrose

In an event a half century in the making, an organization that normally reports the area’s news made the news as it celebrated a golden anniversary. The Weekly Packet marked 50 years of publication with its December 2 issue and welcomed the community to join the celebration.

And join they did. Approximately 150 people attended The Packet’s open house December 2 at the newspaper office as well as a reception that followed at neighboring Main Street business Fairwinds Florist.

The Packet is one of three newspapers published by Penobscot Bay Press. As part of the celebration, staff created a 32-page special anniversary supplement, which was included in the December 2 issue of the newspaper. Susan Sorenson, ad sales representative and marketing manager, and Darcy Grindal, who serves as the Island Ad-Vantages office manager and is the classifieds, remembrances and coming events manager, created a number of displays that blanketed the walls of The Packet office. The displays highlighted 50 years of involvement in the community. A special display was created to honor founder Jerry Durnbaugh, who died in 2003.

The open house transitioned to a reception at 6 p.m. at Fairwinds. Penobscot Bay Press publisher and editor Nat Barrows used the occasion to recognize past and present staff as well as two women who have continued to write since the paper’s first publication—co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh and longtime reporter Bette Britt. Barrows thanked both women for their continued work and presented them with handcrafted gold pins from the Pearson Legacy Gallery in Deer Isle.

In a speech that highlighted community support, commitment, continuity and connections, Barrows thanked the community at large and the advertisers who provide the financial backbone for the newspaper organization. Barrows said there are 11 businesses that advertised in the first issue and that are still in business and continuing to support the paper with their advertising dollars 50 years later. He thanked those businesses and presented principals with a monogrammed canvas tote filled with tokens of appreciation.

Not missing an opportunity to promote the company’s newest publication—a multimedia book with DVD, titled I Loved This Work….I Have Been Delightfully Busy, an autobiography by Artic explorer, the late John T. Crowell, of Isle au Haut—Barrows announced that a copy was the event’s door prize. Book editor Spencer Apollonio drew the winning ticket, and DVD developer Capt. Jim Sharp read out the name of the winner, Lorriman Looke.

In an interview following the open house, Barrows said he was pleased.

“To connect with the more than 150 people who came to the open house and reception and to hear continuing support for the company and The Weekly Packet was a reassuring affirmation of what we have been doing all these years,” he said. He said he also appreciated the outpouring of support from the many former staffers who attended. “I enjoyed having the current staff connect with the former staff members so they could realize how important they all have been to this team effort over the years.”

Bette Britt and Packet co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh

At The Weekly Packet’s 50th Anniversary celebration Thursday, December 2, owner Nat Barrows paid special tribute to long time news reporter Bette Britt, left, and Packet co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh. Not only were both women there for the first ever Packet publication, but both still write for the paper regularly.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose
Sue Duffy and Mikey Bannister

Sue Duffy and Mikey Bannister pause to take a look at a special 32-page supplement created to mark the occasion.

Photo by Jonathan Thomas
Gayle Durnbaugh shows photos

The Packet co-founder Gayle Durnbaugh shows a few of the 150 people who attended the newspaper’s 50th anniversary celebration a selection of community photos taken by her late husband and co-founder Jerry Durnbaugh.

Photo by Faith DeAmbrose