Santa Paula Times celebrates a decade of service to the community

January 21, 2003
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesIn the Santa Clara River Valley, when someone hands you a lemon you make lemonade. And, when Don and Debbie Johnson found that the Santa Paula Chronicle, the century old community newspaper, was about to close its doors for good, the couple started the Santa Paula Times to serve the “Citrus Capital of the World.”The Santa Paula Times celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala Chamber of Commerce Mixer. Held Jan. 15th at the newspaper’s East Main Street office, the event drew over 100 supporters of the award-winning hometown newspaper.The Johnsons had been the longtime publisher and business managers of the Chronicle and serve the same role at the Santa Paula Times, which debuted within a week of the abrupt Dec. 31, 1992 closure of the Chronicle, which had been published five days a week.The Santa Paula Times started as a weekly newspaper but within a remarkably short time met its present publication schedule of two issues a week. The Santa Paula Times offers readers the chance to keep up with local events with stories on hard news, features, sports, community events and letters to the editor, the latter published in Friday editions.During the chamber mixer, Editor and Publisher Don Johnson noted that Mayor John Procter, Council members Rick Cook, Mary Ann Krause and Ray Luna as well as City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz and Martin Hernandez, representing Supervisor Kathy Long, were in attendance.Johnson stood on a chair to display the final issue of the Santa Paula Chronicle, “December 31st, 1992. . .and on January 6th, 1993, ten years ago we opened up the Santa Paula Times. Many Chronicle staffers still work for us while others have moved on,” including Marianne Ratcliff, now the Opinion Page Editor of the Ventura Star, who was present at the celebration.
“This whole operation couldn’t happen without staff,” including delivery personnel, he added, but especially his wife, Debbie, who handles many newspaper operations, including advertising sales.Staffers Diana Ramos, Suzi Skutley and Brian Wilson were also introduced, with Johnson noting that Ramos’ small daughter, Marissa, is familiar with those who visit the Santa Paula Times. Another Marissa - the Johnsons’ toddler granddaughter - is also a frequent visitor to the newspaper, located at 944 E. Main St.“Ten years ago we lost our community newspaper,” said Johnson. “Many of you showed up that last day and I really appreciated it then and appreciate it now. . .we wouldn’t be here without you.”

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