The cover of the first Ewing Observer, September 2003.
At the Ewing Observer, we are not in the business of talking about ourselves. Our focus is on the people, organizations and businesses in the township that we think you’ll enjoy reading about. But we thought we’d make an exception for this, the 10th anniversary of our first edition, which was published in September 2003.
Before we go any further, we’d like to say: thank you for reading! Thanks for being with us these 10 years. It has been our pleasure to be a part of the community and we look forward to many more decades bringing you stories about your community.
Every company has its lore, and in our office one of the best known stories is how the Ewing Observer came to be.
In the summer of 2003, Jamie Griswold and Joe Emanski had been working on a city paper called the Trenton Downtowner for almost two years, and were looking for a new project. But no bright light bulbs were appearing over their heads.
One day Jamie was talking with his neighbor Tom Valeri in the video store, and Tom asked Jamie: had he ever considered doing a community publication in Ewing? From that moment, the electricity started flowing.
The town’s existing community monthly, Ewing People, was known best for publishing the salaries of municipal and school employees. It had loyal readers who enjoyed that content, to be sure. But the salary lists also engendered a certain amount of bad feeling. There were some who felt there was room in Ewing for a community paper that focused on the positive things going on in town.
Griswold and Valeri, who lived a few houses apart in Ewing, decided to form a partnership. Within a few months, the first edition of the Ewing Observer was published, with Emanski as editor. Summer intern Melissa Borotto and graphics consultant Frank Sasso are the only other names in the staff box.
The cover stories in Vol. 1, No. 1 were a feature on the Credit Union of New Jersey, which had broken ground on its new headquarters; a back-to-school story centered on Parkway Elementary School; and a Q&A with then-mayor Wendell Pribila. Also on the first cover was a photo of Ewing High School football coach Craig Wood, teasing our story on the varsity football team.
This month, in commemoration of those stories, we have reconnected with the people we talked to back then. We went to Parkway to interview principal Nicole Harris about the state of the school 10 years on. For the story we also spoke to former principal Larry Fieber, whom we interviewed in 2003.
There’s no story on The Credit Union of New Jersey, although there could have been: it turns out the credit union does have some news to report, which you’ll be able to read about in October.
However, you will find on this month’s cover a Q&A we did with Pribila and his successor, Jack Ball. The pair of ex-mayors visited our office last month for a candid retrospective on their years in office.
We also caught up with Craig Wood, who retired in 2004, to see what he’s been up to since leaving the gridiron.
In the coming months, we plan to revisit more of our favorite stories from the early years. In fact, that endeavor has already begun. Last month, we wrote about singer Tyrus Bush, who first appeared in our second edition, in October 2003. If there’s a story you think we should revisit, don’t hesitate to send an email to email@example.com.
Jamie Griswold and Tom Valeri, co-publishers
Joe Emanski, managing editor