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The paper trail

The paper trail

Call it human resources Gannett-style.

By the time staff at the Democrat and Chronicle learned they were getting a new publisher, the previous one, David Hunke, was already in Detroit, where he'll be leading the venerable Detroit Free Press. Gannett obtained the Freep from Knight Ridder, another giant newspaper chain, in an elaborate three-way deal with MediaNews Group involving papers from Bellingham, Washington, to Tallahassee, Florida, "an undisclosed amount of cash," and, probably, next year's first-round draft pick.

For Rochester the swap means we get a new publisher. Michael Kane hails from Michigan's Lansing State Journal (another Gannett property) where he was also publisher.

It's impossible to tell if Kane will run Rochester's biggest news outlet differently than Hunke, but there are hints that he'll do some things the same. Community involvement for one: "I'm going to be out in the community quite a bit," he said in the D&C last week.

Berl Schwartz, editor and publisher of City Pulse, Lansing's alternative weekly, says that's consistent with Kane's management style in Lansing.

"Michael is a high-profile publisher," he says. "He built a lengthy list of memberships in community organizations."

There's at least one interesting episode from Kane's tenure in Lansing that's worth a closer look. For the September 12, 2002 newspaper, the State Journal announced they'd be including a special section commemorating the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks --- at an additional cost of 15 cents. Some of the proceeds (two-and-a-half cents) went to a fund to install a September 11 memorial. Subscribers were told they could opt out if they wished.

That rubbed a few readers the wrong way, and they found a sympathetic ear in one of the paper's own columnists, John Schneider, who wrote this in his column:

"That sounded, to some, like what the folks in the Attorney General's Office call 'negative optioning.' That's how it sounded, in fact, to Stanley Pruss, head of the AG's Consumer Protection Division. Pruss was unequivocal in his opinion: 'I think that's unilateral, unlawful negative optioning.'"

Kane disputed that, telling his own columnist that the law was a "gray area." The AG's office took no action, but nine days later, Kane wrote to readers explaining the paper's action and saying it would remove the charges.

For those in the crowd who care about the daily paper and want to know a little more, here's one more piece of reading, an interview Kane gave to the Greater Lansing Business Monthly in April 2001:

The big atomic swindle

Who are we kidding? We love to boast. And we know we're right. When City Newspaper tells you a band's righteous, then you know it's righteous. Still, it's nice to be backed by the big guns every now and then.

In the midst of a Gwen Stefani interview in the latest issue of the lesbian magazine Curve, the writer referred to The Atomic Swindlers' April Laragy as "the next Gwen." Now the Atomic Swindlers über-sexy chanteuse deserves the praise and recognition, but we gotta cry bullshit; Curve got it backwards. Laragy's been rockin' out with her cootchie out long before Stefani had any doubts.

And that ain't all. In a recent article hailing glam rock's new wave, Village Voice writer George Smith raves about The Swindlers as being "the very best in a fine bunch." He also compares drummer-producer Roy Stein's knob-twiddling to Alan Parsons' while commenting on Laragy's vinyl-clad sex appeal.

And now for something completely different: Rochester's low-down tele-slingin' bluesman, Dave D'Angelico (aka Texas Son) is featured in the latest issue (#95) of Blues Revue Magazine. Tex's cut, "Chester's Blues," graces the free CD sampler inside.

Told ya.

Bug Bowl blues

Citing mounting financial constraints Bug Jar bigwigs have pulled the plug on this year's Bug Bowl, scheduled for August 27. National (and international) acts scheduled to play that show --- The Queers, The Irving Klaws, and Japan's The Spunks --- will play inside that night at The Bug Jar along with The Grinders. The plan next year is to actively seek corporate sponsorship.

Visioning Upper Monroe

The Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association and the Rochester Regional Community Design Center (RRCDC) just completed "visioning" for the area of Monroe that stretches from Culver Road to the YMCA.

The groups gathered input from roughly 100 residents and business owners, using the information to complete a series of architectural drawings that will be on display Saturday, August 13, at the New Life Presbyterian Church starting at 2 p.m.

"People are seeing that we are losing our authenticity. A town in Oregon looks the same as a town in New York," says RRCDC Executive Director Joni Monroe. "As we have seen with ARTWalk, this process revitalizes an area because people are drawn to its unique character."

Some of the plans set for display: narrowing Culver down to two lanes; a serpentine walkway through the lower half of Cobbs Hill Park that circles Lake Riley; a pedestrian bridge that connects Monroe to Park Avenue at Berkeley; and untangling the anti-pedestrian mess at I-490 and Wilson Farms.