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Thursday, March 4, 2010
Kevin Howe: 40 Years Later
We took time out in the newsroom last week to mark an astounding accomplishment: Kevin Howe's 40th anniversary with The Herald.
With all that has happened over the decades at this newspaper, to have survived for four decades is a testament to perseverance. Kevin is the lunch-box minimalist type, but he has also long been The Herald's go-to guy on a multitude of subjects, ranging from the military and veterans issues to guns 'n' horses to the survival of the California condor.
His stories about young Danny Holley about 20 years ago led to abundant changes at the old military installation at Fort Ord. Holley was a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide so he would not be a burden on his struggling military family, and Kevin's stories not only resulted in more military housing at Fort Ord, but it also inspired The Herald's own Operation Christmas Cheer.
Also over the years, Kevin was "embedded" with Fort Ord troops during various foreign incursions and occupations, covering their actions for The Herald.
Beyond all that, Kevin is one of those characters who makes working in a newsroom so, well, surreal.
Preparing for Kevin's celebration, I had fun digging through old copies of The Herald, comparing and contrasting the old "Monterey Peninsula Herald" with today's editions. I was able to find Kevin's first byline at The Herald, which turned out to be a feature story about a local "Up With People!" appearance.
Among the interesting differences between the old and the new (besides the decidedly gray appearance of the 40-year-old Herald), was the near-total lack of local stories on the front page of the paper. I know that when I arrived here "only" 25 years ago, it was stressed upon me that very few events that take place on the Monterey Peninsula could rival the importance of national and international issues, and that The Herald's front page should reflect that understanding.
Of course, that was all before cellphones, the internet, CNN and news radio provided national and international headlines 24 hours a day, seven days a week.