Houston residents have returned to their hurricane-ravaged homes, ready to rip out drywall, tear up carpets and sift through the destruction for surviving valuables.
Robin Good, director of business development with GateHouse Media, was among those homeowners. As devastating as her situation is, it could have been worse.
Good and her elderly dog were nearly stranded in their home in Katy, Texas, while the flood waters rose. But a connection with another GateHouse employee resulted in a timely rescue.
The Thursday before the storm really hit, Aug. 27, Good was returning home from a business trip. Officials were urging residents to shelter in place, so Good stocked up on supplies, made sure all her devices were charged and prepared to hunker down.
“It didn’t seem so bad that night and of course there was no flooding. It was overcast the next day but the sun came out,” Good said. “Then we got 48 inches in 48 hours. Houston floods, but I’ve never had a problem before.”
Still, Good’s home hadn’t lost power, and her backyard only had a little flooding. Saturday and Sunday go by, and the roadways leaving Good’s neighborhood were unpassable. She was stranded — but still safe. The water hadn’t risen.
That changed on Monday, when the water swiftly began flooding her yard, then her home.
Good retreated to her attic but didn’t have an ax in case she needed to break through. She began posting increasingly distressed status updates on Facebook, where they were seen by a friend.
Aimee Thomas, a multimedia account executive with the StarBanner in Ocala, Florida, met Good for just a week when Good was in Florida on a work trip. The two hit it off and friended each other on Facebook.
Thomas happened to have a friend who lived in Sugar Land, Texas — about 20 miles from Houston — who had a Jeep prepared for rescues. Thomas put the two in contact, and Good was whisked to safety as the waters closed in around her.
The water was too high for the Jeep to make it to her house, so Good waded through waist-deep water to make it out. Her 13-year-old dog, Bonnie, swam “for the first time in her life,” Good said.
As the storm raged, Good made it to Dallas, where her niece met her. The two drove 22 hours to North Carolina. After an agonizing wait, Good was finally able to get back into her house late last week.
The house, she said, is a complete loss.
“I put some things up on shelves, but at that point you just get out. You get out with your life,” Good said. “About 80 percent of people in Houston don’t have flood insurance and I’m one of those people.”
Now, she’s facing the monstrous task of cleanup.
“We’re tearing every bit of drywall out now. All the floors. All the furniture,” she said. “It looks like a war zone.”
Lundblade is a Wichita native and has more than 20 years of experience in the journalism industry. He has previously held positions at the Wichita Eagle, the Kansas City Sar and at the magazine division of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Lundblade will oversee day-to-day operations for both publications, as well as revenue, circulation and news budgeting.
Mike Murphy was recently named as GateHouse Media’s vice president of operations for the state of Missouri.
Murphy has served as senior group publisher in north central Missouri since 2014, where he has been responsible for newspapers in Boonville, Brookfield, Chillicothe, Hannibal, Kirksville, Mexico and Moberly.
As VP of operations, Murphy will retain the responsibilities of his former position and take on the day-to-day operations of several other publications in Missouri, including the Columbia Daily Tribune, and oversee Tribune Publishing Co. operations.
Ellis Smith was recently named as the new general manager of The Hawk Eye in Burlington, Iowa.
He most recently served as digital editor of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, where his work garnered several industry awards and he was also part of the paper’s “The Poverty Puzzle” reporting project, which earned the Free Press a finalist position for the Pulitzer Prize.
He is a graduate of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, where he was editor-in-chief of the college’s newspaper, the West Georgian, and also produced a daily live newscast UTV-13.
Denise Robbins was recently named as GateHouse Media’s new Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing.
Robbins brings 20 years of success in developing multichannel marketing, strategic partnership and innovative consumer revenue programs to the role, and will be responsible for GateHouse Media’s consumer marketing strategy and revenue growth. This includes both print and digital subscriptions and the development of new consumer-driven revenue streams. In addition to working closely with corporate and field circulation leaders, she will partner with GateHouse’s content, product and strategy teams on the development of new products and services.
“As we continue our effort to achieve year-over-year revenue growth, it is essential that we both optimize our traditional newspaper circulation revenue and develop new consumer revenue streams,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “Denise’s experience, using consumer insights and data to drive business strategy, will be a significant asset for us.”
Most recently, Robbins served as Executive Director/Consumer Revenue for The New York Times, where she led acquisition marketing and customer experience for the newspaper’s print subscription business. She previously served as VP and Corporate Director for New Bay Media, an NYC-based private equity portfolio of more than 60 music and consumer electronics publications. In this role, reporting to the CEO, she had responsibility for consumer revenue across the enterprise. Robbins launched her career in a variety of marketing positions with specialty publishers, beginning in circulation marketing at Dow Jones/IDD enterprises.
Leclercq began at the Observer in 1999 as a community news intern and has since held multiple positions at the newspaper, most recently as the managing editor, a position he has held since 2014.
“Matt is the perfect fit in leading the Observer newsroom moving forward,” Publisher Bob Gruber said. “The time he has spent in Fayetteville gives him a unique understanding of the market from day one. He has a great understanding of both our platforms of print and digital. I am excited to have Matt join the executive team at the Observer.”
Leclercq holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a native of New Orleans and grew up in Arkansas and western North Carolina.
The Fayetteville Observer‘s Monica Vendituoli was recently offered one of 10 Emerging Journalist Fellowships from the Journalism and Women Symposium, an organization dedicated to supporting women in journalism.
The fellowships are offered to newer journalists and include attendance at the organization’s three-day Conference and Mentoring Project in Arkansas in October, where fellows focus on strengthening core skills, building personal brands and careers, developing strategies for success in the evolving media industry and empowering female journalists.
Vendituoli, who has been a crime and public safety reporter at the Observer since December 2015, has proven herself to be a talented journalist. She recently produced a series covering the growing local trends of opioid abuse and human trafficking that lead to her being a co-moderator of a community forum involving local law enforcement, district attorneys and victim advocates, and most recently has reported on a loophole in North Carolina sexual consent laws that gained national attention.
She was awarded a 2017 Walter Spearman Award for Outstanding Writing from the North Carolina Press Association.
Bill Albrecht (Photo: Emily Spartz / Argus Leader)
Bill Albrecht was recently named as the new group publisher in the GateHouse Media Ohio group of papers that includes Canton, Massillon, Dover/New Philadelphia, Cambridge, Wooster, Ashland, Kent and Alliance dailies and all subsidiary products along with the full suite of digital assets.
Before to joining GateHouse, Albrecht held several executive positions within Gannett, and most recently served as president of Argus Leader Media in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Prior to that, he was the group president and publisher for the Media Network of Central Ohio and Publisher of the Newark Advocate.
He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota with a degree in mass communications, advertising and public relations. He has also been on the Newspaper Association Boards in both Ohio and Minnesota.
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