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  • Writer's pictureRuss Newton

Fast Time. Made it in two days. Jim Lefko Pictured.

Updated: Dec 29, 2021



And that isn't the whole story. I met with a friend on Sunday at my home in San Antonio I made at the San Antonio Express News when we both worked there. Jim Lefko was the sports editor and I was the executive director of operations. And we both thought getting the Spurs result in the paper was a good idea. But when I took over our on time performance was very poor. So the Publisher who didn't feel the Spurs were that important gave us a 10pm starter, an hour plus earlier than normal deadline. And the Spurs game ended around 10:20pm most nights they played. So we were going to miss most of the print subscribers with the story. So I worked with Jim and we figured out it would take us about 25 minutes to plate the press up after the starter. So if his guys could write most of the game story and plug in the result we might be able to make it in the paper. And we did manage to get every game into the paper. And we also improved our on time performance relatively quickly and went back to our normal deadline.


The sad thing is they moved the Sports Editor under Houston and let Jim go. And then the moved the printing of the Express News from San Antonio to Houston and while I am not sure exactly when they go to press in Houston, I do know it is about 200 miles a 3+ hour drive from Houston to San Antonio. So I would guess they go to press no later than 10pm and probable earlier than that. For sure they are not getting any later breaking sports news in the print product. And I will take a cheap shot at this decision and point out we were over 100,000 print copies in 2016 when I got there and they are under 40,000 print copies today. Lots of reasons for sure but printing your paper 200 miles outside your market saves you money but costs you some subscribers.


So I met with Jim at 11AM on Sunday morning. He is now working at a TV station and showing a younger generation how to report. Stuff like two separate sources for example. It sounds like he is doing well there.


I should add in I had packed up most of my car the day before. So Jim left around 12:30pm and I decided to finish loading up and left my home in San Antonio for the last time at 2pm. I made it about 350 miles to Ardmore, OK and stayed there for the night. Well I was pretty keyed up and laid my head down at 11:30pm and woke up at 3:45am. I laid there for 15 minutes before I gave up and got up and showered and left for the day at 5:00am. Well I noticed I was making very good time thanks to an 80mph speed limit. (I have discovered that I can drive ten miles over the speed limit in this car and blow through a radar trap and not get a ticket) So by 10am I had covered 450 miles and I was showing an arrival time of 7pm at my home in Wisconsin. So I just kept an eye on the arrival time throughout the day and I stopped four or five times to refuel or go to the bathroom or just walk around. And when I would get back in the car it would show an arrival time of like 7:20pm but after driving for a couple of hours it would creep back down to 6:45pm. And that happen every time I stopped. So I hit mid state Iowa around 3pm and had only 300 miles to get home. So I just took my time and made it home at 6:46pm. 936 miles driven in one one day! And I went through at least five radar traps and didn't get pull over once. That was better mileage traveled than I used to get when I was 100% healthy and I am far from healthy now. I cough all the time and I am losing mobility quickly on my left side and my balance is for shit. But the level three automation on the car makes all the difference. I just have to steer the car and it does the rest. And I figure I took a total of 90 minutes of breaks, getting out of the car and walking (stumbling) around. And since I can't eat anything on the road, no time wasted there. But I did stop and inject some Jevity liquid protein around 10am and a bottle of Pedialyte. And then I am going to "eat" again after posting this. So I am feeling pretty good about making it 936 miles in one day!

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jblefko14
29 dec. 2021

Hanging out with Russ again was a blast. He’s been a wonderful friend and colleague. Even though he has to type out his responses, he’s still a terrific and astute communicator.

Sharing his thoughts with us on this troublesome journey is a gift that we collectively need to live up to and deserve. We’re all better for having known Russ - an ethical, honorable man of the highest character.

Jim

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Russ Newton
Russ Newton
29 dec. 2021
Reageren op

Thank you Jim! I always tried to tell the truth and do the right thing for the customer. And no idea why that it was viewed so favorably by people I know. But it was easy and fun to do even when it was sorta against the will of those above me, it was always in their best interest, so I never got in trouble when I did it!

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Colin Rudowski
Colin Rudowski
28 dec. 2021

Hey Russ I know you don’t do much anymore, but are you any good in the kitchen??

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Russ Newton
Russ Newton
28 dec. 2021
Reageren op

Colin, You would have to ask my guests but I still enjoy cooking for others. I make a nice rack of lamb with a nice red wine and 15 year old cheddar and Oysters Rockefeller with King Crab legs. Or a killer beef cheek stew. That takes two days to prepare but well worth the wait. I also make a nice lasagna, or a pizza from scratch are a few of my specialities. Russ.

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jotterson58
28 dec. 2021

Enjoyed the story about your friend Jim. We still get a print copy of the State Journal. I miss good sports stories, especially high school sports.

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Russ Newton
Russ Newton
28 dec. 2021
Reageren op

John, I still get print editions of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal home delivered and subscribe to digital versions of the Milwaukee Journal and Washington Post. Print is more satisfying for me to read. Russ

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Mark Dtayo
Mark Dtayo
28 dec. 2021

You are as determined as anybody I know. 930 miles in two days is crazy for any 60+ yo person. I was encouraged to see that the weather radar showed nothing but clear skies for you for your time on the road. Now u can hunker down and watch the winter-weather-advisory for Madison blow in tomorrow morning. Snow angles are now an option after 39 years of warm winters. Enjoy !! And, as Frank Zappa said, don’t eat the yellow snow!! Trust me … it’s nasty !! And u wiil be back in TX !! You heard it here first !

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Mark Dtayo
Mark Dtayo
29 dec. 2021
Reageren op

I am confident in my predication! We will see!!

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Colin Rudowski
Colin Rudowski
28 dec. 2021

Come on Dolphins, need more than 10 points

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