Sunspots: Evelyn Baas
MORRIS, Minn. -- "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"
When the August 31 Morris Sun Tribune goes to press, the issue will also mark the end of a 26-year newspaper career for Evelyn Baas. Baas will officially retire from her position as advertising coordinator.
"There've been a lot of changes at the Morris Sun Tribune over the years," said Baas. Most significant are changes in technology.
Baas began in 1987 as a typesetter.
"We typed stories on an MDT using a six-inch floppy disc and the Comp 4 with changeable belts for different fonts. Copy was printed out and dried over a heated and cloth covered drum-like device. After drying, the strips were fed through a hot-wax machine and each page of the newspaper was prepared by hand," said Baas.
Computers were introduced to the newspaper around 1988, about the same time that Baas moved to the advertising department.
"We used to hand write the ad names and their sizes into a logbook from which they were billed, now it is all done on computer," said Baas. "Most ads, including circulars, were designed primarily in pencil on sheets divided into newspaper sized columns and cuts [pictures to accompany a specific product] were found by paging through large cut books and cutting them out.
"When the paper was ready to go to the printer, the individual pages were placed in page-size boxes and transported via the Morris Sun Tribune van to Quinco Press in Lowry."
Baas has also seen the paper go from a Tuesday/Thursday publication to its current weekly distribution.
In 1999, Forum Communications purchased the Morris Sun Tribune.
"In 2007—the same year that the newspaper moved from Sixth Street to its current location—a new billing system was introduced," said Baas. Today, the newspaper is completely designed, published and sent electronically to the printer at the West Central Tribune in Willmar. Quinco Press still prints The Western Peach and The Classy Canary. The Morris Area Ad-visor is also produced by the Sun Tribune staff, along with the Hancock Record.
"We are still busy with five deadlines a week," said Baas. "You don't stop learning in this business."
Born in Sheldon, Iowa, Baas has six siblings. One sister, Theora Ver Steeg, lives close by in Hancock. Baas graduated from Pipestone High School and received LPN training at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. Her first job was at Pipestone Hospital and then at Fairview Hospital in downtown Minneapolis. The Baas family moved to Hancock in 1978 and Evelyn worked for a time at Stevens Community Hospital before she changed careers due to a back injury. She worked at Mrs. V's Fabric Shop prior to joining the Sun Tribune.
Evelyn and husband Marlin, married in April 1967, have lived in Morris since 1999. They have two children, Jennifer (Dan) Adamek of Bloomington and James (special friend Cassandra) of Alexandria, and five grandchildren. Marlin, an experienced electronic technician and carpenter, is a transit driver for Rainbow Rider. The Baas' are members of the Christian Reformed Church in Hancock.
On the topic of marriage, Evelyn shared: "You need to love your spouse and work at keeping that love growing through the years. The Don Williams' song 'You're My Best Friend' often comes to mind.
What adventures will Evelyn's retirement bring?
"I'm going to enjoy life. Reading, gardening, cleaning my house...we just did some remodeling and I haven't had a stove since May," she said with a smile.
Baas and her sister Theora make banners from drapery and other fabrics for special church events. "We recently made a 'Fruit of the Spirit' banner that used grapes from kitchen towels. For example, we make banners for Advent, for the opening of the school year and, last year, for our church's centennial. I like to be creative."
"It's been fun working at the Sun Tribune; I've always enjoyed designing ads," said Baas, whose work has also included billing, helping at the front desk and answering phones. "We work together to get the job done and to meet our deadlines."
In the deadline-driven, occasionally stressful world of the media, it helps to have a sense of humor.
"I've learned to laugh a lot."