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The new cheery voice answering the telephone at The Trimble Banner office belongs to Carla Kidwell, who began her new duties last week as Office Manager at this newspaper. Carla is the new face at the front desk following the recent retirement of Hilda Parrish.
Kidwell, a Bedford resident and 1987 graduate of Trimble County High School, is no stranger to many Banner readers. She has worked for several years as Graphic Designer and Circulation Manager for The Banner and The News-Democrat, working out of The News-Democrat office in Carrollton. She retains the graphic design responsibilities but has relinquished circulation duties to longtime News-Democrat employee Doris Miller.
Kidwell started with The Trimble Banner’s parent company, Landmark Community Newspapers Incorporated, in 1990 as an advertising designer and layout person with The Henry County Local.
“I’ve always done ad design and layout, that and circulation,” Kidwell recalled in an interview Friday. “We were doing paste-up literally with wax and a roller. We had to pack our black bag each week and we were hand-cropping pictures. We couldn’t even shoot them, we put our little pieces of paper around them and cropped it with tape and paper and then the plant reduced it down to fit the page, and we rolled each column of copy onto the page using light tables.”
The Henry County paper was printed at that time at a LCNI facility in Shelbyville.
Kidwell also worked in sales at The Madison Courier and The Roundabout newspapers before taking a break from the workforce when her daughter Niki was born. Following a short hiatus she returned to LCNI, working at the Carrollton office.
Kidwell came to her newspaper role purely by accident. Following high school she attended Berea College with the intention of becoming a certified public accountant. While there, she worked in the college press.
“At Berea you have to have a job,” she said. “They assign you a job somewhere. I started out as a typesetter. When I would get caught up on my work I would wander over to the other parts of the press and started bugging the layout guy. He would give me little odd jobs – business cards and pamphlets to work on to get me out of his hair.”
Every printing job had to go through the press owner and it soon got to the point where the owner had enough confidence in Kidwell’s work that “she wasn’t even checking my stuff anymore. It was passing with flying colors. Anytime I was free (the layout guy) had a little stack of stuff for me to work on.”
Later, she was transferred to the press bindery and learned even more aspects of the printing business.
“There I learned a lot about how everything is put together and they were just getting to the digital stuff there, too,” she said.
Most LCNI newspapers began switching from the old wax paper layout system to digital typesetting and layout around 2003, Kidwell said. The switch was a slow process as the staff started doing more and more things digitally. She started out with a little Mac SE that had about a six-inch screen on it and could only open one program at a time. Full-page ads were still done on a six-inch screen.
“They pretty much trained us on site,” she said. “A lot of it we had to figure out on our own as we went. It was actually an easier transition than learning all the paste-up stuff before.”
The News-Democrat staffers were just beginning to have access to the internet and understanding how that worked, which made the design effort a little simpler, she said. Staffers weren’t as rushed to get everything done in order to drive the layout sheets to the printing plant. It now took less than a minute to send each page at that time over the internet. Everything started getting a little bit more simplified.
“We weren’t (at the newspaper office) hours on end to get it done,” Kidwell said.
Carla has taken on some graphic design projects apart from the newspaper business.
“I have done a few odds and ends, brochures and flyers” she said. “Sometimes people will call me at home and ask me to do a flyer for them or give them advice on how to set theirs up.”
Kidwell said she hadn’t done any major design projects apart from the newspaper until she was offered the assignment of designing the jacket for The Infinite Realm’s latest compact disc album, “Healing,” released late last spring.
“I’d have to say the CD cover is about the only major project outside the newspaper that I’ve done,” she said. “I was excited about even trying it. It was different working with different colors and how it was going to come out and I enjoyed it.”
Although she has worked out of the county all these years she has continued to make her residence here. Moving to The Trimble Banner office is like coming home even though her “home” has always been in Trimble County.
“I’ve always had a big interest in the newspaper here because it is my hometown,” Kidwell said. “I know with past editors I would always come sticking my nose in—did you get this in or that in or so-and-so wants to see this in the paper—and I ended up taking care of a lot of things that most people probably wouldn’t have because I did take an interest in what goes in here.”
When Jeff Moore first came to Carrollton a few years ago as publisher of the Carroll and Trimble papers Kidwell told him during their first meeting that her goal was to transfer to the Trimble office.
“At that point in time the economy wasn’t as bad as it is and we were hoping to have an assistant manager-type position up here where I could do some sales and do my ads and a variety of things up here but things started collapsing with the economy and that was kind of out of the question,” she recalled.
She regrets that she wasn’t able to make the transfer before the retirement of Parrish.
“I wish that I could’ve had a position up here without her having to leave, Kidwell said. “We’re going to miss her, definitely. It’s going to be tough I can tell. With the few places that she had to make a normal stop people were like ‘where did you go? Who’s going to be our new person?’ I think a lot of people in the community are going to miss seeing her around town at the normal stops that she made. It’s going to be a little bit for them to get used to and for me to get used to.”
Kidwell said she is looking forward to the public coming in.
“It hasn’t been bad,” she said. “I’ve been enjoying the quietness up here. Other than the trucks going by I can actually get my thoughts in order.”
Obituary notices, legal advertising notices, community calendar items and other announcements that were formerly sent to Hilda Parrish may now be emailed to Carla at email@example.com.