Printing was an art form to Delaware State News pressman

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines…

Readers of the Delaware State News never saw a credit line for Don Hawkins in the newspaper. As far as I know, he never sought one or expected one.

But this morning, this editor wanted to share his name with you.

Mr. Hawkins, a pressman at Delaware Printing Company for 23 years, passed away a few days ago.

Don Hawkins

Don Hawkins

His Delaware Printing Company and Delaware State News friends and co-workers will certainly miss him. Around here, he was known for his easygoing nature and hustle.

He worked the overnight shift, printing the Delaware State News and other publications.

“When we pressmen fall in love with printing, it’s what you do,” said Tom Bugbee, general manager of Delaware Printing Company.

“He was a craftsman. It’s an art form, not just a job. He cared about how the paper looked and it was part of him going out in the public.”

Mr. Bugbee noted the Mr. Hawkins was among several longtime pressmen who moved from the 30-some-year-old Urbanite press we had on Webbs Lane to the new state-of-the-art KBA Colora press we have at our plant on Galaxy Drive in Dover.

Mr. Bugbee said Mr. Hawkins was sometimes called upon to get press runs caught up overnight.

“He’d smile and say, ‘No problem,’” said Mr. Bugbee.

Around the newsroom, that’s the Don Hawkins we’ll remember, too.

Years ago when this editor spent quite a bit of time on the production floor as we closed in on midnight deadlines or stumbled over them, it was likely that you would see Mr. Hawkins quietly checking in.

In a deadline business, it’s great to have people around you who don’t seem to get overly stressed.

***

At this year’s Governor’s Day dinner, the Delaware State Fair president Ron Draper welcomed more than a couple of hundred guests to the Harrington Raceway.

In his opening remarks, he was able to brag a little.

From the Editor logo copy copy“As we celebrate our 97th year, we’re proud to announce that the Delaware State Fair has been ranked the third-best fair in the country,” he said. “You may ask, how do we get that? It’s real simple. We have one of the best staffs that you could ever have.”

SmartAsset, a financial technology firm out of New York, came up with the rankings.

Of Delaware’s fair, it wrote, “More than 311,000 people came out for the Delaware State Fair in 2015. … If you’ll be attending the fair for the first time, you should know that agriculture remains a big part of the event just as it was in the fair’s early days. You’ll be able to see livestock shows featuring dairy goats, rabbits and swine. There will also be a carnival and performances by artists like Little Big Town.”

SmartAsset based the rankings on attendance rates, admission prices, number of days for each state fair and daily precipitation averages during the time of the fairs.

Delaware — with its attendance total representing almost 34 percent of the state population — was the only East Coast fair in the Top 10.

Its $9 admission price was the lowest of the states in the Top 10 on the list.

Ahead of Delaware was No. 1 North Dakota and No. 2 Arizona.

***

Col. Michael Grismer got a hearty round of applause from the guests of the Governor’s Day dinner when he was introduced with an announcement that he is retiring next month after 24 years in the U.S. Air Force.

Next month, he’ll end a two-year run as commander of the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base.

***

Of those at the Governor’s Day dinner, Terry Johnson had a prime spot along the front window of the dining room.

You’ll not meet many people with a greater passion for harness racing.

He also has a love for Sussex County’s Return Day tradition — where horse-drawn carriages parade the winners and losers of election races around The Circle in Georgetown.

The Return Day committee is racing along the backstretch of planning for the event. Election Day is less than 15 weeks away.

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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