2009-02-11 / Features

Gazette Arose From Citizens' Concerns

BY TONY BARSAMIAN, PUBLISHER, QUEENS GAZETTE

Roger Laghezza at left with fellow founding members Judy Weiner-Jackson and George Stamatiades in 1982. Roger Laghezza at left with fellow founding members Judy Weiner-Jackson and George Stamatiades in 1982. Early last week one of the three people who founded the Gazette died. Roger Laghezza, with George Stamatiades and Judy Weiner-Jackson, in 1982 saw the need for a newspaper to inform and assist residents of the Dutch Kills area of Long Island City. Whatever his hopes for that first four-page fold over bearing the Dutch Kills logo, Laghezza, with Weiner-Jackson and Stamatiades, never lost his belief that the residents of Dutch Kills, all of Long Island City and the adjacent neighborhood known as Astoria needed and would appreciate a news medium that would report on the events and people down the block, around the corner, at community board and civic association meetings and local institutions such as churches, schools, hospitals and the local police precinct—events and people that this city's daily papers often do not have time to cover or space to accommodate.

Twenty-seven years later, even with the advent of blogs, text messaging and almost instantaneous electronic communication, print on paper is still the medium of choice or necessity for thousands of people in the Gazette's coverage area, which has grown to encompass most of the borough of Queens. The vision and drive of Roger Laghezza and his two friends who so strongly believed in their neighborhood and its potential continue to be the impetus that puts this newspaper's editions into the hands of readers every week.

Roger Laghezza bequeathed a lasting legacy that continues to inform and advise this newspaper's readership, all of whom he considered his friends. This newspaper, however, is not about him alone, nor, we know, would he want it to be. We are all a part of this community, as he would be the first to remind us. Because we live in this neighborhood, in this borough, in this city, we are all Roger Laghezza's spiritual heirs. He has bequeathed us the responsibility of making a difference to the community we live in. It behooves us to honor his memory by doing so, where and however we can.

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