Bill Marcil Jr. found a small box left behind when he recently moved into the publisherâ€™s office at The Forum.
Inside, among the few items left by his father, who had occupied the office for 41 years before retiring, was a letter written in 1917.
It was written by Norman B. Black, an early publisher of The Forum, and the junior Marcilâ€™s great-great-grandfather.
â€œI am completely swamped with letters and telegrams of congratulations and have not time to write very much,â€ Black said in the note to his brother, informing him that he had just bought the paper.
â€œI believe I have picked up the best newspaper property in the United States for the money invested,â€ Black wrote.
â€œI feel exactly the same way he did,â€ said Bill Marcil Jr. â€“ swamped with tasks and well wishes, optimistic about the prospects of the paper whose management he acquired when he became publisher Dec. 1.
As 2011 approaches, he still is charting his course for the future of The Forum and companion website, InForum.com. He finds himself mindful of both the need to maintain continuity and to look ahead.
â€œI feel like Iâ€™ve got a great opportunity to transition this company into the future of the media business,â€ he said. â€œI really believe we could be a template for newspapers all over the country. Letâ€™s think big.â€
Heâ€™s been with the company for 19 years, previously serving as general manager of The Forum and seven years as development director of Forum Communications Co.
But his involvement in the family business goes back much longer.
â€œMy earliest memory of my whole life is sitting outside this office,â€ Marcil said. That recollection involved a tour of the paperâ€™s camera plate and production areas.
Heâ€™s still getting settled in the familiar office, adorned with portraits of previous generations of publishers hanging on the wall. â€œI feel like theyâ€™re watching over me,â€ he said.