Lissette Mendoza | Signal Tribune
Twenty years ago, February 24, 2000, the Signal Tribune’s first issue hit the streets. A few weeks earlier my new staff members and I gathered in my dining room to start, what I hoped, would be a weekly newspaper that would be welcomed by readers and advertisers throughout the City of Signal Hill and the Long Beach neighborhoods of Bixby Knolls, Wrigley, California Heights, Memorial Heights and Virginia Country Club residents. Then called “The Signal,” that first issue was produced in my home with the help staff members sharing one table and one phone.
By the time we moved into our offices on Myrtle Avenue, we were struggling to find equipment at a reasonable cost. Goodwill, Out of the Closet and donations of office equipment from friends and family were our salvation. Our budget was nearly non-existent. Our camera was a cheap 110-model held together with duct tape, and our photo lab was the one-hour counter at Costco. There was no money for a copy machine, so we made our copies on our inexpensive fax machine. We had one computer– used for layout– with no internet. I had to run home several times a day to put any email messages we received on floppy disks. It was nuts.
There are so many details that I could share, but alas I have neither the time nor the space. A year later, after buying the Signal Hill Star Tribune, we went to court and became adjudicated to handle legal notices for Los Angeles County clients as well as those who needed our services in Signal Hill.
Ten years into the venture our office roof collapsed from a crazy rain/wind storm and we lost nearly everything. Thanks to my quick-thinking staff, and fire department personnel we grabbed as much as we could and took off for drier ground. From there we moved to a nice office across the street from our flooded-out offices and began the task of drying out our paperwork… archives, billing, client files, tax records and more. We stayed put for another eight years.
Some of you may know, some may not, that I sold the paper two years ago (2018) to the corporation known as Signal Hill Paper, LLC. Shortly afterward my boss, Jimmy Eleopolous – owner of Big E. Pizza and the new Jimmy E’s, bought a building for the Signal Tribune to call home. I have enjoyed my new office and my fancy new powder room.
Over the last year or more I haven’t been seen much in public when it comes to events and Signal Hill council meetings, I also stopped writing my column during those times. I’ve not been hiding, I’ve been dealing with some rather serious health problems including a brain aneurysm, concussion, brain bleed and other issues connected with it all. On top of everything else, I have had to deal with the death of my darling mother and my Auntie Jeraldine. It has all been pretty over-whelming.
Over the last few months I have started feeling a bit more like my old self. I am now back to writing my column, my sense of humor is almost back to normal, and I’ve been going out in public more often.
Just when I thought everything was going to work out, my hubby Steve began having excruciating leg pain. Turns out he was going to need multiple spinal surgeries. His first surgery was at Cedar Sinai Jan. 13, the second was Jan. 16 and the final took place on Jan. 20. After a couple of weeks, he was sent to a rehab center right here at Memorial Hospital. He has now been out of the rehab clinic for a total of four days and is home now recuperating. His recovery is going to include extensive physical therapy several days a week. My job as his caretaker is going to be time-consuming (although a labor of love) driving him to and from appointments, handling all meals, shopping and household duties.
Given the above, I have decided as of tomorrow to retire and stay home full-time. After 20 years of running the Signal Tribune, and five years before that working for two other newspapers, I am bringing my career to a close. I have loved being part of this weekly miracle, and deeply love every one of our readers and advertisers.
My staff has been amazing and have done their best to keep my spirits up during this difficult time in my life.
Thanks for reading– I appreciate you all. Do continue to read and support the Signal Tribune. I don’t know what the plans will be for the paper moving forward, and it may morph into a bit of a different type of publication, nevertheless I am sure it will continue to be a newspaper of great value to its readers and one that will help its advertisers bring new customers to their establishments.
I wish you all a happy and healthy future. If you would like to keep in touch with me, I can be reached at [email protected]
Farewell my loves,