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'CITIZEN' VETERAN WALTON REMEMBERED AS OLD-SCHOOL NEWSPAPERMAN

Former Tucson Citizen employees recalled Dale Walton's impact—and some of his habits—after hearing the news of his death last week.

Walton, who worked with three different publishers during his 25-year career at the Tucson Citizen, was 81.

"I worked for Dale when we still used hot lead and wrote stories on brown copy paper and edited them with pencil. We tore stories apart with pica poles and glued them back together—that's how we moved text around in those days," former Citizen assistant city editor Sheryl Kornman told the Weekly through her Facebook account. "Dale always got in very early and always had a cup of coffee and a cigarette. He smoked for years, and always had long ashes dangling from the cigarette—he didn't actually smoke that much, but he always had one going."

Walton started at the Citizen in 1968 as a reporter and was soon named city editor. He took over as managing editor—the paper's top newsroom position—about four years after he started.

"We did a lot of stories under Dale that helped build the Citizen's reputation as the community's best newspaper," Kornman said. "We covered local government like crazy, and education, as well as crime and sports. We had a full-time reporter on the mining industry and a great business staff, too. Dale treated everyone with respect and worked hard every day to produce a good product.

"He was the kind of newsman they just don't make anymore. The business has changed so much since those days. We had a first and second edition, and special editions when there was big breaking news. ... Dale cared about quality and appeared to enjoy himself a lot."

At his funeral on Friday, March 30, Walton was remembered for his commitment to his family. He worked for an afternoon daily because it gave him more of an opportunity to spend evenings with his wife and three children.


GRABEL NEARS THE 'HOME STRETCH' AT KXCI

To say that the people at KXCI FM 91.3 were thrilled to get Jennie Grabel back for afternoon-drive show The Home Stretch would be an understatement. But unfortunately for the community radio outlet, her return was short-lived.

Grabel, who is perhaps better known as the former morning co-host at AAA (adult album alternative) format 92.9 FM The Mountain (now known as KMIY, aka My 92.9), transitioned to KXCI after a brief stint outside of the profession.

However, other opportunities are calling her away again: She is managing the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, which was founded by the family of Ron Barber, the district director for former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Barber is now running for Congress.

"While KXCI is sad to be losing her so soon after her return to her roots at community radio, we're all excited about the work she'll be doing with the Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding, and we look forward to partnering with her on their projects," KXCI general manager Randy Peterson said in an email. "She's a friend and a fan of community radio, and we know that she'll pop up from time to time as a substitute host on any of a number of our other programs."

Peterson is searching for a more permanent host for The Home Stretch, which, by his estimation, has had seven hosts since he started at the station in 1999. In the short term, he expects to utilize a rotating cast of on-air talent.

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