New Life at the Express & Standard Building

NEWPORT, VT - “When I first met my wife she was sitting right over there in the corner,” Roger Cartee of Newport said as he toured the building, located on Central Street in Newport, which at one time housed the Express and Standard newspaper and later the Newport Daily Express. “She worked here in the main office and I was a part-time sports writer.” The year Cartee first laid eyes on the woman who would become his wife, Janet (Hunt) Cartee, was 1968. She was the daughter of the then owner–publisher of the Daily Express, Robert Hunt. The couple went on their first date on New Year’s Eve of that same year. They married in August 1969.Roger Cartee went on to become the publisher and co-owner of the paper. He remained as the publisher for a time after they sold the paper to the Scripts League during the second half of the 1970s.The paper is now owned by the Horizon Newspaper Group, the fifth largest holder of newspapers in North America with 57 papers in their stable. They also own various other media companies.In 1980, Cartee retired from the newspaper business to pursue a long, distinguished career as a teacher.More than 40 years after Roger and Janet met in the main lobby of the newspaper office, they are still happily married. They are also the parents of two grown children and one grandchild. “If I hadn’t gone to work there I probably would have never met her,” Cartee said. “I wouldn’t have gone in there otherwise.”The Newport Daily Express, which until 1936 was called the Express and Standard, moved from the Central Street building in 1978 to its current site on Hill Street in Newport. The building is currently home to the Sharpening Shed and three apartments. There is room in the building for another commercial enterprise. Rick Woodward bought the building in January 2011 and has been busy refurbishing it. He was attracted to it by its beauty, its history, and its architecture. “Who doesn’t love the beauty of this building with its beautiful architecture?” Woodward said. “Then you add the story of the local newspapers and it was irresistible to me.”Woodward, who lives in Derby with his wife Frances, is one of the people quietly working to revitalize downtown Newport, one building at a time. While some people talk about doing, Mr. Woodward is too busy doing to just spend his time talking.Although Woodward is restoring the building, he is not robbing it of historical architecture. For that matter, he is working to return the history stolen from it during earlier remodeling jobs. To do this, he reached out to people who remembered the building during its heyday. He also sought out people who might have historical photos of the building, which would help him keep his work as historically accurate as possible, while at the same time bringing the building up to current building codes. -- This long feature article can be seen in its entirety in Friday's edition of the Newport Daily Express, Feb. 24, 2012, pages 1 and 12.