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040429_SN_PBI_CHAMPWe won’t soon forget our friend and colleague Steve Landwehr, who succumbed to cancer this summer. It was Steve who made our Lives column — which chronicles the lives and passing of so-called “regular” people — a must-read every Monday. Last week, we learned his influence lives on in New York, where the Glens Falls Post Star has started a similar feature. That paper’s column, Epitaph, came about after an editor there took part in judging entries for the New England Associated Press News Executives Association writing contest earlier this year (Steve’s work took second place in the column writing category).

The reporter working on the stories at the Post Star tells us she was impressed by Steve’s ability to produce a detailed, powerful column every week.  We know how she feels; Steve was continually surprising us. Much of his success can be attributed to his passion for telling the extraordinary tales of ordinary people. He also had an uncanny ability to find the thread of a deeper story hidden in a few sentences in an obituary.

Reporter Bruno Matarazzo Jr. is now writing Lives for The Salem News, carrying on Steve’s compelling work. That and the debut of Epitaph tells us Steve made a lasting contribution to community journalism.

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