Closure of Pelhams-PLUS leaves legacy of community and cultural support in town

The+Pelhams-PLUS+website%2C+which+continued+after+the+Pelham+Weekly+closed%2C+stopped+publication+Dec.+31.+
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Closure of Pelhams-PLUS leaves legacy of community and cultural support in town

The Pelhams-PLUS website, which continued after the Pelham Weekly closed, stopped publication Dec. 31.

The Pelhams-PLUS website, which continued after the Pelham Weekly closed, stopped publication Dec. 31.

The Pelhams-PLUS website, which continued after the Pelham Weekly closed, stopped publication Dec. 31.

The Pelhams-PLUS website, which continued after the Pelham Weekly closed, stopped publication Dec. 31.

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After 28 years of publication, first as the print Pelham Weekly then solely as the online Pelhams-PLUS, the local news organization ended production on Dec. 31. According to readers and community leaders, the paper left a legacy as a community-building publication known for instilling a culture of caring and volunteerism in Pelham.

A series of interviews regarding the Weekly and the PLUS makes it clear that before the social media revolution of the 2010s, the Pelham Weekly, ran by founder, editor and publisher Maggie Klein, was the destination for local news of the Pelhams.

“What Maggie Klein did, long before Facebook, was cover local things that no one else would,” photographer Deborah Karson said. “When I first moved to Pelham, I was blown away by how much everyone looked forward to a paper where they could see everything going on in their town.”

“If there was a talent show at Prospect Hill, who else would cover it but the Weekly?” she said.

Maggie Klein, the founder, editor and publisher of the Pelham Weekly newspaper and the Pelhams PLUS website, was honored by six politicians at a town hall in November. Klein is in the center of the picture above with the key to the Town of Pelham handed over by Supervisor Peter DiPaola. From left are Pelham Manor Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey, DiPaola, State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, Klein, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen and Westchester County Legislator Terry Clements.

In addition to being the place for local news for many years, Pelham residents agree that the recognition of the accomplishments of children and adults alike that the Weekly and PLUS provided was beneficial to the community.

“Maggie has always put a spotlight on local not-for-profits, raising their profiles in town and inspiring Pelhamites to volunteer their time or donate funds,” said Cathy Draper, former Pelham Education Foundation president and board of education member. “And of course, Maggie has always had a focus on local children and youth. No accomplishment, whether academic, athletic or artistic, went unnoticed.”

Simple things, like reporting sports scores and recognizing the efforts of community organizations, made their mark on Pelham as well.

“People would always look forward to Friday, when the paper would come, because that would always have a big impact on whether you were recognized,” said Jeanne Radvany, former Junior League member and Pelham Education Foundation director. “And we still keep some of the simple things [the Weekly reported on], like soccer scores, for sentimental reasons.”

The Pelham Weekly’s influence was also felt by its employees, as recalled by former reporter and current Pelham schools public information officer Alex Wolff.

“The Weekly was the start of my career in journalism. I was there, out of college, for six years, and it really was a great opportunity to learn about and immerse myself in Pelham,” Wolff said. “Something the Weekly did very well was reporting on local government. With so much going on, it was good for the Weekly to report on all of it.”

While each community member had a unique experience with the Weekly and the PLUS, they shared a similar sense of sadness on the publication’s closing its remaining online operation. But despite this end, the paper’s mark on the community will likely not fade any time soon.