Linda Cornelison, founder of the Coconut Wireless Newspaper (1st newspaper on the island) - 1986 ish
Marcie Guerrero's Mom!
The history of newspapers in San Pedro
by the San Pedro Sun
In 1981 the first printed publication in San Pedro was “The Village Shopper,” which Linda Cornelison started. The newsletter was more about shopping (which is hard to imagine the shopping options 31 years ago in San Pedro) than news, and in 1982 the publication evolved into The Coconut Wireless, featuring a few community-based columns.
The Coconut Wireless was the first paper to be sporadically published on the island, and Linda Cornelison was the owner, editor, and publisher. Other residents on the island, including Victoria and Bruce Collins (deceased) and Woody Canaday, worked with Cornelison to put out the first issue. When Cornelison had to be away, the Collins’s and Canaday kept the Wireless going, putting 13 issues out and bringing the newspaper out of debt!
In November of 1990, Cornelison returned and took over the publication once again, but plagued with personal issues, she eventually ran into legal problems, was incarcerated for some time (talk about headline news!), and The Wireless ultimately failed to exist.
Bruce and Victoria Collins
In the meantime, Bruce and Victoria had been in the stages of preparing their own newspaper, and after the inevitable demise of the Coconut Wireless, went into a full print mode. On March 14th, 1991, the first issue of The San Pedro Sun was printed. Their first office was inside Fido’s Courtyard and prepared using a Brother word processor until the first computer was purchased from Jeanette Salfeety. The paper went cyber in July 1996 when it started a website page on the popular www.ambergriscaye.com website.
In 1996, the newspaper was sold to Dan and Eileen Jamison, who moved the paper process to their home upstairs of what is now Saga Humane Society’s current location. After running the paper for seven years and thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to work with the San Pedro community, they sold the paper to Ron and Tamara Sniffin in September 2004. The Jamison are now the owners of the super delicious “DandE’s Frozen Custard” on Pescador Drive.
Current owner, editor Tamara Sniffin and her husband Ron have owned and operated the paper for more than half of its life. “It is a great honor to be part of a community institution like The San Pedro Sun. When we purchased the paper in 2004, we knew we would grow along with our community, but wow to think that where our office is once had sand roads and we first had to produce the paper by cutting and pasting pages to fly to our printers in Belize City via Tropic Air, life sure has changed! Over the years, we have enjoyed the prosperity of tourism and growth on the island and have worked with many wonderful people and businesses. Of course, like everyone else, our company is now very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “
Eileen Jamison, Ron and Tamara Sniffin
The Coconut Wireless office was on the second floor.
Beverley Mercier Ward:
Linda & I both lived up there... fond memories.
Marsha Hartley Muller:
I recall seeing Carol Thorpe walking up the street carrying a bag of monkey brains when the office was up there... Long story.
That's where Julian Rivero's first computer came from. Linda to my brother, my brother to me, me to Julian... happy ending to an old 386 PC.
Top photograph and photo of the office courtesy Gina Cornelison
Caribe Forman: She was my boss for a year and was the first person to expose me to the computer world. She was very encouraging and supported my creativity.
She was my boss and a second mom for me.
Kay Scott: Working on the paper was the most interesting job I ever had.
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