The man in the hat

Mark Schuttenberg’s mission is getting the CN&R into your hands

Photo by Ken Smith

If you’re currently holding a hard copy of the Chico News & Review, it’s largely thanks to the efforts of Mark Schuttenberg, the newspaper’s distribution manager. Schuttenberg is one of the CN&R’s longest-running staff members, having started as a delivery driver in 1990 and served in his current position for the last 25 years. In addition to being a cornerstone of the newspaper’s operations, he’s an affable guy, known around the office for his easy-going demeanor, handiness and ubiquitous St. Louis Cardinals hat. A native of St. Charles, Mo., Schuttenberg moved to Northern California in 1974, and lives with his wife, Tanya (aka the “Thrift Queen”) in Magalia.

What does your job entail?

I start with the route sheets. There are usually changes to be made, like starting or deleting stops. I fix and repair racks and clean graffiti off of them, and I hire and fire drivers. Thursday is the busy day, when we deliver the new issue. I also do things around the office—like move desks, change light bulbs, pick up bagels on Friday.

What happens on Thursdays?

The papers are delivered to our warehouse out by the airport around 4 a.m. I meet all of our drivers out there in the morning, and we get going from there.

Tell me about your crew.

We have 10 drivers. I haven’t had to hire anyone new in a few years, and a few of them have been here for 10 years or more. I give all credit due to the distribution department to the drivers. I don’t know what’s worse for them, working in the heat last July, or the cold rain last winter. Their names are in the staff box at the front of this paper. If you see them on Thursday morning, say “Hi” and thank them for their hard work.

Anything strange ever happen on your routes?

Several years ago we had an art box with an American flag design and someone lit it on fire. I guess they were trying to burn in it protest or something; it was melted and ruined and we had to replace it. I guess people mistake our racks as garbage cans sometimes because we’ve had to clean up all kinds of stuff. Vomit, pizza, you name it. I found a Santa Claus garden gnome in one once. That was kinda nice.

Any other interests?

Music. All kinds, but mainly Americana-type stuff like Dylan, The Grateful Dead, The Byrds. And bluegrass, like Bill Monroe and [Lester] Flatt and [Earl] Scruggs. I also read a lot. John Muir is my favorite, and I like Steinbeck, Hemingway, Ken Kesey … I recently finished reading every Louis L’Amour novel, and now I’m reading every Zane Grey novel. Also, we go visit our grandson in the Bay Area every month, and I love hiking and kayaking. Lassen, Yosemite, the ocean … Northern California is the place to be.