By Jim Nowlan
The Prairie News goes free to 7,000 households every Friday and beginning this week into every household in Galva. Hello, Galva!
“While many publications and publishers are cutting back on local news and pulling out of small communities, we are not. We see a real need for local news sources,” said Prairie News Publisher Jeff Lampe. “Our goal is to report on the important events and stories in the communities we cover, from Bishop Hill to Bradford and everywhere in between.”
The Prairie News is a recent consolidation of The Stark County News and The Prairie Shopper. And there are many historic connections between these publications and Galva.
In the early 1900s, my grandfather James Nowlan, a young printer, purchased the Stark County News and then, a few years later, the Galva News. My family owned both publications until the 1960s.
As a little boy, I recall riding with jovial U.S. mail route contractor Merle Boston of Galva, from The Stark County News office on Main Street in Toulon to The Galva News office. There, my uncle John Nowlan, publisher of that paper, would greet me for an overnight visit with him and his wife Genevieve (Aby).
The ride cost a dime and in addition I was treated to a stream of enthusiastic gospel tunes from Merle’s booming voice. Nice man.
I have many fond memories of Galva, though younger people would probably be bored, so just one. When I was playing basketball for the Toulon Trojans, we played Galva each year. My senior year, I was assigned to guard Rich Falk, a sophomore, I think, and already a budding star, the talk of the state, for his rarely errant jump shot.
I admit that I did have help with double-teaming Rich throughout the game, yet I was proud that I “held” Richie to 49 points!
More recently, in the 1980s, Bud McKirgan of LaFayette began publication of the Prairie Shopper. This popular free publication was sent free to all households in the rural routes surrounding Galva, but not to the city households.
At the same time, Bud also served for several years as publisher of the Galva News, where he came to know and appreciate the community.
As Bud found at his Prairie Shopper, readers are interested in the offerings of retailers throughout the “land between the Interstates” (I-74, I-80 and the Illinois River), and also of the goings on our neighboring communities.
So, we at the Prairie News are pleased to be, once again, a part of the life of Galva. Experienced reporters John Pulliam and John Ring will be writing about your local sports and government meetings. If you have news or advertising for the Prairie News, please contact Pam Wulf, whom many of you may know from her years at the Prairie SHopper, at [email protected] or [email protected]
By Jim Nowlan