TOULON – Lampe Publications LLC of Elmwood, publisher of The Weekly Post newspaper, has acquired The Prairie News from Toulon-based Stark County Communications.
Jeff Lampe, owner and publisher of The Weekly Post, has worked as part-time publisher of The Prairie News for the past 13 months. Lampe started The Weekly Post seven years ago and that weekly paper now has a circulation of 9,000 in Peoria, Knox and Fulton counties.
“Everywhere you look, there’s somebody squeaking about newspapers dying. Well I don’t think that’s true for weekly papers that cover local news,” Lampe said. “So that will continue to be the goal for both of our newspapers. We want to cover local news that people can’t find elsewhere.
“And while we will be able to gain some business efficiencies by combining operations, the two papers will retain most of their own content, layout and style.”
The Prairie News has a weekly circulation of 7,000 and is mailed to all postal addresses in Stark County as well as in Galva. Several hundred copies are also picked up at retail outlets in Kewanee.
Lampe said The Prairie News will continue to operate out of its current office at 101 W. Main St. in Toulon.
“We are keeping the same fine staff members who have worked for years for Stark County Communications. Yes, even John Ballentine,” Lampe said. “And we plan to continue featuring columnists such as Jeanne Harland, Dr. Kim Stevens and Jim Nowlan.”
Future plans for The Prairie News include adding comics and puzzles, expanding coverage of sports in the Lincoln Trail Conference, offering more features on hunting and fishing and including more reporting on farming.
“This won’t happen all at once, but we plan to integrate changes over time,” Lampe said. “We have to be realistic about how much we can get done before hunting seasons really heat up in November.”
Advertisers will soon be able to take advantage of a single rate to place ads in both papers, whose only areas of overlap are in Laura and a few rural Williamsfield and Princeville addresses.
“Down the road, by making one call and receiving one bill, a business can place their ad in all 16,000 papers,” Lampe said. “In addition to providing local content, one of our main goals is assisting advertisers. And I think expanding our area is another tool they can use.”
Nowlan, whose column appears regularly in this paper, is president of Stark County Communications and helped resurrect Toulon’s weekly newspaper 18 years ago.
“I am pleased that a vibrant newspaper will continue to serve readers and advertisers in Stark County and nearby communities – and do so for free – in a time when many rural areas have lost their newspapers,” Nowlan said.
To contact The Prairie News, call (309) 286-4444. Advertising can also be placed by calling The Weekly Post office at (309) 741-9790.