By Scott Carlson
A sad demise
Earlier this month, I read some news that I found particularly heart-breaking: My hometown newspaper publisher, North St. Paul-based Lillie Suburban News, has ceased operations after 82 years in business.
From a St. Paul Pioneer Press news account, it appears that one of Lillie’s co-owners recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the company sent emails to various cities in its circulation area informing them that it would no longer be publishing their legal notices.
It was nearly 50 years ago that I got my start in journalism when the Ramsey County Review hired me as stringer to cover the North St. Paul high school football team. I credit a North High math teacher, Ed Rohrer, who help connect me with the Review.
I was already steeped deep in the high school newspaper, serving as senior editor for the Northern Hi-Lights, and knew I wanted to be a journalist. That start with sports writing led to other opportunities at the Review. As I worked my way through college at the University of Minnesota, the Review’s owners and editors let me spread my wings writing news, features and even editorials and columns.
My community newspaper experience enabled me to land a suburban news job at the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the late 1970s. Over the next 29 ½ years, I covered St. Paul city government and then several beats as a business writer at the PiPress, including workplace and labor, aviation, manufacturing, energy and retail.
Without my start at a community newspaper, I may never have achieved my goal of working for a metro daily.
Now, Lillie News’ closure is bound to create at least a partial news void in North St. Paul, Lake Elmo, New Brighton, St. Anthony and the other communities it served. Local newspapers play a key role in informing and binding together communities. Lillie News is not alone in its shuttering: According to a USA Today article in July, one academic estimated that more than 2,000 newspapers, the vast majority of them weeklies, have shutdown across the U.S. in the last 15 years.
In the end, the demise of Lillie News is close-to-home reminder of the challenges facing newspapers. It’s in this environment that the Bugle is persevering to serve St. Anthony Park, Como, Falcon Heights and Lauderdale. As we move into our annual fall fund drive, please join me in making a voluntary donation to keep the Bugle strong and vital.
Thanks, Ruth Weleczki!
With this issue of the Bugle, we say “Thanks and job well-done” to Ruth Weleczki, who is stepping down as copy editor after a more than eight-year stint with the Bugle. Ruth and I met while working at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She has done a yeoman’s job tweaking copy and catching errors, so that we present a high-quality newspaper each month.
Ruth said it seemed like a good time to move on from the Bugle as she and her husband have launched the last of their four children off to college and are now empty-nesters. We wish Ruth the best in her future endeavors.
Last month, the Bugle began home mail delivery. I hope that most of you found the October issue safely tucked in your mailboxes.
Just a note, but many readers who are not in our core delivery area, have asked to receive the Bugle. Our staff has been working hard to update the “Opt-in” mail list.
To opt-in to mail delivery, go to parkbugle.org and look for the Opt In! button on the left, just below the Bugle flag. It will take you to a page with a map of Bugle residents. Readers within the pink shaded area are scheduled to receive the paper via mail. Residents outside the shaded area can opt-in to mail delivery by filling out and submitting the form below the map.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach, send your name, address and the note OPT IN to Park Bugle, P.O. Box 8126, St. Paul, MN 55108. The Bugle is also continuing to make bulk drops to various businesses around town.