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Liberty Herald office to close

An editorial by John Estridge, editor

When I was a youngster, my mom took me to the Liberty Herald office.

I was mesmerized. The smell of ink is unforgettable. One could see, hear and smell the machinery in the back room. It was probably on that day I realized I wanted to go to work for a newspaper someday.

Then, my former boss, Gary, named me the Liberty Herald editor. It was like a dream come true. The guys I used to go to school with who are still around, make fun of me when I tell them that.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, I had just sent the pages for the Brookville paper to the printer.

As I clicked on the send button, my cell phone rang, and it was one of the owners of Whitewater Publication.

Whitewater Publication owns the Brookville Democrat/American and leases the Liberty Herald and Union County Review.

He told me the owners discovered they were losing a large amount of money every month on the Liberty-based publications. He wanted to meet with me and Mary Ross on the next day to talk about not printing the Herald and Review anymore.

The Herald has been around since 1851. It is the oldest continuous business in the county.

There were five employees at the Brookville office when this occurred. It was almost time to go home. Instead of going home, the five of us looked through costs associated with the two newspapers in Union County and then tried different scenarios. Those scenarios included combining the Herald and Review into one newspaper, just publishing the Herald and not the Review, just publishing the Review and not the Herald and combining the Herald, Review, Brookville Democrat and Brookville American. We would call it the Whitewater Valley Something.

But however we ran the numbers, it became clear in order to make the necessary financial cuts to the operation, we would have to close the Liberty Herald office at 10 North Market Street. Closing the office meant that at least two people would lose their jobs.

With small businesses, the employees in the business are more like family than anything else.

While I worked in factories, I was laid off four times in an 11-year period. So, I know how that feels. This was the first time I ever had to lay anyone off.

However, by closing the office, we can keep publishing the Herald and Review.

I'm an amateur historian. The thought that the Herald might stop publishing on my watch is something that took my breath away, and not in a good way.

Thus, the Herald and Review will continue in publication. We just will no longer have a newspaper office in Union County. Elisabeth Dodd will continue to cover news in Union County, and Vivian Risch will go to sporting events and write about their outcomes. Dodd will work out of the Brookville office, and Risch will work out of her house.

The office's last day of operation will be Friday, Nov. 16.

I am very sorry about this. I am a Liberty native. This really hurts me.

If anyone wants to put in an article about something, place an ad or give us a story idea, they can call the Whitewater Publications office at 765-647-4221. They can email everything to info@whitewaterpub.com. They can come to the Brookville office which is located at 531 Main Street, Brookville. Also, they can use snail mail at Whitewater Publications, P.O. Box 38, Brookville, In., 47012.

My personal email address is jestridge@yahoo.com. My personal cell phone number is 765-265-9219.






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