The newspapers participating in the Dakotafire project are spread across thousands of square miles, and so are our readers. But even if we are not next-door neighbors, we are all in this community-building effort together. To help you get to know your partners in rural revitalization a bit better, we’re starting this regular feature of Dakotafire’s participating newspapers. First up is the Tri-County News, which joined Dakotafire this fall. Welcome, James and Melody Owen! We are happy to have you on board.Tell us a little about your newspaper.
Gackle’s first newspaper, the Gackle Republican, was published from 1901 until 1970. No paper was published in Gackle from 1970 until May of 1975, when the Pioneer Press began publication. In 1985 the name was changed to Tri-County News. For 25 years Kenton and Ana Buchholz published the Tri-County News until November 2009 when the paper was sold to Wade Bridger. Bridger published until early July 2010 when he went on vacation and never came back, leaving a letter to the former publisher that he (Buccholz) could “have it back.”
When did you become the publisher?
My husband and I (James and Melody Owen) stepped in and took over publication of the Tri-County News July 28, 2010. I wanted to be a photojournalist; I became an editor instead!
What is the circulation?
Our current circulation is 600.
What is interesting or great about your community?
Gackle is a small community of fewer than 500 residents. Many people who come from small towns say that everyone knows everybody’s business, and Gackle isn’t any different. I find it interesting how someone calls you “neighbor” if they live on the other side of town or even five miles out of town. The community is largely dependent on agriculture with most of the residents being tied to farming in some way. We have a school, nursing home, bank, Cenex gas/convenience store, post office, bar, three churches, library, ambulance and fire department, two parks, ball field, and community pool. (And of course the Tri-County News.) Gackle is also home to Miller Honey Farms. Owner John Miller was featured in a recent book “Beekkeeper’s Lament” by Hannah Nordhaus. This book explores the problem of “dying bees.” One of my photos of Miller was published in the book.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is the photography, although I don’t get to do as much as I would
like to. I enjoy that much more than writing!