Waterfront Regional Star set to publish final issue from Lumsden to White City December 22
After 40 years in the Lumsden area, the Waterfront Regional Star will be publishing its final issue on December 22nd. The paper officially closes on December 29. It’s an end date employees did not see coming.
“Well it was shocking. It was announced on [December 4] that it was closing. We didn’t think it was going to close,” senior sales representative Gerry Heidt said.
The paper covers a large area, stretching from Lumsden and communities south of Last Mountain Lake all the way east of Regina to White City and Balgonie.
“Every little event that comes up we either cover editorially or people place adds announcing the event. I don’t know how they’re going to do that now,” Heidt said.
The paper was originally known as the Waterfront Regional Press. Earlier this year it was merged with Emerald Park-based weekly, The Star. Now that Star News Publishing is pulling out of the Saskatchewan market the paper is being shut down.
The Moose Jaw Times Herald, another Star paper, closed down earlier this month. The Prince Albert Daily Herald was bought by its staff. The Oxbow-Carnduff Herald Gazette was saved from closure by a yet-to-be named buyer.
White City editor/reporter Robyn Tocker is still hard at work on the final issue, but admitted it can be hard to find motivation with a looming end date.
“There’s lots of stuff that happens in small towns in the area that should be highlighted and should be talked about. When you don’t have those community papers right in the community, it’s very hard to get that information out to people,” Tocker said.
It will be more than recaps of council meetings readers miss out on. Tocker is going to miss highlighting the accomplishments of students, like those at Greenall High School in Balgonie.
“It has some amazingly talented athletes, actors and actresses and unfortunately now that there’s not a local paper these kid’s accomplishments won’t really get advertised,” she said.
Now, the finishing touches are being put on Friday’s edition of the Waterfront Regional Star. It will be the annual Christmas issue.
“You want to go out with a bang, so I want to make it a good paper,” Heidt said.
For her part, Tocker wants to leave on the note that the community feels it has been served well.
“I really don’t want it to be the last article I write about the Balgonie Bisons, but it’s kind of the way it is. So I’m just doing my best to get as many stories in there as possible,” she said.
Tocker does not know what the next step is for herself. Heidt and Lumsden reporter/editor Sarah MacMillan are hopeful they will be able to continue working in Lumsden. They hope to be able to announce future plans in the new year.
Lumsden Mayor Bryan Matheson worries about the looming loss of local news.
“If they don’t have that venue, or if that comes to be and the paper’s gone, we lose that local connection with what’s going on in the area,” he said.
Matheson is also concerned about what a lack of newspaper means for city business as well. Municipalities are mandated by legislation to publish items like public meeting notices in a local paper.
White City Mayor Bruce Evans shares this concern. However, he’s hopeful a new print venture will enter the area.
“There are other print media outlets interested in filling the void,” he said.
Currently a local business, Western Litho, prints a monthly community newsletter. Evans said he has talked with the owner about potential expansion.
“We’ll figure something out, but it’s too bad to see The Star is no more,” Evans said.
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