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Brenda McLane

Effective April 8, Nettle Creek Gazette content will be added to Western Wayne News to provide full blend of countywide info

By Brenda and Jim McLane
Hometown Media Group is so blessed to be in Wayne County where people band together in tough times.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown curve after curve to every individual and business, but people are not giving up. We are #WayneCountyStrong!

Last week, we informally notified our store sites we would likely publish one more edition of each, the Western Wayne News and Nettle Creek Gazette newspapers, but would stop store deliveries. That meant the April 1 editions would only be mailed to subscribers.

Finally, we told them it was likely we would go fully digital, effective April 8, even though we were not ruling out melding the WWN and NCG into one weekly newspaper. That plan changed multiple times the next day!

First, the amount of feedback we received was amazing. Thanks to those who commented on Facebook, called, or sent notes. It let us know you care about and need your newspaper. Some also said you would enjoy a combined newspaper.

We knew that a fully digital newspaper would be less than optimal for many readers. Internet access is limited, sometimes spotty, and can be unaffordable in rural areas. We also heard from a few longtime readers who do not own a computer.

Moving forward. We may be making this announcement on April Fool’s Day, but this is no joke. We have decided to continue to print, combining news from the Gazette into the Western Wayne News, effective April 8.

We do recognize and want to acknowledge that this decision will be hard for some of our Gazette readers and would like to assure you we will continue to give the Hagerstown and Fountain City-area communities the news they have come to expect.

If you are a subscriber to either paper, you will receive the WWN for an indefinite period moving forward. If you subscribe to both papers, we will extend your subscription based on the time left on the Gazette. We do not make this decision lightly, but feel it is the best option available to continue offering the news our readers expect, while reducing our costs during a time when we don’t expect revenue to cover our costs.

Store delivery will continue, but in our ongoing effort to keep employees safe, distribution is limited. If you pick up a single copy every week, these are the locations you will find our newspaper – again for an indefinite period: Cutshaw’s Market and Dollar General in Cambridge City; Village Pantry in Centerville; Dollar General, West 30th Street in Connersville; Fountain Acres Foods in Fountain City; Dollar General in Hagerstown; Kroger in New Castle; and CVS West, Kroger, and Speedway stores on National Road West and National Road East in Richmond.

Our hope is that subscriptions will increase in order to keep the papers in print. Please consider purchasing a subscription for someone you know that does not already receive it. It may help them stay connected and feel #WayneCountyStrong even as they are asked to stay at home, and increased subscriptions buy time for a newspaper with little advertising support.

If you currently buy your paper at one of our local stores, we highly recommend buying a subscription ($35 per year to be mailed in Wayne County, $40 to other Indiana counties and $45 to other states). Click here to quickly subscribe or renew a subscription with a credit card. Or, give us a call at (765) 478-5448 with a card, or mail a check to 26 W. Church St., Cambridge City, IN 47327.

By doing so, you will be practicing good social distancing protocol by not making an unnecessary trip to the store. By the way, we are eternally grateful to the advertisers that continue to get their message out with print ads.

We also encourage readers to continue submitting email addresses on the right column of our webpage. This is helpful because we can get news to you faster, and in the future, it may facilitate more frequent communication.

We have continued to expand the papers the past two and a half years and it has become obvious that trying to separate communities and avoid duplication has forced decisions that placed county-wide information in the opposite paper a subscriber received. No matter how long this COVID-19 crisis lasts, combining the papers provides an opportunity for all readers to receive more robust local Wayne County news. Hopefully that is something good that comes from pandemic-era adjustments.

There are lessons being learned from this pandemic, every day. It was exciting to get the press release from Governor Holcomb’s office, this afternoon, that the Department of Corrections is working with offenders to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Read more about this here.

And, very special thanks to Primex Plastics for rapidly adapting to make PPE for Reid Health – starting with a weekend conversation and leading to a new and essential product in the midst of COVID-19. Read about this exciting story in today’s edition of Western Wayne News.

We also know there are local groups making masks for hospitals. Read about local unsung heroes in the Gazette today. Businesses, schools and other organizations are working to assure kids are fed while school is out. People are banding together, and it.. is.. inspiring.

Thank you again to our loyal readers. We pray that you and your families remain healthy. Wash your hands and stay at home, but if you must go out, please stay 6 feet from the next person. Watch a live feed of a church service online – look for these sites in today’s issue of the WWN.

Be patient with those you love the most, and kind to customers and staff at the stores. Let them know how much you appreciate them AND all the emergency and health care workers that are sacrificing so much for us. They exemplify #WayneCountyStrong.

Brenda and Jim McLane are co-owners of Western Wayne News. Contact us at customerservice@hmgccity.com

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