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The final edition of the Howell County News, based out of Willow Springs, was published Wednesday. The newspaper’s first issue was Aug. 29, 2001.

Publisher Kim Rich said in a letter to her readers, “I am humbled and will be grateful always for the support I’ve received from Howell County, particularly in Willow Springs. It has been an honor to tell your stories for this many years.”

Kim has served her community well and it is always a sad day when a city loses its local paper. Publications like Kim’s and the West Plains Daily Quill depend on subscribers, the support of the people who provide the content for the news articles we write, the public officials who we interview for the facts, and the businesses who purchase advertising to keep our doors open so we can continue to provide the best product possible with the most current and accurate information for readers.

I began working in July of 2002 at the Quill. For years, Kim and I have been acquaintances and grew to be friends. We have covered many of the same community events and meetings in the area and despite being competition, always greet each other with a wave and a smile and a genuine camaraderie. I have always been impressed with her professionalism, work ethic and accuracy and her love of the community and its people.

My mother, a longtime reader of both publications, enjoyed attending the “Walk with the Mayor” healthy living initiative Kim hosted during a time when she was mayor of Willow Springs.

Kim has invested years of her time and energy into a place and people she loves. I know she will continue to do so with the support of all around her and I look forward to seeing her blaze a new trail in her career.

The closing of Howell County News, as well as several other newspapers this year, has been a true loss to the communities they serve. Local newspapers support democracy. They inform readers in an unbiased way about new government issues that directly affect our lives. Changes in zoning, new highways, tax decisions, candidates for election and so many other topics that we need to make informed decisions about are covered in depth.

In print and online your local newspaper presents the news in more detail than TV or radio can accomplish. We depend upon your support to survive. We will do our very best to fill the gap left by the closing of Howell County News. We will miss them.

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