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Skagit River Journal

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Town of Concrete embraces plans to restart local paper

The Concrete Herald is being resurrected in the small town of Concrete,
Skagit County, defying the conventional wisdom that print media is doomed.

(Jason Miller)
By Erik Lacitis, Seattle Times
      Shocker story: Man plans to start a newspaper here! He doesn't believe it's over for print. Another shocker: Businesses in this small town of 850 also still believe in print . . . and say they'll advertise. And locals say they'll subscribe.
      Of course, Jason Miller's newspaper is a one-man operation, which helps a lot in defying current economic tides, not to mention the dismal state of newspapering in this country. On a recent afternoon along Main Street, Miller walked into Concrete Dental. Behind the counter at the dentist's office is Karen Stafford, the receptionist, a 39-year resident of the area. She has a friendly greeting for Miller.
      At pretty much every stop Miller will make, the greeting will be nothing but positive. Miller is going from business to business on Main Street, asking if he can put up a leaflet seeking startup donations for the newspaper.
      "I hope it works for you," Stafford says to Miller about his dream. For sure, she says, she'll subscribe. Stafford remembers when the town used to have its own weekly, the Concrete Herald, which folded in 1991 after 90 years of existence.
      It is that same paper Miller wants to resurrect. He has set a date for its first issue of 2,000 copies, May 6. It would start out as a monthly with mail subscriptions at $24 a year, and, if things go well, be printed twice a month. Miller says he's not looking to turn a huge profit on the newspaper and believes he can cover the costs and expenses with ads and subscriptions.

How can you help? Here is the contact information for Jason Miller. Read his website introduction for how you can contribute for advertising or subscriptions. The Skagit River Journal is offering a complimentary subscription to our Subscribers Online Magazine for anyone who contributes $200 for more.
Phone: (360) 853-8213
Mail: Concrete Herald, PO Box 682, Concrete WA 98237
      See our links below about the original Herald and Charles M. Dwelley, who revived it the first time in 1929, the year of the stock market crash, and stuck around 50 years

      The receptionist says she's looking forward to that first issue. A community paper, says Stafford, might have run a picture of her 12-year-old granddaughter, Emilee Fenley, who over the Christmas holidays appeared in "A Midsummer's Night Dream" at the Concrete Theatre. "I believe that without our little paper, people lose a feeling of community," she says.
      At the hardware store, Miller runs into Shelle Timmer, co-owner of the town's Just As I Am Early Learning Center. Timmer says the kids in the center are excited about having a local newspaper and want to write articles for it. She says that she brings in out-of-town papers and the kids get bored.
      "But if they see their picture in a parade, that's big for them," she says. Timmer says she has set aside $600 in the center's 2009 budget to buys ads in the newspaper. "We have hope," she says about the Concrete Herald.
      Miller smiles and takes in the comment. The town, for sure, has told him how it feels about a newspaper. It wants it back. (See this website for the extended complete story.

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Story posted on Feb. 2, 2009 . . . Please report any broken links so we can update them

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