We had a chance to show our readers in Lamar how much we appreciated their support during the 49 weeks the newspaper was in business. (The business end of the newspaper never amounted to much, but anyone who read it can tell you we put a lot of effort into it.)
Among other things, the final issue of The Lamar Press included:
-A comprehensive investigation by Kansas State University student and Lamar native Cait Purinton into wrongdoing by the owners of the Lamar Guest House. If the state had followed up on the information Cait uncovered, perhaps 11 people would not have lost their lives in the Anderson Guest House fire last November.
-Cait also had stories on the Lamar R-1 School District receiving an A* grant, new performances planned by the Lamar Community Theatre at the Thiebaud Auditorium, and attendance rates remaining high at the Aquatic Park.
-Farewell columns from Cait, who wrote about her first car, Nancy Hughes, who wrote shared humorous memories from writing the column, Marvin VanGilder who addressed Lamar's Civil War history, and cooking column by Susan Davis-Mabe.
-I had stories on the release of the Lamar Fair schedule, the five-year anniversary of Lamar's first grand jury in 68 years, a meth arrest following a probation hearing in Barton County, an account taken from court records of the life of an undercover cop, and of course, the account of the closing of the newspaper.
In addition, as usual, we had a complete records page with dissolutions, civil cases, marriage licenses, and criminal and traffic cases.
We made a conscious decision not to treat the end of The Lamar Press with sadness.
Our lead headline read: "Last Deadline Met: Lamar Press goes the way of the Edsel."
In the place where we normally had "Barton County's Newest Newspaper," we substituted "Barton County's Newest Dead Newspaper." On the jump from the page one story, the headline read: "Lamar Press: Stick a fork in it."
In that article, I wrote:
"This is the last issue of The Lamar Press.I always appreciated Jim Farley for allowing us to put out a strong final issue. But while The Lamar Press was allowed to go out with a bang, the Joplin Daily went out with a whimper.
American Publishing Company, the company which owns The Press, officially pulled the plug on the newspaper earlier this month. Initially, we were told that the issue which came out July 3 and was dated July 4 would be the final issue. It was decided that would not be fair to the people who have worked so hard to make this newspaper an artistic, if not financial success.
That having been decided, there was one more decisino left to be made. Do we go out with a whimper and a bunch of tearful columns and make the last paper a scrapbook full of photos from the 48 weeks the Lamar Press existed?
We're in Lamar, so we're going to continue (pardon the expression) givin' 'em hell or as another famous saying goes "We just print the truth and they think it's hell."
I also credited the two people who did more than anyone else to make the newspaper so popular with the readers- Ron Graber (now Carthage Press general manager and editor) who did all of the layout and design, as well as take photos, and Cait Purinton.
I ended the article by writing, "One of the biggest compliments paid to The Lamar Press came from something someone at the Mary K. Finley Library had to write across the top of page one each week- 'Please do not remove this paper.' Ours was the only newspaper that had this request written on it.
"Good enough to steal. It was a compliment when hundreds of our newspapers were stolen during the first few weeks of its existence. It has been a compliment to the very end.
The Daily's content was removed from the website today and replaced with the following statement:
Joplin Daily thanks you for your reader support over the last 15 months. We regret to report that we have closed the operation of this publication but would certainly welcome you to visit our publications in the area.
Links were provided to The Carthage Press, the Neosho Daily News and the Big Nickel. John Hacker deserved better...so did the readers who supported the Joplin Daily during its 14-month tenure.