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Blade to cease publication after a 131-year run

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Final Edition

COLERIDGE — The last issue of the Coleridge Blade has rolled off the presses, ending a 131-year run for Coleridge’s community newspaper.

All current Coleridge Blade subscribers will now have their subscriptions switched over to the Laurel Advocate. 

Both the Laurel Advocate and Cedar County News will now begin carrying more Coleridge news. Coleridge history will now be printed in the Laurel Advocate. 

The Blade has had a proud tradition in the newspaper industry.

The newspaper earned statewide recognition with a coveted Sweepstakes award under the guidance of Vince Viergutz in the 1950s.

Bob Yost purchased the newspaper from Viergutz and operated it for more than 40 years before selling it to Rhonda Leapley.

Leapley later announced her intention to shut the newspaper down if a buyer could not be found.

The Northeast Nebraska News Company purchased the Blade from Leapley in 2006 and immediately installed Coleridge native Alisha Stone as office manager.

Over the years it became more and more difficult to find employees to work in the Coleridge office, so Northeast Neb. News Company employees from Randolph and Hartington began staffing the office. The Coleridge office was closed for good in 2016 and the Blade was then published out of the Hartington office.

The decision to close the Blade has been a very difficult one, said Blade Publishers Rob Dump and Peggy Year.

“We have agonized over this for quite awhile, now,” Dump said. “We really hate to see a town lose its newspaper, but it’s simply at the point where we have no choice.”

The decision to close down the Blade comes because the newspaper is in jeopardy of losing the Periodical Class Postal Permit it uses to mail the newspaper out each week.

“We really wanted to keep the Blade going. We love Coleridge, it’s a great community, but without that permit, it’s just not possible,” Year said.

In its 131-year history, the Coleridge Blade has been committed to bringing its readers all the stories and important information of Coleridge and Cedar County. That commitment will continue, but through the Laurel Advocate and Cedar County News, Dump said.

“We hope people can understand this decision and will support the Laurel Advocate and Cedar County News in their efforts to bring Coleridge news to the people of Cedar County,” Dump said.

Unfortunately, the closure of the Coleridge newspaper is part of a statewide and even national trend, Year said.

Several weekly newspapers in Nebraska have also closed their doors or combined with other publications in the past few years.

In the last 10 years, the presses have stopped rolling on more than 1,800 newspapers across the United States. After decades of service to their communities, these papers have simply locked their doors and closed up shop.

In this area, the Bloomfield and Creighton newspapers have been merged into a single publication. 

The Neligh and Orchard newspapers have also been merged into a single publication.

A declining rural population and changing reader habits have made it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for some small town newspapers to keep operating.

As the newspaper industry began to change, the Northeast Neb. News Company publishers did their best to change with it, Dump said.

“We know people consume their news differently these days, and we are constantly adjusting to that,” Dump said. “We launched our first website nearly 20 years ago. We’ve branched out into video and digital reports. We’ve created a digital news sharing service — — with the Norfolk Daily News and 11 other weekly newspapers. We are reaching more readers, but not necessarily through traditional subscription-based print newspapers.”