For The Mirror: A new chapter in a long history of publishing
Today marks another milestone in the 117-year history of The Mirror.
This issue of The Mirror is published under new ownership and management. The sale of The Mirror to WorldWest Limited Liability Company, Lawrence, was completed last week. The weekly newspaper, which was founded in 1882, was purchased from Don and Mary Waterman, who had owned the newspaper since 1991.
"We're excited about growing with the Tonganoxie area," said WorldWest co-manager Dan Simons. "It's obvious this area is growing in many ways and we want to be a positive force in this community."
"We look forward to publishing a great community newspaper for Tonganoxie," said Dolph C. Simons III, WorldWest co-manager.
"We have a top-notch staff of local people who will do a great job of producing a high-quality newspaper," he said.
Dolph Simons said the Mirror staff is encouraging local residents to stop by the office and meet the new staff and offer ideas for stories.
"This is the community's newspaper, and we want to be sure that its content reflects the interests and concerns of readers," he said
Two longtime Tonganoxie residents, Cathy Gripka and Lisa Stevens John, are leading the newspaper staff, Gripka as editor and publisher and John as news editor.
"The Mirror will remain a weekly newspaper with a local staff emphasizing local news coverage," Gripka said.
Along with news coverage of Tonganoxie, content will emphasize the growth in southern Leavenworth County and development along the 24-40 corridor.
Sports reporter Matt Friedrichs completes the news staff.
Some content additions include a Living page that will focus on local people, a crossword puzzle and a horoscope. Columnists who have been writing for The Mirror will continue.
The Mirror's new office is now open at 520 E. Fourth St. in Tonganoxie. Gripka said the staff welcomes visitors, adding she hopes readers will feel free to drop in to introduce themselves.
"The best source of community news is the community," she said. "We rely on our readers to share information and ideas with us, and we hope to live up to the expectations of our subscribers."
John said the offer to work as news editor of The Mirror came along at a good time. "I was nearly finished with graduate school and I had been looking at journalism jobs in the area. I've been an editor of a weekly newspaper before, so I knew I liked the work, and I was already planning to continue living in Tonganoxie."
John moved back to Tonganoxie two years ago, after being away from her hometown for about 25 years. "I was thrilled to come back. It's my hometown and my parents and other family members live nearby," she said. "I think that sometimes we have to move away from a place to realize how much we like it. This is where I intend to live for the rest of my life."
Gripka, a resident of Tonganoxie for the past 25 years, said one thing that has always impressed her about Tonganoxie has been its ability, in the face of growth and development, to maintain its sense of community and small town spirit. "With our office located right next to the Tonganoxie Post Office, we see a constant stream of people walking by. Most of them know each other and stop to visit. Many of them have stopped in already to say hello to us, and we truly feel we have been welcomed with open arms," she said.
She is a 1974 graduate of Kansas University, with a bachelor of science degree in journalism. Until 1975, she was editor and publisher of the Lansing Leader, a weekly newspaper in Lansing. Since that paper was discontinued, she said, she has missed small-town journalism and looks forward to getting back to her favorite field.
She and her husband, Ralph, live on a small farm east of Tonganoxie. They have five children. Two are graduates of Tonganoxie High School and three are still enrolled in Tonganoxie schools.
John grew up with four brothers and a sister in a house at the top of Strawberry Hill, otherwise known as Pleasant Street. She lived in St. John from 1978 until 1997 and was editor of The St. John News for five years. She is the mother of three sons.
The Mirror's office manager, Terylan Walker, also is a Tonganoxie native. She and her husband, Gary, have two children. Formerly an accounting secretary at Tonganoxie Elementary School, she will be responsible for classified advertising and circulation.
WorldWest also publishes community newspapers in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.