HOT SPRINGS – The combined 230 years of history between the Edgemont Herald-Tribune and the Hot Springs Star will soon officially become merged into one weekly newspaper, beginning with the Dec. 12, 2019, edition of the Fall River County Herald Star.
The joint announcement this week that Scherer Publishing, owned by Bob and Mandy Scherer of Martin, S.D., will be purchasing the Hot Springs Star from Lee Enterprises, Inc., is coming nearly two years to the day of when the Fall River County Herald made its debut on Dec. 7, 2017. That new county-wide newspaper was the result of then-owner of the Edgemont newspaper, Tim Huether, hiring former Hot Springs Star employees Brett Nachtigall and Sheryl Grimes, changing the name from the Edgemont Herald-Tribune, expanding its coverage area and opening a second office in Hot Springs.
Over the past two years, as the Fall River County Herald grew in circulation and popularity amongst area newspaper readers and local advertisers, and after the Scherer family purchased the Herald from Huether in October 2018, the need for combining the two weekly newspapers became more apparent to both companies.
“We believe in local journalism and that is why we made a decision recently that we believe will lead to better local journalism in this area,” said Rapid City Journal Publisher Matt Tranquill, who also oversees the operation of the Hot Springs Star. “Instead of having two competing papers fighting for limited advertising and subscription dollars, we decided to sell the Hot Springs Star to Scherer Publishing who owns the Fall River County Herald. Brett Nachtigall, who was publisher of the Hot Springs Star for 16 years, is currently the publisher of the Fall River County Herald. He will continue in that role in for the new combined product.”
“The sale will continue to keep the history and legacy of the Star alive,” added Tranquill. “We believe it will be better for readers, as well, because they will receive a county-wide news product each week from a local news staff.”
Mandy Scherer, who also owns and operates four other weekly newspapers in southwestern South Dakota and in the panhandle of Nebraska, said she is very proud to combine the history of Fall River County’s two longstanding weekly newspapers and continue to operate them under one name for the residents of the area. Other newspapers owned by the Scherer family include the Bennett County Booster in Martin, the Todd County Tribune in Mission, the Mellette County News in White River, and the Sheridan County Journal Star in Gordon, Neb. All five weekly newspapers are printed on the company’s press located in Martin.
“Our motivation for purchasing the Hot Springs Star was driven primarily by our commitment to providing the best in local news coverage to our readers and a desire to unite the histories of these two great publications,” said Scherer. “By acquiring the Star and adding its name to the Fall River County Herald, we are hoping our efforts will help more readers embrace us as their hometown newspaper, not only today, but for generations to come.”
Nachtigall, who has been a part of the histories of both newspapers since 2001, said the combining of the Herald and the Star is a significant milestone in the history of Fall River County, and one that he feels will further play a role in uniting area residents.
“Since changing the name and expanding the coverage area of the former Edgemont Herald-Tribune two years ago,” Nachtigall said, “we saw firsthand the positive effect it had on residents all across the county, as they became better informed about the news, businesses, school happenings, and sporting events in their neighboring communities.”
Nachtigall said adding the Star’s name to the existing Fall River County Herald nameplate will not change the direction or focus of the existing county-wide news coverage, but instead provide assurance to Hot Springs residents that the history of their hometown newspaper will live on in a combined publication that is 100 percent locally-produced and owned by a West River family with roots in the Black Hills.
“I firmly believe a town and its newspaper are a reflection of one another, and much of a town’s identity is defined by its newspaper as well,” added Nachtigall. “Having lived most of my life in Hot Springs, I’m familiar with the close connection that Hot Springs residents have always had with the Star. And likewise, Edgemont residents too have a very close connection to their hometown newspaper, which is why we are committed to being a reflection of all communities across our great county.”
After only just over a year of publishing as the Fall River County Herald, the newspaper earned numerous awards at the 2018 South Dakota Newspaper Association Annual Meeting, including First Place in General Excellence as well as winner of the Sweepstakes Award and the Best of the Dakotas in a combined competition with small weeklies in both North and South Dakota.
As part of the purchase agreement between the two companies, Scherer Publishing will acquire the Star’s list of subscribers and distribution points, as well as the newspaper archives including all files and photographs related to the publication.
The Fall River County Herald Star main office in Hot Springs will remain at the Herald’s current downtown location at 334 S. Chicago, located between Black Hills Federal Credit Union and State Farm Insurance. Lee Enterprises plans to lease out the former location of the Hot Springs Star at 107 N. Chicago. Interested renters can inquire about the property by calling 605-209-9362.
Current subscribers of the Hot Springs Star were recently sent a letter informing them that their subscription will be transferred to the new product as of the Dec. 12 issue. Readers who currently subscribe to both newspapers will be given the option of receiving a refund from Lee Enterprises for their remaining prepaid Hot Springs Star subscription or having the funds transferred to a Rapid City Journal subscription.
Questions about the new Fall River County Herald Star may be directed to 605-745-3930 or by email at news.frcherald.com.