After nearly 18 years in print, this week’s edition is the last issue of the Howell County News.

The newspaper published its first issue Aug. 29, 2001.

Howell County News publisher Kim Rich said continuing changes in technology and in the workforce have made it more difficult for small businesses in general, including retail and media.

“Most business owners will tell you it has become more and more difficult to find and retain employees. The result is newsrooms – and other businesses – that are just stretched way too thin,” said Rich. “To boot, our society has changed in how we expect information to be delivered, sometimes choosing prompt delivery over accurate information.”

She said attempts to sell the business to continue service to the community were unsuccessful.

“The decision was made to cease publication now, before the traditionally slow third quarter,” she said.

Rich said the West Plains Daily Quill has stepped up since the closure announcement earlier this week and will be honoring most subscriptions to the Howell County News.

“What that means is if local subscribers have three months left on their Howell County News subscription, they will get the Quill for those remaining months. If you have most of your year left, you’ll get it for a year,” she said.

“I am humbled and will be grateful always for the support I’ve received from Howell County, particularly in Willow Springs. It has been an honor to tell your stories for this many years,” said Rich. “I’m thankful for our longtime advertisers, readers and friends. But the bottom line is this is no longer what’s best for my family or me.

“And one last time, I would like to remind you to shop close to home whenever possible. As brick and mortar businesses continue to struggle against online sales by companies with very little stake in our communities, local media will struggle as well. We all are in this together.”

The newspaper office will remain open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday of this week, and will be open Monday and Tuesday of next week, July 1 to 2, also from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Readers, advertisers and friends are invited to stop by during those times for one last visit.

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