The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

A New Owner takes the reins at The Mountaineer


July 24, 2019

Keri and Keith Hanson, hand over the reins to Lorrie Merrill.

The Mountaineer has opened a new chapter in its history. Last week, Lorrie Merrill took over as Editor and owner of the 110 year old Mountaineer. Previous owners, Keith and Keri Hanson bought it from Linda Rettig in 2009 after Jim's passing. They have ran the Mountaineer for 10 years. Making improvements to the business over the years. They still own the Blaine County Journal in Chinook.

Lorrie Merrill started writing for the Mountaineer, part time about two years ago. She was also very busy being the Director of Big Sandy Activities. She stepped up when Robert Lucke got sick. Keith and Keri Hanson were sure happy to welcome her to the Mountaineer family. It was the perfect time. Lorrie has always loved writing and thought this was a great place to hone that talent of hers. She started covering all local meetings and events. She has even reported on human interest stories.

Lorrie retired in December from Big Sandy Activities and she started working full time as a reporter for the paper. When the opportunity arose to buy the Mountaineer, she thought that maybe this was the opportunity to start a new chapter in her life. I asked her: why did you decide to buy the Mountaineer? She said, "The Mountaineer is 110 years old, and it needs to continue. It is an important tool for our community, and I thought it was important to be locally owned."

Lorrie is new to the newspaper business and all it entales, but she is hitting the ground running and is so excited to make her mark on The Mountaineer. I asked her what changes would like to make to the Mountaineer? She said, "Color Pictures on the front page every week is the first thing I want to make happen." She would like to also, fill 'Don't be Late' with everything happening in the community so it will be more effectively used. Lorrie is planning on having a true sports page every week, which will include all sports for all age groups. One thing she is hoping to create is an advisory committee to determine what the community wants in the paper. Lorrie is very excited to make these changes. They won't happen right away but this is the direction she would like to take. A huge goal is to make the paper an eight pager every week to make sure everything she wants in is covered and printed.

Keith and Keri Hanson have done a great job bringing the paper up to the next level. They have been a big part of Big Sandy Mountaineer history. They made big changes to the paper that will continue on and will always be a part of making it great. When asked what will they miss about owning the Mountaineer? They replied,"The people and the downtown business people, they were very welcoming when we took over the Mountaineer" They will be helping Lorrie get her barrings about the business for the next three months. They will be there for all the questions she may have and help her stand on her own.

" We wish The Merrill's the best and hope the community will support them like they supported us and the Rettig's, by submitting pictures and articles and aren't afraid of letting them know how they feel about things. said Keith.

The Mountaineer will still continue to be out on Wednesdays. You may see changes, small changes at first, and more along the way. Deadlines will remain the same, as will the policies for Letters to the Editor and obituaries. You can still submit articles and such at anytime. If you have ideas Lorrie is always willing to listen. Please feel free to stop in and congratulate Lorrie on her new adventure.


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