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To our loyal readers and advertisers:

I am writing to inform you of a legal judgement against me. Laura and I took over operation of The Journal Reporter and The Herald Gazette in Barnesville in 1979. For several years, we printed our newspapers at the Griffin Daily News where there were two presses. In 1982, one of those presses was moved to Barnesville where the papers were printed for some 15 more years. With the increasing demand for color pages that our Goss Community press could not handle, we sold that press and moved our printing back to the Griffin Daily News on a contract basis. Later, the corporation that runs the Griffin paper decided to shutter its press and we were given one week to find a printer. We signed a contract with The Macon Telegraph and got great reproduction from its flexographic press. Flexo presses are expensive to operate and maintain and the Telegraph eventually decided to shut it down and our printing was moved to Columbus under the same contract. The Telegraph fired its press and mailroom crews. Eventually, McClatchy Company which operates the papers in Macon and Columbus, decided to shut down the Columbus press. They offered to print our papers in Birmingham. We balked as did others. In 2010 I went into a partnership with some of the best newspaper people in the business to lease the Telegraph press, take it out of mothballs and resume printing there. Those partners are Mark Smith, Robert Williams, Cheryl Williams, Will Davis, Josh Lurie and Debbie Lurie Smith. Mark Smith is a retired executive with Morris Newspapers and longtime publisher of The Athens Banner Herald. His family has published The Eatonton Messenger for generations. Robert, Cheryl and Will publish the Monroe County Reporter. The Williamses also publish papers in Blackshear, Alma and other south Georgia locations. Josh and his mother, Debbie, publish the Jones County News. Robert is a past president of the National Newspaper Association. Mark, Robert, Cheryl, Laura and I have all been presidents of the Georgia Press Association and Will is working his way up that leadership ladder now. Suffice to say, this is a partnership with vast experience. We got the Macon press running. Their former employees saw activity and knocked on doors and windows. We hired a lot of them back. We were printing our papers and many others. Our business was good and growing. The flexo press was indeed expensive to operate and McClatchy wanted to close and sell the building in which the press was located. We needed another location and new equipment. We found a building in south Macon, bought some presses and installed them. One of the largest banks in the country was very interested in financing this project and we borrowed startup funding from them. It was not a smooth transition. We lost wiring to copper thieves. We had reproduction problems and lost some customers. We went through a rough patch but had never missed a single payment when the bank demanded the note be paid in full. There continues to be a great need for a printing operation in middle Georgia as evidenced by the fact we are now printing our papers in Seneca, South Carolina. We identified a buyer for the plant who would have operated it. The bank refused to work with him and eventually sold our former presses for scrap. We believe the bank’s lack of cooperation forced us out of business. Much legal wrangling ensued. Despite our best efforts, the bank won a judgement against the partners. We are appealing. This is an unfortunate situation. It has been a trying time for me and my family. The Journal Reporter and the Herald Gazette are not party to this litigation. They have operated for a combined 283 years and they will continue to operate as usual as this matter is sorted out and after it is sorted out. This has not and will not affect our employees for whom we are grateful. We very much value their dedication to the communities we serve. We appreciate your support. We will continue to be your source for news and advertising – print and online. Sincerely, Walter Geiger Publisher

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