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BY MIKE AVITT
Alan Smith sold the Mount Ayr Record-News to Tom and Tami Hawley on August 1, 2012.
In Alan’s last, “Thoughts & Other Things,” article, dated May 26, 2016, Alan explains he had offers to sell the newspaper to corporate enterprises, but felt the Record-News may lose its “community” personality.
He wanted the new owners to become part of the community. And they have.
Alan’s last column ended a thirty-six year run and gave a synopsis of his working career and family life. It concluded with a profession of faith.
Tom was raised on a farm near Vail, Iowa and graduated from Ar-We-Va (Arcadia, Westside, and Vail) High School in 1976 and enrolled at University of South Dakota, taking journalism courses.
After graduation, Tom began his newspaper career as a sports writer with the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen.
After working for other newspapers, including the Omaha World Herald and Des Moines Register, Tom and Tami found themselves in Ames as publisher of the Ames Trib une where their four daughters graduated high school.
Tom, being past president of the Iowa Newspaper Foundation, had met Alan Smith at conventions and conferences.
The purchase of the Record-News, an independent newspaper, was appealing, in part because of the limitations and restrictions imposed by corporate newspapers.
The Record-News would be free of those and Tom would be a newspaper owner, instead of an employee.
A deal was made and the Hawleys have been here ten years now.
Darrell Dodge was named news editor October 4, 2012. However, Darrell’s association with the paper goes back to the 1990s. His column, “Idle Chatter,” was first published on June 2, 2016.
Darrell graduated from Creston High School in 1970 and spent the next seven years juggling college, work, and the Army Reserves.
He graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in 1977. Several teaching positions followed and Darrell landed in Mt. Ayr in 1990 where he met Alan Smith.
Darrell picked up the editor skills and was able to publish the paper while Alan took vacations and attended church and family activities.
The ad/photo designer at the Record-News is LuAnn Jackson who graduated from Grand Valley High School in 1979.
She attended college at Iowa State University, majoring in graphic design and commercial art. LuAnn started her career at the Record-News in 1986 and has seen numerous advancements in newspaper technology.
When LuAnn was hired, the office was still at 119 N. Taylor. In those days, Iona Spurrier was still dropping by to say, “hello” (Iona worked for Jack Terry).
The office manager is Lora Stull, in charge of accounting, circulation, and billing. She graduated from Mount Ayr High School in 1973 and worked in the office at Woodlink for many years before coming to the Record-News in May 2015.
Chanse Hall is the sports editor and began work here in May 2014.
He was editor of the school paper at MACHS and graduated from there in 2007.
Chanse owns a drone which he uses to take aerial photographs and those photos appear in the Record-News on occasion. They add greatly to the paper’s appearance.
Sue Carson, of Diagonal, works from her home and handles obituaries, county columns, and other items.
Two big events took place in 2015. Paragon Publishing, the company owning the Record-News, bought the Diagonal Progress in March. Also, the physical size of the Record-News was reduced in June from seven columns wide to six columns wide.
A newspaper is like the diary of a community with weekly entries. Newspapers do more to record history than any book or film.
The Mount Ayr Record-News isn’t just our news, it is our history.
The Record-News is the oldest business in Ringgold County at 157 years old.