Starting with this first edition of 2024, the newspaper you are holding is expanding to serve the whole of Stevens County, reflected by its new name – Stevens County Times (SCT). From Nine Mile Falls up to Northport and from Hunters and Rice over to Clayton and Chewelah, SCT will continue to provide readers with inspiring community stories, thorough reporting on relevant issues, important public service announcements, a calendar of upcoming events, and many other features to connect, inform and inspire each month.
First founded as the Loon Lake Times in 1986 by Lorinda Travis, this paper started as a 2–4-page newsletter that went out twice per year to Loon Lake residents. In 2008, DeAnna Pelan took over, adding visual enhancements and growing the content to 12 pages with bi-monthly delivery to every mailbox in Loon Lake plus area newsstands.
“Community support was fantastic,” Pelan said. “Without enthusiastic folks giving us information and advertisers’ support, the paper wouldn’t exist.” When Pelan retired in 2015, Loren Grube jumped at the opportunity, knowing how much the community loved its newspaper.
Carrying forward the vision of the prior publisher, Grube continued bi-monthly delivery to Loon Lake residents with a goal of improving the quality of the newspaper with every edition. Her vision grew to eventually deliver a free paper to every mailbox in the unincorporated communities of Stevens County. She soon added contributors and reporters and an online presence.
In 2020, Grube expanded delivery to nine neighboring communities and distribution grew from 2,200 to 11,000 – with 9,700 direct mail deliveries in ten rural communities in South Stevens County, all unincorporated except Springdale. It was all free to our readers, fully supported by advertising.
“In our rural region with high rates of poverty and major internet and cell phone connectivity limitations, the SCT plays a critical role in the equitable distribution of quality public health and safety information, as well as local community stories that keep neighbors connected, uplifted and inspired,” says Grube.
In 2021, Grube changed the name from Loon Lake Times to South Stevens County Times to give it a more local feel to the expanded reader base. Now, at the beginning of 2024, she has expanded farther north to include all of Stevens County, with the new name reflecting the expansion.
“I like to see things grow and develop, and I’m always looking for ways to improve this publication. When Marsha Michaelis joined our reporting team last year to cover county news, we saw an opportunity to expand distribution to northern Stevens County where she resides and include more local stories from that area as well,” said Grube.
The Stevens County Times will continue to be delivered to every mailbox in the 10 rural communities it currently serves, while expanding newsstand distribution, with 2,000-3,000 complimentary copies going out to 125 local businesses, libraries, and newsstands. This adds up to a total circulation of more than 12,000—about one quarter of Stevens County’s residents.
“We hope to increase this circulation even more by making this newspaper one of the best sources out there for relevant, helpful and interesting content about the life, times, businesses, people and governance of Stevens County,” said reporter Marsha Michaelis. “Local newspapers have a long tradition of serving their communities by keeping neighbors connected, keeping government accountable, and shedding light on important topics.”
The SCT may be looking for new reporters in the northern part of the county in coming months, and Grube has an interest in training young writers in the important skills of journalism.
“It’s exciting to expand our coverage to all of Stevens County,” said reporter Phyllis D. Slayton. “Wonderful people and history, fun community events, diverse wildlife, and spectacular country provide endless interesting stories for our readership.”
Residents in north Stevens County can find copies of the Stevens County Times in newsstands at Walmart, Safeway, and Super 1 in Colville, and Harvest Foods in Kettle Falls. Several other local businesses also have agreed to keep stacks for customers. “We’re really thankful to the managers and owners of these businesses for their support of local publications in our area and the space they’re sharing with SCT!” said Michaelis.
Residents can subscribe to the publication for $45/year to receive a copy directly to their mailbox each month, and those interested in advertising can contact SCT at 509-703-0352 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Advertisers have great benefits from our coverage, and they make our newspaper possible,” said Grube. “Our local businesses are an important part of what keeps us together as a community, in more ways than one!”
“Thank you to our supporters and advertisers who make it possible for us to showcase Stevens County and allow us to spotlight the amazing organizations, businesses, and residents who call it home,” said reporter Lisa Tyson. “Your generosity directly enables us to keep the community well-informed and ensures that we continue to be a beacon of light and a valuable resource. Your support is the cornerstone of our success, and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve and connect with our wonderful communities. Thank you for making a difference and being an integral part of the Stevens County Times family.”
If you’d like to join our team in the areas of reporting, accounting, editing, AD sales, or social media, or would like to subscribe or advertise – contact Loren Grube at email@example.com, or 509-703-0352. SCT’s next print edition will be published March 5 and every month thereafter on the first Tuesday of each month.