Yellow Farmhouse, White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
We’ve undergone a week’s worth of transition at The Tuscola Journal.

We are under new ownership by Better Newspapers with the home office based in Mascoutah, Ill., and the press located in Altamont, Ill.

I know many readers saw last week’s news story or learned of the change over coffee; however, I wanted to share the news personally.

And here is what I know for sure: We are still here, the same crew, working tirelessly to share our community’s news in the best way we know how.

Stephanie Wierman, who is a familiar face to many, is our new manager, with Aaron Hastings and Clyde Sims still working with our advertising customers. Michelle Coartney will remain our design extraordinaire, and I will stay behind the editorial desk.

Our photographers (Douglas Cottle and Rachel Ray) and sports writers (Missy Chappell and Lenny Sementi) will continue their second-to-none coverage, and each of our familiar columnists have been asked to remain a voice in our pages.

What I’m hoping to convey is that we are still your local newspaper. Our mission remains; our attitude remains.

In the coming weeks, we hope to share exciting news of new options available to our readers that will help move our newspaper further into the digital age without sacrificing the print edition.

This month marks three years since I started my journey at The Journal, and everyday I’m thankful to the Hastings family for the opportunity they’ve given me. They took a chance replacing the beloved Colleen Lehmann with a very green journalist. When they offered me the job I was 25 with just three years of professional writing experience under my belt.

However, Tuscola is home, and I believe the Hastings saw I’ve had a lifelong love for this town. It wasn’t just a job offer; their offering was a welcome home.

I grew up reading Randy Hastings and Colleen Lehmann every week in The Tuscola Review, and I followed along as Bev, Craig, and the rest of the Hastings family brought back The Journal. I was in journalism school at Eastern Illinois University at the time studying all things media in this age (dying newsprint and all). I was amazed at the drive and passion of a newsroom that could grow from a restart and take on the competitors in town.

What a story; what a newsroom!

Newspapers have always been a part of my life. My first job as a preteen was delivering papers. A 90-paper route in Parkview that I had taken over when Mr. Griffith let it go. The money was more than enough for a kid to dream big, but 90 papers was a lot to handle on my bike in the middle of August.

Around that time, while in Mrs. Fogerson’s sixth grade class, I job shadowed Colleen for a class assignment. My dad helped arrange the meeting that would eventually alter my career goals. I never take for granted that I now sit in the same office space at the same desk.

At The Journal, we don’t always get it right, and I’m well aware I have decades of knowledge left to gain, but I’m up to the task. The challenge is what makes the time worthwhile, and we appreciate your patience and most importantly your support throughout this journey.

With the sale of the paper, we hope to continue the stellar tradition the Hastings family created and grow this paper to meet the needs of today’s residents and families.

As we trudge on and work through the kinks, let me now what you think. My inbox, phone line, and office are always open for feedback, and we remain on a constant mission to uncover new story ideas and leads. Continue sending us your accomplishments and family additions, and we will continue sharing the details that make our community ours.

We’ll still be here. The same newspaper, the same newsroom; where the same old becomes the news.

Judy Kleiss

Judith D. “Judy” Kleiss Black, 63, of Tuscola, went to be with her Lord and Savior on her favorite holiday, Christmas Day at the family farm in rural Tuscola.

Celebration of Life Services will be 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 at the Hilligoss Shrader Funeral Home, 705 South Main St., Tuscola, with the Rev. Barney Wells officiating. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 at the funeral home.

Memorials are suggested to: Autism Speaks, 1060 State Rd., 2nd floor, Princeton, NJ 08540 or donate online via

–The full obituary can be found in the Dec. 29, 2015, edition of The Tuscola Journal.

TCHS football closes successful season with awards ceremony

By Missy Chappell
After a successful season that saw the Warriors finish in the final four in Class 2A for the first time in school history, the season wrapped up Sunday evening with final awards presentations and special recognition for the graduating seniors.

This season Tuscola had numerous players receive All-Conference awards in the inaugural season of the CIC conference. Two Warriors were also given All-State awards and one academic All-State award was handed out.

–The full story can be found in The Tuscola Journal Dec. 3, 2014 edition.