The Sauk Rapids Herald and the Sauk Centre Herald have more in common than their names and a river. The two have similar founders and today they have the same owners.
The founder of the Sauk Centre Herald, Joseph Simonton, started his publishing career in Sauk Rapids. He was involved in the partnership that also started the St. Cloud Times and another paper that became the Sauk Rapids Herald. In 1867, he and his brother headed west to Sauk Centre to take over the Sauk Valley News changing the name to the Sauk Centre Herald.
In 2014 the owners of the Sauk Centre Herald reversed history and purchased the Sauk Rapids Herald from Winnie Doroff. The Sauk Rapids newspaper will be part of the Sauk Centre-based Star Publications, owned by Dave Simpkins, Mark Klaphake, Joyce Frericks, Missy Traeger and Jeff Weyer.
Doroff began working at the newspaper in 1953, and along with his wife, Winnie, went on to purchase the newspaper in 1970.
“Rollie loved newspapering and he loved Sauk Rapids. I am very happy that we sold the newspaper to Star Publications. They will carry it forward,” said Winnie Doroff.
The Doroffs had four children – Gary, Steve, Lynne and Karen – that all grew up working in the newspaper.
“I can remember proofreading the newspaper with Dad at our kitchen table. All of us children had a part in the newspaper and print work that Dad did,” said Lynne Sernett. “The Herald was very intertwined in Sauk Rapids. Dad knew everybody and had a great relationship with the city/community officials like the mayors, police, fire departments and a lot of the community organizations. He believed in not just reporting on the community but being part of the community.
“Dad was excited about Star Publications taking over the Sauk Rapids Herald because he felt they would carry on the tradition and history that is the Sauk Rapids Herald; this was important to him. Our family is happy to have completed Dad’s vision on his behalf and we look forward to watching Star Publications carry it forward,” said Sernett.
Star Publications is made up of Mark Klaphake, general manager; Joyce Frericks, business manager; Jeff Weyer, sales manager, Missy Traeger, Marketing Manager and Dave Simpkins, Publisher; all of Sauk Centre.
General manager Klaphake works with the Herald news staff and covers an occasional sporting event.
“I am excited to journal the happenings in the Sauk Rapids-Rice area,” said Klaphake. “It’s a great opportunity to be part of the oldest newspaper in Minnesota and one of the most progressive communities in the state.”
Klaphake grew up on a dairy farm near Sauk Centre and has worked as a sports and ag reporter, photographer, sales person and general manager ever since graduating from St. Cloud State University in 1992. He and his wife live in Sauk Centre with their three children.
Business manager Joyce Frericks grew up on a dairy farm and attended school in Sauk Centre. She received her accounting degree from Alexandria Technical College and has spent many years working in accounting and business environments. Proud to be a co-owner of Star Publications, she is excited to have the opportunity to join the Sauk Rapids community via the Sauk Rapids Herald.
“I believe every town should have their own newspaper, and Sauk Rapids is a growing, vibrant community with many stories to tell,” she said. “I look forward to being a part of that!” Frericks and her husband live in Sauk Centre with two children graduating from college this year and two in school high.
Sales manager Jeff Weyer has traveled through Benton County for many years selling advertising for the Dairy Star, a twice-monthly dairy publication circulated throughout the Midwest.
He was excited about the opportunity of buying the Sauk Rapids Herald because of its strong school district, pride and business district.
“I believe there is a strong connection between a local newspaper and a vibrant community. Recognizing the people that work and play and shop in this community is important and we hope to give our readers and advertisers value in both stories and advertising content,” said Weyer.
Weyer grew up in Redwood Falls and graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead. He worked in sales before starting at the Sauk Centre Herald. He and his wife have two children, one out of college and one at home.
Traeger grew up in Melrose and obtained a business management degree from St. Cloud State University and became an assistant manager at Scheel’s Sports and a sales person at Unger Furniture in Sauk Centre before joining Star Publication as sales manager for the Sauk Centre Herald. Her and her husband Mike have two sons and enjoy camping and golf.
Publisher Dave Simpkins bought the Sauk Centre Herald in 1988. He grew up in Minneapolis, graduated from Wayzata High School, Dunwoody Industrial Institute and the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in Community Journalism.
“Rollie and I both graduated from the printing program at Dunwoody and we enjoyed talking about the many changes in printing over the last 50 years. The five of us have noticed the strong sense of community pride here which is the main ingredient of any community newspaper,” said Simpkins.
Simpkins and his wife are semi-retired with two grown sons and two grandchildren, spending time on their hobby farm in Otter Tail County and their home in Sauk Centre.
“We enjoy community newspapering and I’m confident we’ll have the kind of traditional newspaper Rollie envisioned,” added Simpkins.
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The owners of Star Publications, (from left) Mark Klaphake, Dave Simpkins, Joyce Frericks, Missy Traeger, and Jeff Weyer.
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11 2nd Ave N, Unit 103 | Sauk Rapids, MN 56379
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