Washington Island Newspaper Bought by Group of Island Families

A group of local investors has agreed to purchase the assets of of the “Washington Island Observer,” the newspaper serving Washington Island. The name of the new company is Washington Island Community News LLC.

The 15 families who will be the new owners are committed to producing a high-quality newspaper that will focus on the news and issues of Washington Island. As evidence of support for the town of Washington, the new owners have pledged that any profits the “Observer” generates will be donated annually to local civic, charitable and nonprofit organizations.

The new owners plan to maintain the current publishing schedule for the “Observer” of 30 issues per year and continue to provide walk-in photocopying and printing support services from the newspaper office at 1253 Main Road on Washington Island.

The first issue to be published under the new ownership will be dated Feb. 16, 2012.

The sellers, Gail and Robert Toerpe, had owned and managed the “Observer” since 1992. The newspaper was founded by Lorel Gordon in 1981.

The board of directors of the newspaper is composed of Joanne Jessen, Warren Marik, Brian McDonald, Lucia Petrie, Pete Petrie, Rich Walker and Marsha Williams. The editorial committee – Daniel Brandel, Barbara Greenfeldt, Richard Purinton, Rich Shereikis and Melissa Walker – will set and refine editorial goals and standards. Lori Goodwin and Evie Walter will continue to staff the office; they will be joined by Mary Marik as managing editor.

The new owners plan to maintain the newspaper’s membership in the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The “Observer” will strive to offer its readers a mix of news of interest to residents, part-time residents, frequent visitors as well as newcomers to Washington Island. It will report on meetings of town boards and committees, significant activities and achievements of Islanders, upcoming events and the culture and history of Washington Island. It will also provide a forum for readers to exchange views and may occasionally take editorial stands on local issues.