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Dexter Village Adopts 'The Sun Times' as Newspaper of Record

The Stockbridge-based publication will now include the village's legal notices and meeting minutes.

Dexter Village has a new "newspaper of record" following a vote by the village council at its meeting on Monday.

The council voted 4-3 to transfer the publication of its meeting minutes and other public hearing notices for the Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Commission, annual budget, and ordinance adoptions from The Dexter Leader to The Sun Times News.

Speaking to Patch.com after the meeting, President Shawn Keough said his rationale for casting the tie-breaking vote was based primarily on circulation numbers.

"Our goal as a council should be to get as much information as we can in front of as many residents as we can," he said.

The Sun Times is delivered free to every household in the village, while the current circulation of The Dexter Leader is 2,187, of which 223 copies are sold in newsstands, according to information provided to the council from Courtney Nicholls, assistant village manager.

Council Trustees Jim Carson, Donna Fisher and Julie Knight voted against the change.

"I have a hard time associating The Sun Times as our newspaper of record," Carson said. "If I were a Dexter Village resident looking for government notices, I would look in the Dexter Leader first."

As part of the change, The Sun Times, based out of Stockbridge, offered the village a 10 percent discount for legal notices, as well as two quarter-page display ads free for 2013.

"The decision to go with The Sun Times was not based on money," Keough said.

In 2012, the village spent $1,500 to publish its minutes and $1,400 for public hearing notices and ordinances in The Dexter Leader, according to Nicholls.

Upon hearing of the news, some Dexter residents posted regret on Dexter Patch's Facebook page.

"This is a sad commentary on our times. I know the staff of the Leader, and it has been a cornerstone towncrier of Dexter and and its surrounding communities," Mark Olexa wrote.

While unforunate, Margaret Govaere Steptoe, said she believes the decision was made out of necessity.

"It used to be easy to get your club news in the Leader, but that has drastically changed. The village is just doing what it has to do," she said.

What do you think of the decision to use The Sun Times as Dexter's newspaper of record? Tell us in the comments.

Pat February 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Negotiate a deal where you publish the council meeting minutes and public hearing notices in both publications. Shrink the point size if you have to. You gotta be in the Leader.
Mrs. Chris Verbal February 27, 2013 at 01:09 PM
How are families in the school district who live in outlying areas to get notices? We've never seen the Sun Times! Webster Township
Julie Wilkinson February 27, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Way to show support for Dexter. What a shame that our own Council would take the easy, non-local way out instead of helping to get more people reading the Leader, Time for new members.
Elaine Owsley February 27, 2013 at 01:28 PM
When the Heritage group gobbled up the local weeklies in the territory, they lost all their "local" appeal and subsequently have lost subscribers. There is no central office no local focus and the numbers show what happens. Maybe the Sun Times isn't Dexter Sun Times, but it offers a better distribution.
Laura Jones February 27, 2013 at 03:11 PM
One must assume there is nothing that the Council has to say that involves, affects or is of interest to anyone outside the Village. At least that is how I read it, having never seen a Sun Times out here either. (Dexter Township)
kim February 27, 2013 at 04:15 PM
The Sun Times is not a local paper; most of the articles have nothing to do with Dexter. I get it (sometimes scattered on the ground in the general vacinity of the mailbox) and most of the articles are irrelevant. I see it more as junk mail for the fire place whereas The Dexter Leader has all sorts of relevant information, in addition to fun and interesting stuff like local sports and editorials. Very sad decision...
Mary Mooney February 27, 2013 at 04:32 PM
This is yet another example that Mr. Keough has no sense of place. He says that he does but this action clearly demonstrates once again that he doesn't get it. To make matters worse Dexter residents are allowing him to lead them down the path to cityhood. He supports changing the name of your fire department and just wait for the day that you give him the chance to change the name of your community. Your new name could be Sun City.
Kim T. February 27, 2013 at 05:44 PM
The Chelsea Standard and the Dexter Leader are no longer local newspapers. Most of the ads/articles have nothing to do with Chelsea/Dexter. Businesses opened and closed in Chelsea and Dexter with no mention at all in the papers. When they stopped being local, I dropped my subscriptions. Maybe the Sun Times will be more representative of the Dexter Community.
Michael Cavanaugh February 27, 2013 at 07:13 PM
The lack of accuracy in the Leader, when they do report on Dexter, and the fact that a majority of the Leader articles are about Chelsea or elsewhere; leads me to support the Sun Times switch. The articles I have seen so far in the Sun Times have been well written it seems they get their facts straight. As a result of the addition of Dexter's business, I would hope to see more coverage of Dexter .
Wendy February 27, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Robert Nester, the owner/operator of the Sun Times since 2008 has lived and operated a number of businesses in Dexter Township for the past 30 years. Plans (and renovations) for a new Sun Times Office on Dexter-Pinckney Road are underway with expected opening in March 2013. This is a very local businessman who actually pays taxes to support Dexter government and schools. He offered a better price, better coverage, and better customer service. Something that may be difficult for a company (Heritage/Journal Register) whose corporate offices are not even in Michigan.
Laura Jones February 27, 2013 at 07:20 PM
That's really good to know Wendy. Hopefully with his move to the Township he will expand his distribution to cover all township residents as well.
Joe Semifero February 27, 2013 at 07:57 PM
The reason meeting minutes are published is to let people in the community know what is going on. It is part of the responsibility of a government. The Dexter Leader, from what they have told me, reaches 200-300 households in the Village. The Sun Times reaches 1500. This was a move to make the information available to more people. There are a number of options for distributing this information. The Village already puts these minutes and notices on line, where anyone can access them if interested, but this does not meet the requirements of State law. Another option is to post the meeting minutes in three places around the Village. In fact, the Village did this for a few years. When we changed from putting the minutes in the Leader to posting them in three places around the Village, there was not a single complaint. No one mentioned it as a lack of communication or that it was detracting from the Dexter Leader. No one complained that it was detracting from a "sense of place." It appears no one even noticed they were no longer printed in the Leader. This is an effort to get as much information as possible to as many Village residents as possible. It is to the very heart of transparency in government. That is what I believe is a priority in the Village, and that is what I will continue to work towards in serving the residents.
Elaine Owsley February 27, 2013 at 08:11 PM
I've worked for weekly papers off and on for more than 60 years and the publishing of "legals" and "local" governmental notes has always been the horse that pulls the cart. Take the larger distribution of the Sun-Times, the fact that it's free, and add even more local news - which they can afford to do with the added revenue - and you have the perfect combination. Heritage has little real interest in any of the papers they bought and it shows. Dexter wants to know about Dexter - it's a very simple formula. As odd a duck as old Walt Leonard was - and I worked for him 43 years ago when we first moved here - he understood local news for local readers.
Francyn Chomic February 27, 2013 at 09:46 PM
I've never heard of the Sun Times. Is there a link to the paper?
Raymond Steele February 28, 2013 at 01:09 AM
The Sun Times is already a mosaic of irritating advertisements and useless content. Why not add more? I should request that my paper be delivered on Friday mornings to the green mailbox on the curb labeled Waste Management.
Mary Mooney February 28, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Most people are aware of the fact that print media has declined over the past several years. I think that it is extremely commendable that Heritage Papers / Dexter Leader has found a way to remain in existence throughout these changing times. Maybe it is not perfect but never-the-less they have somehow been able to provide the Dexter Community with a hometown paper...... The Dexter Leader. I for one realize that the Villaged stopped publishing notices in the Dexter Leader sometime ago and Yes that is okay with me. But to start publishing again using print media and turning your nose up to the Dexter Leader in my opinion is unexcusable. I guess it is okay for the Dexter Village Council to kick the Dexter Leader in the teeth when they are down as long as you are transparent about it. There are many ways that you can be transparent. Shame on YOU!
Albion February 28, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Another problem with a local paper is that the owner of the paper is bias. They live in the area and they have their own agendas. They can sway votes on almost any issue.

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