The Brantley Enterprise will not publish an issue this week for only the second time in the past century due to financial concerns brought about by uncertainty surrounding the naming of the county’s legal organ. And pending an official decision on Monday, it may not publish again. Ever.
Three constitutional officers of the county empowered to make the decision named the Enterprise the legal organ on Dec. 23 and notified the Secretary of State’s office of the change.
But Brantley Express publisher Mittie Vaughan has refused to publish the public notice of the change as required by law, claiming the county failed to advertise four weeks in December in her paper, which was then the legal organ.
In so doing, Vaughan has failed to comply with a direct order from the county in an effort to prevent the Enterprise from being named the legal organ until January 2015.
Over the past five years the Enterprise has struggled to remain financially viable after the loss of the legal advertising, revenues from which make up the lion’s share of most weekly newspapers’ income.
The newspaper had hoped to be named the official legal organ as of Jan. 1, which would provide the financial resources to continue to publish.
But despite being named the organ by Probate Court Judge Johnnie Crews, Sheriff Jack Whisenant, and Clerk of Superior Court Cindy Crews as required by law, the situation remains very unclear, and the Enterprise has reached the end of its financial resources.
Pending a decision by county officials on Monday morning, the Enterprise – now in its ninety-fourth year as the county’s newspaper – may be forced to shut its doors for good.
In the meantime, we have decided that the only solution to the immediate lack of cash-flow is to cut the upcoming issue to ease the financial burden. Where we go from there will depend on the decisions made by officials this week.
We will consider continuing to publish the digital edition of the paper for all the subscribers who provide an e-mail address. We may also continue to update the website, Facebook and Twitter with up-to-date stories as they become available.
But many of our readers don’t even have computers. Many just don’t like reading their news online. And for many, like us, nothing replaces the good old feel of inked newsprint in our hands.
We’ll miss it.
And we’ll miss all the friends we’ve made along the way. There are good people in Brantley County, but they’ve been beaten down by corrupt politicians. They’ve forgotten that it is they — not those in public office — who are in charge.
We won’t miss all the politicians who whispered their support but were unwilling to speak out for five long years against the injustice done to the Brantley Enterprise.