Wisconsin Daily Challenged On Public Notices After ‘Flawed’ Listing

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By: Joe Strupp

A Wisconsin daily that printed a public notice for a county meeting that one official called ?fatally flawed? may lose its status as an official newspaper, according to the Lakeland Times of Minocqua, another paper that is trying to take over the contract.

The Times reports that the Oneida County Zoning Committee voted to ?have zoning staff initiate a process to remove the (Rhinelander) Daily News as the county’s official newspaper.?

It added that ?zoning committee supervisors have been upset with the Rhinelander newspaper since July, when the committee had to cancel a public hearing for an ordinance amendment due to an inaccurate printing of the legal notice in The Daily News.

?At the public hearing on July 30, zoning director Karl Jennrich told supervisors he was removing the ordinance amendment from the agenda because the notice in the Daily News was ‘fatally flawed and no strike through or underlines were printed in the publication.'”

The Times reports the department later published abridged notices for a rescheduled hearing, held on Aug. 13.

The county later reviewed circulation figures as part of its investigation to determine if other local papers could handle the public notice requirements.

?As a result of that research, The Lakeland Times provided the zoning department with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s latest circulation figures,? The Times reported. ?Those numbers showed The Lakeland Times with a paid circulation of 11,013 and the Rhinelander Daily News with a circulation of 3,783.

?After a discussion of circulation numbers, and of The Daily News’ response to the printing error – which supervisor Ted Cushing said was as of much concern to him as the actual cost — Cushing moved to direct staff to take the first steps necessary to eliminate the Daily News as the county’s official newspaper,? the Times wrote.

Daily News Publisher Greg Mellis said the Times is merely trying to take away the public notices and his paper is fighting it. “Wanting to become the newspaper of record and having it happen are two different things,” he told E&P. “We will work with the county to remain this way.”

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