The Piscataquis Observer: Your hometown newspaper since 1838

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — For 175 years, The Piscataquis Observer has been the source for news in the Penquis region.
    Launched on June 1, 1838 as the Piscataquis Herald, the first issue laid out to the public the vision of owner and editor George Edes. “The Herald,” he wrote, “will … contain the news of the day, and such matters of general intelligence as will make it interesting as a Family Newspaper.”

    While the Whigs, a national political party at the time, are “as extinct as the National Administration and their dangerous experiments,” The Piscataquis Observer, to which its name was changed in 1847, is still concerned with bringing to the public the local news of the week along with the stories and views that breath life into our region.
    In his book, “The Old Schoolmaster,” William Smith Knowlton remembers Edes, who served as editor/publisher until his death in 1875. “The memory of G.V. Edes should not pass lightly from remembrance of the citizens of Piscataquis County. He was not a learned man, but a thoroughly honest one. He faithfully did his duty to make his paper the best possible. With him the publishing of the paper was not simply a business enterprise. He felt that the editor of a paper occupied the position of moral reformer and that he ought always be found on the right side of every social controversy. No doubtful advertisement appeared in his newspaper. He never kept silent because silence paid. His influence upon the moral and political world around him was always good and will never die.”
    Edes was followed in the editor’s seat by his son Samuel, who carried on the business with a partner, Fred D. Barrows. Next, in 1895, Liston P. Evans of Brownville, and a druggist by trade, took over the reins at the Observer. The mantle was passed on to Liston’s son, Ora Evans in 1947 and he edited/published the paper until 1968. James Roy Thompson, a transplanted Californian to the region, purchased the operations from Evans and published the Observer for 10 years before selling it to Northeast Publishing Company of Presque Isle. The firm also owns and operates weekly newspapers in Houlton, Presque Isle and Caribou.
    “The Piscataquis Observer is one of the oldest continuing businesses in the region and we take our mission — ‘Serving the interests of Piscataquis County’ very seriously,” said Mark Putnam, managing editor. “Everything we do is focused on how best to serve the community — our readers.”
    The front page now features news from school boards and town halls, business developers and community activists, all laid out around a couple of colorful, and hopefully telling, photographs.
    The newspaper’s location has changed throughout the years. First, the newspaper was put together in the building in Merrick Square that formerly housed Cahill’s Sporting Goods, then it moved to five locations around Union Square before going to the second floor of the current True Value Hardware building. In 1905, The Observer moved into the so-called flat iron building, which now is the home of The Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society. The paper stayed there until August of 1997, when The Observer took up shop in its current office on East Main Street.
    Today, the community newspaper features a full-time staff of four — news reporters Stuart Hedstrom and Bill Pearson, advertising sales representative Keri Foster, and customer service associate Jeannette Hughes. Leisa Clement and Chad Raymond are employed part-time as drivers and delivery persons for the weekly newspaper. All six employees live in the region and are dedicated to providing a final product that people here are proud of.
    “In 12 to 14 pages each week, the newspaper staff attempts to give complete and timely coverage of Piscataquis County and neighboring regions,” noted Putnam. “Through a combination of news stories, briefs, photographs, community calendar items, letters to the editor, police and court logs, obituaries, display advertisements, classified advertisements, inserts and special supplements — readers are made aware of the goings on in their communities. If it sounds like a tall order, it is.”
    A member of the Maine Press Association, The Piscataquis Observer is an award-winning community newspaper. Most recently staff members were recognized for their consistent efforts to reach into the classroom through the annual Newspapers in Education supplement.
    Through The Observer’s office, customers can access a full line of printing services, including business cards, poster, raffle tickets, brochures, flyers, banners up to six-feet long and much more.
    Prospective brides can stop by the office and order printed wedding and social stationary and other wedding-related items, now offered at 20 percent off the list price.
    The Observer staff can be reached at 564-8355, observer@nepublish.com or www.observer-me.com. Customers can also stop by the office, located at 12 East Main St., Suite A.

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