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Two births of Sussex Sun
Written by unknown Sussex Sun Staffer
It's flattering, really. Fred says some nice things about me in this column, and I have no way of knowing if the current editor will be big enough to let it go through, considering his name's not on the list.
I don't think I would, just so you know, if I was still editing the Sussex Sun.
Its bad marketing.
But regardless, I've always liked Fred. He's an honest guy-- what you see is what you get. And, he's as friendly as any human being as any reason to be.
One of my favorite Fred Stories:
I was going into the Village Hall in Sussex, and I saw Fred's red truck parked along side the building.
He was sitting in it and giggling quietly to himself. I went over. Sitting next to him on the seat was a big box of matchbooks that he informed me he'd got from a local junk dealer for $6.
Then, he handed me a cardboard toilet paper tube. A matchbook was tucked in one end of the tube and he'd written across the length of the tube:"Illinois FlashLight."
In the fog of time exact dates are not known, just approximate times can be figured out. According to Jim McLoone, the former owner and founder of the Sussex Sun coming into existence in the early 1960s.
In talking with McLoone the year of 1964 seems to be the best available.
The original Sussex Sun was a free shopper-newspaper of four to eight pages. Early contributions were Don Curtis and Mrs. Ray Ehlers.
The earliest known Sussex Sun in existence today is a Feb. 4, 1965, copy that is displayed at the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society. The big notable events in this keepsake is the charter meeting of the Sussex Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) receiving their charter (disbanded in 1986).
Other news items were the Sussex Sun offered classified ads for 50 cents per 10 words. The Lannon suburban SuperValue grocery store sold six cans of Campbell’s soup for $1 and 2 pounds of Saltines for 45 cents.
Also, Sussex Lumber offered double garages on a slab for $795. this included a double overhead door.
Art Manke was chairman of the Town of Lisbon. He lived where Bristol Court is today. The president of Sussex was John Karner and president of the new Jaycees was Glen Pugh.
Hughitt Hinderach was the owner of the old Hartland News and was responsible for taking over the Pewaukee Post, Delafield Gazette and combining them into what later became the Lake Country Reporter in 1954. He in turn sold out in the late 1950s to Marcus Hauck, who owned for six months then sold it to McLoone.
McLoone a Korean War veteran, with a background in small local newspapers in Iowa and Minnesota, grabbed a tiger and worked 60 hours a week to get it going. He added shoppers and other community newspapers with the Sussex Sun being one of his creations.
The Sussex Sun as a free shopper-small newspaper went on for a dozen years, until January 1976. At this point in time Hamilton High School was in the early part of the Ludka era of outstanding basketball teams. McLoone and his sports editor, Chuck Delsman, thought that the championship-bound Hamilton teams needed coverage.
According to a Oct. 12, 1993, feature by Jim Stevens: “Those familiar with the Sussex Sun know that Fred Keller has been involved in the publication for many years.
Keller broke into the Sun when Lake Country Reporter Sports Editor Chuck Delsman could not attend a Hamilton High School basketball game.
Delsman suggested they call Keller, who attended all the Hamilton games. Keller stayed on. Not only to do sports, but also features and his popular column, Bald Facts.”
In s short time he became a news reported photographer and sports editor.
Keller quickly asked McLoone, because it was 1976, the bicentennial year of the United States, if could he could publish local Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon historical features. McLoone asked where he would get the historical information and pictures. Keller said that he had been collecting local history since he was 14 years old, starting in 1946. McLoone said go ahead. Thus in April 1976 the very first Yesteryear in Sussex feature appeared, a 10-year anniversary piece on the April 26, 1966 “Instant Urban Renewal” story of the burning of the old, massive Sussex downtown general store.
Keller has now continued his Yesteryear (now labeled Retrospect column to this day, 30 years later, plus adding 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 years ago Memories column. He remained as sports editor until the 1990s.
In 1977 McLoone decided to go from a free shopper-newspaper to a paid circulation weekly. He made a deal with new subscribers that if they signed up for a subscription, they would get it for $2 a year and continue to get it for $2 a year for the next 10 years. There are still original subscribers that continued to get this deal as late 1987.
As a paid subscriber newspaper the Sussex Sun could now compete for the official advertising of the Hamilton School District and Sussex, Lisbon and Lannon. All four came on board in short order, adopting the Sussex Sun as their “official paper.”
The first paid Sussex Sun was printed Oct. 4, 1977, with a cost of 15 cents. The month of September 1977 was the last of the free Sussex Sun.
Just as the Sussex Sun was becoming an official newspaper Scott Peterson became the overall editor of the multi Lake Country Reporter combination of newspapers and is still in the honcho position today.
Keller who has put in 30 years with the Sun has worked under about 15-16 different Sun editors below Peterson. He rates Gabe Wollenberg, Erin Mellone, Sharon Korbeck and John Zebell as the best of the lot.
The Milwaukee Journal bought the Lake Country Reporter-Sussex Sun in 1990 when McLoone was given an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Milwaukee Journal put up a state-of-the-art printing plant and newspaper Reporter office in the Hartland Industrial lot a few years later.
Keller once gave this definition in his Bald Facts for a weekly newspaper, “A weekly newspaper is a weekly because it takes a whole week to get enough news to print a paper. Now the only reason subscribers buy it is to make sure the paper has it right.”
2006 finds that Pauline Haass Public Library has a complete collection of a bound-in hardcover set of Sussex Sun papers from 1976 to this past January, with a new book coming for the current 66 months being available in August.
Meanwhile, the Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society also has a complete set of hardbound books of copies from 1976 to present to back up the library inventory. Recently, library director Kathy Klager said that these back issues are often reviewed by library visitors.
Submitted for publication to the Sussex Sun for May 3, 2006.