Oklahoma couple buys Council Grove Republican

Posted May 25, 2017


The Council Grove Republican, associated with the McNeal family since the 1930s, has sold to David Parker of Enid, Okla., effective July 1.

Sale of the Republican, published continuously the past 145 years since the first issue on Aug. 24, 1872, was announced Thursday by Craig McNeal, president of Council Grove Publishing Company, Inc.

Parker said there will be no changes at the newspaper in terms of staff, the paper design will remain the same and the newspaper will continue to be published daily.

The new owner announced he is searching for an editor.

(Pictured above are Craig McNeal and his father, the late Don McNeal).

Parker, who has been in the printing and publishing industry for more than 40 years, said he has wanted to buy the Council Grove newspaper for a long time, since he first visited the Flint Hills decades ago, and that things finally came together earlier this year.

He and his wife currently live in Oklahoma, but plan to move to the Flint Hills in the near future where he wants to be an active member of the Council Grove community.

McNeal, who has been with the newspaper the past 52 years, first as a staff writer and later as owner and editor, said he will miss covering the daily happenings in the community and area, with never a day without something new developing in the news.  He plans to continue to live in Council Grove and is looking forward to having more time to attend the activities of his three grandchildren at schools in Olathe.

The McNeal family has been involved in the daily operation the past 82 years.

Don McNeal came here during the summer of 1935 for a two-week internship in connection with his journalism studies at Kansas State University, and was hired full time upon graduating in the spring of 1936 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

The paper became a daily in 1914, and was published six days a week until the Saturday morning issue was discontinued due to a newsprint shortage during World War II. After active duty during World War II, he purchased 50 percent of the business from Jack Lawrence on Jan. 1, 1947.
Craig McNeal joined the staff in 1965, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Kansas State University in 1961, completing military active duty, and then returning to K-State for master's classes in journalism.
He became a partner with his father by purchasing Lawrence’s 50 percent interest in 1975, and became sole owner of the newspaper operation in 1985 when he bought Don McNeal's 50 percent interest.
Council Grove was listed in the late 1900s as one of the four smallest cities in the United States, population wise, to have a daily newspaper.  Today, it is the only one of the four newspapers still being published daily.