LISBON, N.D. - The Ransom County Gazette, Cass County Reporter, Traill County Tribune and Sargent County Teller have been sold to a Wyoming newspaper publisher.

Sean and Cheryl Kelly had owned the Gazette in Lisbon for 43 years. Cheryl Kelly confirmed Wednesday, Nov. 13, that they had sold the four papers to NorDak Publishing and its owner J. Louis Mullen of Buffalo, Wyo.

Mullen owns 11 other community weekly newspapers in South Dakota, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, industry publication Editor & Publisher reported.

Cheryl Kelly said her husband grew up in the newspaper business. Sean Kelly’s father ran the Park River newspaper for many years, she said.

“It was just time. We just needed to pass it on to someone younger,” Cheryl Kelly said.

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The Kellys released the following statement after the sale was announced Nov. 1.

“We are so grateful for our 43 years of being a part of the Lisbon community,” the Kellys said. “Our family was very young when we arrived in October of 1976.

“The Lisbon community embraced us and helped our whole family thrive. Over the years we were fortunate to be able to grow and invest in Casselton, Mayville, Hillsboro, and Milnor, publishing their long-standing strong community newspapers.

“Thank you to the business communities, readers and, most importantly, our amazing staff who have supported us and enabled us to publish the best papers possible for each of these communities.

“We are excited to see the positive changes that NorDak will bring to the papers with fresh ideas and technology. New owner Louis Mullen and publisher Kelsey Majeske both share our primary ideology, that each paper needs to be a reflection of its community through its local staff. We are confident that they will be embraced and will thrive because of this.

“Like our long-standing subscribers, we are looking forward to reading the news when the paper hits the stands each week. Thank you for 43 wonderful years.”

Majeske is the publisher of the four North Dakota papers and three in South Dakota, E&P reported.