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Published: Thursday, 8/4/2005

Sale affects 2 Putnam County papers

OTTAWA, Ohio - Two Putnam County weekly newspapers - the Putnam County Sentinel, based in the county seat here, and the Putnam County Vidette, which is in Columbus Grove - are among a dozen small newspapers and advertising publications that a northwest Ohio publisher sold to a suburban Cincinnati company in a deal that was effective Monday.

Hirt Publishing Co. Inc. and Hirt Media in Bellevue, Ohio, on the Sandusky-Huron county line sold the publications in Putnam and five central Ohio counties, which together employ about 100 people, to Brown Publishing Co.

"That takes me out of the newspaper business," said Gary Hirt, owner of the Hirt companies with his wife, Karen. He is 63 and said he wanted to retire from active management of the papers and spend more time with real estate.

The 150-year-old Putnam County Sentinel, which is published on Wednesdays and has a circulation of 7,250, has been owned by Hirt Publishing since 1984.

The Vidette, which is published on Thursdays and has a circulation of about 1,500, was acquired by the Hirts some years later.

A third publication in the county, Home Delivery Services, which distributes advertising materials throughout Putnam County, was started by the Hirts.

The sale included one daily newspaper, The Galion Inquirer, in Crawford County, which has a circulation of 3,000.

The new owners at Brown Publishing did not return calls from The Blade yesterday.

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