John Mueller 10-28-22

John Mueller,

As a high school freshman growing up in St. Paul during the mid- to late-1970s, New Prague was one of those far-away towns in Minnesota, a small city on the map we’d never heard of thanks in part to our provincial view of the world. Back then, a trip anyplace south of Interstate Highway 494 and west of Highway 35 was far enough out there it required thoughtful planning.

Times have, thankfully, changed.

This week, an online job posting opened the doors to an opportunity to work in New Prague and the surrounding area covering the community, meeting people, reporting on their governance, learning about what matters, hearing about their lives and stories what makes each of them unique. Thanks to the Wann family for providing me the opportunity. It is not taken for granted.

My work in New Prague started Wednesday, Oct. 19, since the work week runs Wednesday to Tuesday. My journey reached New Prague last week after fourplus years in Glencoe working for The McLeod County Chronicle, a good community newspaper challenged by staffing shortage and people and businesses increasing reliance on social media to spread information and free advertising, a trend threatening the future of some community newspapers.

My career started in Visalia, Calif. in 1987. From there, the resume includes 19 years for the company now based in Savage, previously in Shakopee. There were assignments to its papers in Chaska, Eden Prairie, Savage and Shakopee covering news and sports, positions offering valuable lessons on community newspapering. There was also an 11-year stop in Belle Plaine working for a newspaper which sadly ceased operations more than a year after the departure for Glencoe. The notice of the opening in New Prague jumped off the Minnesota Newspaper Association’s webpage. Thanks to subscriptions newspapers in the area exchange with one another, The New Prague Times was known as a weekly example of a really good community newspaper. It is a privilege to work for a good weekly newspaper with a proud tradition created and fostered by a team of good people.

With that, it’s important you know we’ll do our best to maintain the paper’s high standards. We’ll continue to work hard and do our best to cover the stories that matter most to our readers. We will listen. We want to hear from you when you email – news@newpraguetimes. com – or call with a concern or a suggestion about how we can do better.

Thus far, the people of New Prague and the area have been welcoming and polite, even to a guy who lives in Belle Plaine. Our family, which includes two high-schoolers who have since grown up, moved there from Shakopee in 2006 for land for horses. The children have grown up since and we now have a couple of granddaughters, ages 1 and 3.

And finally, there will be those who identify me as the new Chuck Kajer, or Chuck’s replacement. Chuck was The Times’ longtime editor and a New Prague institution. He passed away suddenly Nov. 13, 2019. He was liked almost immediately by most anybody he met. His shoes are too big for me to fill and he will always be respected, admired and missed.

In the weeks and months to come., it will be a pleasure to meet you and get to know each other. If we meet each other, please say hi and introduce yourself. Until then, have fun.

John Mueller is The New Prague Times’ managing editor.



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