The newspaper you are holding in your hands will likely be the final issue of the South County Times. 

With the loss of many long-time weekly clients – places like Sappington Garden Center and Mateker’s Meat and Catering that closed in recent years, along with the decisions of other businesses to market themselves in non-print mediums – South County Times has been struggling. 

Last week we learned that reliable national inserts from places like Kohl's would no longer be using our services. It has become a tough world for community journalism.

On top of that, the COVID-19 pandemic is making it unsafe for people to work together, shop together, worship together and attend public events. It is time for us to say: “this is enough.”

I know many of you will miss the South County Times. Some will miss the crossword puzzle (this week’s answers are published in this week’s paper). Many readers will miss Leslie Gibson McCarthy’s  weekly columns. The paper won’t be here to witness what rises from the ruins of Crestwood Plaza or to see who wins the Sunset Hills mayoral race. We will miss serving our many readers.

The South County Times dates back to the old South County News that began in 1947.

Webster-Kirkwood Times, Inc. purchased the newspaper from Jack Bender in 1989. Since then we have covered countless Affton and Lindbergh school district developments and transitions. We have been here to see Fenton bounce back from the nearly fatal blow of the Chrysler Plant closing. We witnessed the growth of business in Sunset Hills and the demise of a once-premiere mall, Crestwood Plaza.

We have covered tragedies like the disappearance and murder of Linda McLaughlin of Sunset Hills and the killing of St. Louis County Police officer Blake Snyder on Arno Drive near Clydesdale Park (now renamed in honor of the slain officer). We have nearly lost count of the number of Meramec River floods we have covered in Fenton and Sunset Hills.

We have seen the development and growth of Grant’s Trail. We like to think we may have helped the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site become a part of the National Park system. We said good-bye to Coral Courts Motel and have celebrated Watson Road’s Route 66 history. Then there was the Dec. 31, 2010 Sunset Hills tornado that damaged businesses and homes and stirred up ongoing zoning controversies. We wrote about the closing of the iconic Tower Tee and have been looking forward to its unexpected revival under new ownership.

We saw the rise of a new St. Louis County Library at Musick and Gravois roads. Even though their policies prevented them from being a distribution point for the South County Times, maybe the library will be open to receiving the 31 years of archive copies we have.

Meanwhile, we encourage readers to seek out and support other print publications. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a regional asset that needs the support of people who still like holding a newspaper in their hands.

We are proud of our decades of helping to showcase the people and the community victories and challenges in our South County Times readership area.

We hope new ways of communicating and holding these communities together emerge beyond the pandemic and economic crisis in which we find ourselves today.