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Herald Is First Recipient Of Spotlight Award

Water Valley Chamber of Commerce President (left) presented the first Business Spotlight Award to the North Mississippi Herald staff last week. Proudly accepting the award are (from right) Betty Shearer, Melody Smith and David Howell. The Chamber will present the new award periodically to deserving businesses.

WATER VALLEY – It is with great pleasure that the Board of Directors of the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce announces the North Mississippi Herald has been selected as the first recipient of the new Business Spotlight Award. The Herald staff includes David Howell, Editor and Publisher; Betty K. Shearer, manager; and Melody Smith, sales/graphics /bookkeeping.

“The newspaper staff is willing and able to perform the city’s newspaper business with knowledge and expertise, many years of experience, and with a pleasant and courteous manner,” Chamber President Toni Hill said during the presentation of the award last week.

“As a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce, from its inception in 1964 to the present, the North Mississippi Herald has certainly proved its interest in, and commitment to, the success and prosperity of the City of Water Valley,” the Chamber directors also reported in a press release.  

In addition to service to the community, the newspaper’s recognition also follows more than five decades of support for the Chamber. Edward B. Shearer, Herald Editor from 1943-1977, was present at the Chamber’s organizational meeting on February 29, 1964, and was named chairman of a committee “to draft and submit a set of by-laws” for the newly formed group. He was also elected one of the first 12 directors of this new organization.

Shearer’s son, Ed Shearer III, served as Herald editor from 1977-2003, working alongside his mother, Dollie, and wife, Betty. The Herald newspaper business was a true family business for six decades, with Betty Shearer currently remaining on staff as manager. Her front-page column, “Betty’s Week,” has been a favorite of the Herald readers for over 30 years. She is also the face of the business, greeting customers and answering the phone.

In 2004, the North Mississippi Herald was sold to another well-known newspaper family, the Howells from Batesville. David Howell has served as the editor and published since then, striving to maintain the quality and atmosphere set by the Shearer family.

“We are honored to be the first recipient of the Spotlight Award,” Howell said. “In many ways, the chamber and newspaper have similar duties, to promote the community.” 

Howell also credited the strong business community and loyal readers as the key to the success of the North Mississippi Herald. 

“There are many small-town newspapers thriving all across the county, but I can’t imagine a better atmosphere to publish a weekly paper right than Water Valley,” Howell continued. 

A special certificate of appreciation was presented to the Herald staff last Thursday in recognition of their Business Spotlight Award; and notices will be placed in the local newspaper, as well as on the Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook page. In addition, all chamber members will receive email announcements of the award.

In connection with this Business Spotlight Award, the Chamber of Commerce will present a free gift to one lucky Herald customer. There is no cost to the business or the customer, and the winner will be chosen by a name-drawing. The first item donated is a free subscription to the Herald. The winner will be presented a free subscription or their next year’s subscription will be free if they are already a subscriber.

To participate, please drop by the Herald office during the next week, congratulate the Herald staff on their award, and sign up for this free gift. Nothing else is required. The drawing will be held at noon on Friday, October 28, and the winner will be announced in the following week’s issue of the Herald. 

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