By Travis Naughton

When Gene Rhorer was delivering copies of the Boonville Daily News as a young boy, he never imagined he would one day be the publisher of his very own newspaper. Yet over forty years later, after a long career in computer sales and repair, and a seven-year stint as mayor of Ashland, Rhorer became publisher of the Boone County Journal. “The paper was going to close,” Rhorer explained, “and I wanted to keep it going for the people of Ashland.” When he bought the paper from previous owner Bruce Wallace in March 2019, Rhorer planned to own the Journal for five years and then pass it along to someone who was passionate about providing local news to the Southern Boone County community. Unfortunately, as is often the case, Life had other plans for the Rhorer family. Rhorer’s wife Ela is currently battling a recurrence of the breast cancer she was initially diagnosed with several years ago. Facing at least three surgeries in the coming months, Ela’s health is her and Gene’s top priority. Therefore, after just three years, the Boone County Journal is officially for sale again. “I hope somebody who lives here and loves this community buys it,” Rhorer said. He emphasized the importance of having an owner who can report the news as well as cover local sports and can maintain a good relationship with the SoBoCo School District. “Local papers are by and for the people who live here,” he added. “Without community support, I couldn’t do it,” Rhorer said about producing a high-quality, local paper. “I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the paper’s success.” He thanked former business manager Stacy Phillips, former reporters Carson Blake and Briley Eilers, high school sports contributors Frank Finley and Todd Pridemore, Ernie Wren, and high school ag teacher Rebekah Hammett for their contributions over the last few years. “I also want to thank the advertisers for sticking with us,” Rhorer said. Covid has hit many advertisers, especially small business owners, hard since the pandemic began, but Rhorer is optimistic that things are starting to stabilize and that businesses (including the Journal) are beginning to recover. Though the Journal has survived the worst of the pandemic, it has not been by accident. Rhorer says he works approximately 80 hours per week to keep the paper going strong. Included with any deal to purchase the Journal is three months of training with the out-going publisher. The new publisher will learn how to sell advertisements, how to create ads using the Journal’s computers and design software, how to manage subscriptions and billing, and how to produce a ready-for-print newspaper using desktop publishing software. The sale will include a list of advertising clients, a weekly circulation of approximately 1500 newspapers, an annual community magazine, several computers (Mac and PC), servers, printers, camera equipment, and an archive of back issues spanning 100 years. The Journal’s office, at 201 South Henry Clay in Ashland, is leased from former publisher Bruce Wallace. Rhorer said he would entertain any serious offer to purchase the Journal. He can be reached at the Journal’s office by phone at (573) 657-2334, by email at, or in person at 201 S. Henry Clay Blvd. After selling the paper, Gene and Ela plan to spend as much time as possible enjoying their favorite activities including motorcycle riding, fishing, and antiquing, as well as focusing on Ela’s recovery.