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Small newspaper is of great importance in Oklahoma

The Mangum Star-News weekly newspaper in Mangum, Oklahoma, has a staff of five — counting the miniature pinscher.
by Bryan Painter Modified: October 6, 2013 at 3:00 am •  Published: October 6, 2013

Casey, 60, said he loves his job in part because, “I love putting people's names in the paper because I want to encourage people, especially young people.”

“I honestly love what I do for a living,” Casey said. “You're trying to find all of the information. That puts you in contact with a lot of people.”

Meet the staff

The newspaper has a staff of five — counting the miniature pinscher.

In addition to Casey, Karla types in items and does the billing. Their daughter, Tonya Paxton, the office manager, is in charge of advertising and special features and types in information as well. Her daughter, Renee J. Paxton, 12, writes a “Kid's Korner” column and places inserts in the paper. Renee's column often includes history, dance and “doing fun stuff” with her mother such as playing cards or watching DVDs of old movies or sitcoms.

“She's been writing a weekly article since she was 8 and she has quite a following,” Casey said. “She gets more letters than I do. She wants to be a ballerina and she has ballet a few nights a week over at Clinton.”

The fifth member of the staff, Casey and Karla's dog, Hershey Kiss Paxton, is about 5 months old and has an “Adopt A Pet” column.

“We rescued her from the dog pound and she started writing about five weeks ago,” Casey said. “We just fell in love with her and decided a column was the best way to help other animals.”

Hershey's Sept. 19 column read, “I am in the process of training my dad. Dogs are good at training people to pick up their clothes every night. If you don't want me to carry your underwear through the house while you're entertaining visitors then put them in the hamper.”

Following such canine wisdom are photos and information about her “friends” who are in need of homes.

Career change

Casey and Karla moved to Cheyenne in 1982 where he became music director at the First Baptist Church. In 1987, “I just kind of wanted to change things up.” That's when they bought the Cheyenne Star.

“I was just trying to change careers and we liked the town,” he said. “I love to work hard. So I just dove in and started doing it.”

Given the opportunity in 1999, Casey and Karla bought the Mangum Star-News. They moved home.

Knowing everyone

The Mangum Star-News is across the street from the Greer County courthouse. The newspaper office is on the lower level of the two-story building at 120 South Oklahoma. While some who come in are doing so for the first time, most faces are familiar.

That can get complicated, especially when it comes to legal issues. It's then that Casey doesn't like putting people's names in the paper, but knows what he has to do.

“There are stories that I don't like to write because it involves friends of mine,” Casey said. “But if I'm going to keep my integrity I've got to.

“I've said, ‘Look I'm sorry that's the way it is and I've got to do it. Whether we have a relationship after this, that's entirely up to you, but it's got to go in.'“

But there's plenty to offset the tough days.

“I've known a lot of these people all my life,” Casey said. “I like knowing the people in town and doing what I can.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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