Tri-County Sun celebrates its centennial anniversary
Photo: Truman Ness proudly displays the commemorative award presented to Ness Press from NDNA.
“Our aim and purpose,” wrote G.K. Ness over 100 years ago, “are to work for the best interests of this community, and to this end we ask for your cooperation, and the opportunity to cooperate with you.”
Gabriel “G.K.” Ness was introducing the Tri-County Sun in his column in the first edition, printed on his birthday, May 12, 1922. The paper was opened after residents of Fordville convinced him to open a printing shop and newspaper there, following the closure of the Fordville Chronicle nearly three years before. He was humble about the work in which he embarked. “There isn’t very much to any small town paper,” he wrote, adding, “still if it is out of existence there seems to be something missing. A print shop in town and a local newspaper no matter how small have come to be regarded as an asset to the community.”
G.K.’s son, Truman Ness, along with family and community members, packed the Fordville American Legion on May 14, honoring 100 years of the family publishing the Tri-County Sun. Truman operates the paper with production manager and assistant to the publisher Dawn Madson, along with Truman’s brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Mavis Ness, who volunteer to help out. Ness Press also publishes the Larimore Leader/Tribune, Nelson County Arena, McVille Messenger, Edmore-Adams Herald, Aneta Star, Hatton Free Press, and Pembina New Era.
The Tri-County Sun was named for the three counties it serves – Walsh, Nelson, and Grand Forks. When G.K. began the paper in 1922, the Norwegian immigrant also printed the Petersburg Record. The newspaper has always been in the hands of the Ness family, with two generations operating the 100-year-old operation.
G.K. acknowledged that some saw newspaper publishing as a political endeavor and were suspicious that they’d butt political heads with the publisher. “In answer to this we will state that Sun is not started for political purposes. Our stock in trade is advertising and advertising we will sell to anyone who is willing to pay our regular advertising rates, regardless of political affiliations, religious conviction or moral standard,” he told his readers in the inaugural edition, which was mailed to every family in the community. While the publisher may disagree with you, he continued, “This is our privilege as well as yours but because of this it is not necessary that we constantly remind you of this thru these columns.”
Many who flocked to the Legion to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the paper admired photos, old issues and equipment marking the 100 years of publishing. NDNA presented Truman a plaque honoring the 100th year of publication, to which he said he was grateful. “It is appreciated to be honored with this,” he said.