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Kelleys to retire from Clanton Newspapers

Mike and Peggy Kelley are retiring after Dec. 31, 2009, from Clanton Newspapers, Inc., publisher of The Clanton Advertiser, The Extra, The North Chilton Advertiser and clantonadvertiser.com.

They will be in the office until Christmas, then will finish out the year with earned vacation time.

Justin Averette, managing editor, continues in that role along with Stephen Dawkins and Scott Mims in news operations there. Zack Bates, Traci Bates, Boyd Smith and Sheryl Smith, all continue in advertising, circulation manager Michelle Price continues on as do all in production headed by Jimmy Ruff, production manager.

Additional Clanton staff will be added in news and advertising early in the coming year. Tim Prince, publisher of The Shelby County Reporter, takes on a dual role also serving as publisher of the Clanton Newspapers operations.

“As Peggy and I plan to retire to our lake home on Lake Martin near Alexander City we want to express our appreciation for the wonderful life we have shared in Clanton and Chilton County and for the many people who we have shared friendship over the years,” Kelley said.

“Mike is the senior publisher in our organization, had an important role in building our company as publisher in Clanton, a vice president and group manager of Boone Newspapers. Peggy has done likewise,” said Jim Boone, chairman of Boone Newspapers of Tuscaloosa. “He has been our partner in ownership in Clanton from the time Lewis Headley chose us as his successor with The Advertiser.

“Mike, with Peggy at his side and in full support, successfully brought his operation from weekly to daily and into the digital process of publishing. A number of times over the years Mike had the opportunity to go elsewhere in our organization, but he always said, simply, I will go where I am needed but Clanton is our home. We have been fortunate that he and Peggy felt that way.

“He is selling his interest in these operations to Clanton Newspapers after the first of the year. I wish Mike and Peggy a long and healthful retirement, appreciate the privilege they offer of helping us when we need them in the future,” Boone concluded.

It was in August 1975 when Mike and Peggy, along with their young children, Allison and Shane, moved from Alexander City to Clanton for Mike to become editor and publisher of The Advertiser and simultaneously merge it with the weekly The Union-Banner, combining the two into a twice weekly, The Independent Advertiser.

In 1991, Mike converted the newspaper to three times a week, then in 1998 to a daily.

Mike is a past president of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce served many years on Chilton County’s Hospital Board and as a director of several other Chilton County organizations. He served as president of Alabama Press Association in 1996 and he and Peggy are members of West End Baptist Church.

Their son, Shane, and his wife, Leah, have a daughter, Harper, and live in Clanton. Their daughter, Allison McBryde, and husband, Andrew, have a daughter, Ellery, and live in Moultrie, GA.

Mike, after finishing his education at Jacksonville State, began working as a reporter at his hometown weekly newspaper, the Alexander City Outlook.

Shortly after he began, the newspaper was purchased by Boone Newspapers.

Mike moved up quickly in its news operation and was offered the opportunity in Clanton of running that newspaper at a very young age.

As their children grew up, Peggy joined Mike at the newspaper, taking care of general office and accounting matters.

“Many skilled newspaper men and women got their starts and furthered their careers with strong direction and personal interest from Mike,” Todd Carpenter, president of Boone Newspapers said. “They are now working with numerous newspapers across the country, serving their communities in the manner they learned while working with Mike.

“Peggy was a major influence for the good of many of those people, and they join Mike’s and Peggy’s associates in wishing them well in retirement,” he concluded.

“Mike and Clanton Production Manager Jimmy Ruff have set the standard for daily use of full color in smaller newspapers, and they have been a benchmark for others,” Prince said.

“They have done an exceptional job in printing our Shelby County Reporter products,” he said.