Brehm Divests Of All Four Of Its San Bernardino County Newspapers

The heirs of Bill Brehm have sold the four newspapers he and his wife, Mona, acquired in San Bernardino County to Gold Mountain News Media, which runs newspapers in the United States and Canada.
Gold Mountain California News Media has picked up the Hi-Desert Star Newspaper in Yucca Valley, the Desert Trail Newspaper in Twentynine Palms, the Big Bear Grizzly in Big Bear Lake and the Mountain News in Lake Arrowhead. All four are weeklies printed out of the Brehm Communications Inc. printing plant in Yucca Valley.
All told, Mountain California News Media Inc. is acquiring 11 newspapers in total from Brehm Communications. In addition to the Hi-Desert Star, the Desert Trail, the Grizzly and the Mountain News, the company will purchase the Desert Mobile Home News, which serves the Coachella Valley, along with the Auburn Journal, the Folsom Telegraph, the Roseville Press-Tribune, the Placer Herald, the Loomis News and the Lincoln News Messenger in Northern California.Bill Brehm was a media mogul who had a hand in shaping public opinion in San Bernardino County and elsewhere during his career as a publisher, which spanned six decades.
Brehm served in the Naval Air Corps during World War II and then attended college in Missouri, North Dakota and California on the GI Bill. He was intent on obtaining an engineering degree at the University of Southern California, and found what he thought would be part-time work as printer’s assistant with the Bell-Maywood Industrial Post in Los Angeles in 1946. He never left newspapering and did not become an engineer. Instead, by 1950, he had become a publisher with the McGiffin Newspaper Company, and married the owner’s daughter.
Bill McGiffin had come to operate 17 weekly and two daily newspapers in several states, including Iowa, Illinois and California, after beginning his career in 1919. Bill McGiffin died in 1955. In 1960, Bill Brehm became the president of the McGiffin Newspaper Company. Beginning in 1962, he and his wife Mona McGiffin Brehm undertook a concerted effort to acquire more newspapers into the McGiffin publishing empire. At their high point, they owned 52 newspapers, including the Mount Carmel Register, formerly the Daily Republican Register, which had been founded in 1839; the Fort Madison (Iowa) Daily Democrat; the Princeton Daily Clarion, founded in 1846; the Oakland City Journal, founded in 1892; and the Boonville Standard, founded in 1875.
The Big Bear Grizzly, which was founded in 1941, is currently edited by Judy Bowers.
The Hi Desert Star, first published in 1957, is currently edited by Stacy Moore.
Gold Mountain California News Media currently owns and operates the Appeal-Democrat in Marysville, the News-Sentinel in Lodi and the Grass Valley Union.
In a press release provided by the Dirks, Van Essen & April newspaper mergers, acquisitions, appraisals and accounting consulting firm, Steven Malkowich of Gold Mountain said, “We are pleased to acquire these esteemed properties from the Brehm Communications family. Our plans are to continue with the well-established fine tradition which the family has been recognized for in their long and continuous history in the newspaper industry.”
The press release quoted Ryan Schuyler, the president and CEO of Brehm Communications, Inc., “This transaction is bittersweet, as our family has been in the newspaper business for over 102 years. However, we felt it was time to pass these amazing publications and employees to a new home. We believe the new owners will carry on the important mission of community journalism for years to come.”
Mark Gutglueck

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