2021 marks 100 years and three generations of Community News

A century of good news

2021 marks 100 years and three generations of Community News

By Carol and Craig Felzien – Majestic Consulting

Who ever said, “Nice guys finish last,” never met Bob Huneke, Jr., Publisher Emeritus and General Manager of the Community News.  

In fact, it has been three generations of Hunekes over the last 100 years, who have played nice by publishing only positive news and events since 1921.  

The Community News is the longest running weekly publication in the St. Louis region.

To celebrate this milestone, the publication is rededicating itself to its’ historic community service of positive news for the greater good of the community, and entering into a partnership with Majestic Consulting, owned by Carol and Craig Felzien, to shine a bright light on the many nonprofit organizations and their volunteers. The campaign will run through 2021.

“Carol came to me with what I think is a winning proposition for the community and a great way for me to rededicate my publication to what we have always stood for. Her company has designed a campaign which will help us all to see more clearly how St. Charles County is truly unique and truly ‘Community Strong,’” said Huneke. 

The campaign will feature a monthly full-page look at a nonprofit organization making a real difference serving St. Charles County citizens. The articles, and interviews, written by Carol Felzien, will mostly focus on nonprofits which do a great deal of work for the greater good of the community, but often get very little notice. 

In addition to the monthly articles, the Community News-Majestic Consulting Partnership, will host a ribbon-cutting celebration for this 100-year achievement, design a volunteer awards recognition event, which will feature a keynote speaker, and they will also create a focus group to discuss community issues important to readers.

“This is a collaborative effort between Carol and myself. Together, we have teamed up to design and execute a campaign which shows what is so great about our community. The Community News newspaper will be at the center of this effort,” said Craig Felzien, President of Majestic Consulting,

“The campaign will show how collaborative, entrepreneurial efforts by local businesses, chambers of commerce, local and county governments, economic development agencies, as well as the many nonprofits in our area, have all worked together to make our area ‘Community Strong,’” he said. 

Carissa Figgins, Executive Director of Community Strong located at the Economic Development Center (EDC) of St. Charles County, said, “We are very pleased Carol’s idea is coming to fruition. It has morphed significantly since the first time she discussed her ideas with me. Her column, aptly named, ‘Community Strong,’ helps bring much-needed attention to St. Charles County’s health and wellness coalition. In fact, her efforts have significant, positive synergies with our organization’s goals and objectives community-wide.”

The Community News newspaper evolved from a bi-weekly shopping circular for the 14th Street Merchants in 1918, by Bob Huneke, Jr.’s grandfather, Harry Huneke. Harry had been a printer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and started the circular at the request of the merchants. This shopping circular grew and developed into a weekly newspaper in 1921. By 1939, Harry and his wife Catherine (Bob Jr’s grandmother) had combined six small community papers into the Community News. Two of those papers included the Baden News and the Walnut Park News. The Community News circulated throughout North City and North County, making it the largest weekly newspaper in North St. Louis.  

Harry’s son, Robert Huneke, Sr., ran the business for many years, until Bob Huneke, Jr., took over from his father and grew the business by seven-fold in revenue and readership in less than ten years. Quite a leap for someone who used to throw the paper from his bicycle during his youth. The Community News is now widely read and distributed for free at all 35 Dierbergs and Schnucks grocery stores in St. Charles County and North and Northwest St. Louis County.   

Huneke, Jr. says he never really planned to go into his father and grandfather’s business, but as time went on, he felt a tug toward the history of it all. A history that focuses on positive news, strong readership, and excellent, reasonably priced advertising for businesses.  

“It has always been a family-owned paper. I enjoy carrying on that tradition,” concluded Huneke, Jr. “We’re proud of the reputation we have maintained over the past century. It is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have done in my life and I want it to keep on growing. We continue to re-invent the paper and this campaign to rededicate ourselves to the community we serve is part of that process. We want to position ourselves for the future when many newspapers are choosing not to continue. I will look forward to seeing many of you in the near future, and to all our readers and advertisers…thank you, you make all of this possible.”