A trio of Binghamton-area news publications - including one that's been around for 145 years - were about to shut down in a few weeks. But a new owner is taking charge and the papers will remain in business.

Don Einstein, the publisher of the Vestal Town Crier, the Windsor Standard and The Country Courier, had decided to retire at the end of March.

As of early February, the fate of the three newspapers was up in the air. One person had expressed interest in assuming the Conklin-based operation but ultimately chose not to.

A short time later, Gretchen Van Walterop learned of the opportunity and agreed to take the helm of Newspaper Publishers LLC, which has operated the papers. She'll take over on April 1.

The offices for three Broome County community newspapers are in Conklin. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)
The offices for three Broome County community newspapers are in Conklin. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Einstein is 85 years old. He's served as publisher and his wife Elizabeth has been managing editor of the community newspapers.

Don Einstein, who grew up in Brooklyn, has always had a fondness for newspapers. After moving to Broome County, he was a reporter for the Jewish Federation's paper. In 1980, he became owner of Masthead Publications, the publisher of the Vestal, Windsor and Conklin papers.

Einstein also oversaw other publications, including the Broome County Pennysaver and the Auto Market.

After more than four decades of operating the three community newspapers, Einstein decided it's finally time to retire.

Don and Elizabeth Einstein at their kitchen table on March 3, 2023. Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Don and Elizabeth Einstein at their kitchen table on March 3, 2023. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Although her husband is retiring, Elizabeth Einstein said she still plans to do some reporting for the papers. She expects to continue covering Conklin and Windsor town board meetings - at least for awhile longer.

Gretchen Van Walterop is looking forward to becoming the next publisher in a few weeks. She said "it's very important for the community to be informed."

Van Walterop expects there'll be no interruption in the operations of the newspapers, although delivery for the print editions will be moved from Wednesday to Friday.

Van Walterop said she is "excited and a little bit nervous" as she prepares for the new challenge. But she's happy to be able to keep the papers alive.

The Windsor Standard published its first issue in 1878. After 145 years, it's one of Broome County's oldest newspapers. But it isn't the oldest. That title goes to The Deposit Courier, which has been around since 1848.

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Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com or (607) 545-2250. For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.

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