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Laurel Leader-Call, newspaper in Laurel's sister city, to cease publishing March 29

The Laurel Leader-Call, a century-old newspaper in Laurel's sister city of Laurel, Miss., will cease publishing after its March 29 issue, its editors announced March 26.

In a story on the paper's website, it was reported that publisher Mitchell Lynch advised the paper's 18 employees of the decision Monday afternoon, and that he said subscribers who had paid for the paper in advance would be reimbursed.

Laurel, Md., adopted Laurel, Miss., in 2005 after the southern city was hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, which damaged nearly half of the city's homes and other buildings, many being hit by towering oak and pine trees that fell in the storm. A committee organized in Laurel, Md., with representatives from the city, Laurel Regional Hospital and Laurel Mall, who worked with community groups in sending volunteers, money and supplies to help Laurel, Miss., rebuild. Later, elected officials of both cities visited each other to share ideas.

Laurel, Miss., like Laurel, Md., has about 20,000 residents, was once a mill town and hosts an annual Main Street Festival. The city is located about 90 miles north of the Gulf Coast, midway between Biloxi and Jackson and, like Laurel, Md., has an annual Main Street Festival.

According to its website, the Laurel Leader-Call was first published in 1911 as the Laurel Daily Argus. It was later called the Laurel Daily Leader and became the Laurel Leader-Call in 1930. In 1999, the paper was purchased by a subsidiary of Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

Last year, the Laurel Leader-Call reduced its publication from daily to four days a week.

Jason Niblett, who was news editor for the Laurel Leader-Call when the hurricane hit in 2005, said his position had since been abolished but that he still worked at the paper part time. News that the Laurel Leader-Call was ceasing publication was "devastating," he said by phone Tuesday.

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