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Norlander sells newspaper publishing firm to partner

Dick Norlander, owner and president of Messenger Publications Inc. for the past 36 years recently announced the newspaper publishing firm was sold to his business partner Kevin Anderson.

Anderson took control on May 1.

The new company’s legal name will be MessAge Media, Inc. and includes the Aitkin Independent Age and Mille Lacs Messenger weekly newspapers in addition to the Bargain Hunter weekly shopper, the Mille Lacs and Central Lakes Area Fun Guide, the monthly Central Minnesota Real Estate Guide, an annual Community Resource Directory and web sites and other miscellaneous special publications.

Anderson, 56, has served as publisher of the Mille Lacs Messenger for the last seven years. He had worked in advertising sales, beginning in 1985, and later served as its general manager. He became a partner in the business with Norlander in 2000. 

Anderson and his wife, Debra, make their home on Cove Bay on Mille Lacs where they are both active in their church and other community organizations. Deb is a retired Onamia Elementary School teacher. They have two children, Chase, 26, and Whitney, 23, both of whom make their homes in the Twin Cities. 

Anderson attended St. Cloud State University where he studied management and accounting. He is the former president of the Minnesota Free Paper Association and  serves as first vice president of the Minnesota Newspaper Association and president of the Minnesota News Media Institute.

“I’m excited about the challenge of continuing to grow both of our papers’ potentials, as well as the opportunities the web will afford information companies in the years ahead,” Anderson said in a news release. “Our papers now have over 15,000 more web readers each week than we had just a few years ago and I strongly believe that, by continuing to provide the very best paper and web presence we can to our readers, that the doomsday predictors who say that ‘print is dead’ will be proven wrong.”

Norlander plans to assist Anderson and help out at the Age a couple of days a week if needed during the transition period and probably until this fall.