As you probably know by now, if you have opened up the paper to find this column, this issue of the newspaper represents a milestone in history.

As you probably know by now, if you have opened up the paper to find this column, this issue of the newspaper represents a milestone in history.

This if the first official edition of the Runnels County Register - a combination of two of Runnels County's historic publications, The Ballinger Ledger and The Winters Enterprise.

The Ballinger Ledger, established as the Ballinger Bulletin in 1888 and the Winters Enterprise, established in 1905, to become the “Runnels County Register," are among several newspapers that have existed for well over a century in this county.

We are excited to make this change, and it is our hope that readers and advertisers will feel the same.

Change is often difficult, but the idea here is to look at the possibilities that are offered with the merger. By the way, this is not the first time papers have merged in Runnels County, it has happened at least three times since the establishment of the county in 1858.

The first edition of the Runnels County Register, which will reflect the combination of both papers on the masthead, will include stories and advertisements from Ballinger, Winters and Runnels County. 

We believe the combination of the papers will allow for better coverage for both Ballinger and Winters as well as surrounding communities in Runnels County including Miles, Rowena and Olfen.

Currently, the technicians are in the process of combining both websites, and the new website, www.runnelscountyregister.com may not go live right away. So for now, readers can go to www.ballingerledger.com and www.wintersenterprise.com and get your news there. Once the change is made, readers will be redirected to the new website.

The upcoming Runnels County Junior Livestock Show is one event where the entire county is represented and readers can look forward to extensive coverage there, plus a special section. Plus, I look forward to covering events in Miles, like the Trade Days, or as in the past year, the sausage makers in Olfen or covering the new water system currently being installed in Rowena.

We realize the historic significance of these publications and their importance to their respective communities and plan to continue the tradition of serving the entire area and beyond.

It is always a historic occasion when a merger occurs especially when two papers are replaced.

The paper will continue to feature news, sports and lifestyle stories from all Runnels County communities.  Future plans call for the additions which could include state and national news and sports, comics, an editorial page and a weekly agriculture report.

The papers in their current configuration are limited in terms of space for both advertising and news and the Runnels County Register will offer more opportunities for both.

Remember, while change may be difficult, it also presents an opportunity and hope for the future and Runnels County is all about that.

And as always, if you have a story to tell, an event to promote or just want to visit, you can find me, just around the corner.

Celinda Hawkins is the managing editor of the the Runnels County Register and may be reached at the office at 325-365-3501 or via email at chawkins@ballingerledger.com.