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Publisher Scot Heisel

Ponderosa Publications, LLC has hired Montana native Scot Heisel to serve as its regional publisher for Glacier, Toole and Pondera counties. He also will serve as editor of the Cut Bank Pioneer Press.

Heisel moved to Cut Bank last month, and he began his new position May 30.

Heisel will oversee production, advertising and editorial content for the newspaper group formerly owned by Brian and LeAnne Kavanagh, who sold the Cut Bank Pioneer Press, the Shelby Promoter, the Glacier Reporter and The Valierian in March to brothers Lloyd and Jesse Mullen.

Ponderosa Publications is affiliated with Mullen Newspaper Company based in Deer Lodge. Mullen Newspaper Company manages three other Montana newspapers, the Silver State Post in Deer Lodge, Philipsburg Mail and Bitterroot Star in Stevensville.

Heisel, 51, was born and raised in Missoula, where he graduated from Sentinel High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and creative writing from the University of Montana before spending two years in UM’s post-graduate journalism program.

Heisel has worked for six other newspapers across the Northwest during his 22-year career. He most recently served as editor of the Lake County Leader, based in Polson, for two years. Under his guidance the Leader staff claimed 15 awards from the Montana Newspaper Association in 2021. Heisel won five first-place awards in news, feature writing, column writing and photography.

He also has worked at the Missoulian; The Daily News in Longview, Wash.; the Lewiston Tribune in Lewiston, Idaho; The Wallowa County Chieftain in northeast Oregon; and the Eastside Journal in Bellevue, Wash.

Brian and LeAnne were the fourth generation of Kavanaghs to own and operate the Promoter, dating back to October 1922. They have been a staple in the Cut Bank community since 1982. They managed the Cut Bank Pioneer Press for then owner John Kavanagh, working at every position in the newspaper at one time or another. They purchased the Glacier Reporter in 1985, followed by the Shelby Promoter and Cut Bank Pioneer Press in 1995, and The Valierian in 2002.

The Kavanaghs combined their four newspapers into one publication in 2020.

“Operating a community newspaper under any circumstances is a challenge in today’s economic climate,” Heisel said. “I look forward to taking on that challenge, and I feel fortunate to inherit such a sound journalistic foundation from the Kavanagh family. Almost all members of the Kavanaghs’ editorial and sales teams — many of whom have served their respective communities for decades — have remained on staff, so I’m very optimistic about our future.”

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