Nestled in the Ozarks on Route 66 is a tourist attraction home to the butt of all jokes — Uranus, Missouri.
“It’s not a town. It’s a destination,” says the sign that welcomes people into Uranus.
Once you arrive to the roadside attraction, you’ll find that “There’s A Lot To Do In and Around Uranus,” according to the tourist destination website.
While not an actual town, Uranus is like a strip mall that has gone “delightfully, disgustingly wrong — or right,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in 2017. The tourist attraction with shops and photo ops started in 2000 with a strip club, the paper reported. From there, owner Louie Keen — now Uranus’ “mayor” — started a bar and grill, tattoo shop and the fudge shop.
And soon there’s going to be a weekly newspaper that will cover all the news that happens in Uranus and the surrounding areas.
That announcement came about a week after GateHouse Media announced that it would be shutting down Pulaski County’s local paper, the Waynesville Daily Guide. Uranus is located about fives miles away from Waynesville in Pulaski County.
So, in an effort to “fill the void” in local news coverage, the Daily Guide’s former managing editor Natalie Sanders is helping Keen, the “mayor” and owner of Uranus, start a new newspaper — The Uranus Examiner.
Keen and Sanders had already been planning to start a “fun” publication in Uranus, but with the Daily Guide’s closing, the two are now working to publish countywide news.
“People who wanted an actual newspaper were not going to get one anymore (after the Daily Guide was shut down), so we decided to turn fun newspaper into a real one,” Sanders told The Wichita Eagle.
The Uranus Examiner will be releasing its first “fun” newspaper on Oct. 15, according to a Facebook release. Following the first edition, local coverage of “sports, news, classifieds, obituaries, and events” will be included each week. It will be sent to county residents and available at local businesses for free.
Sanders told the Eagle that Uranus — and its tourist revenue — will be funding the weekly newspaper. The attraction sees more than 30,000 people a month, she said, and even more people during the holiday season.
“I really want to provide a way for individuals living in Pulaski County to get trusted news and our local businesses to reach their hometown customers,” Keen said in the release.
But not everyone is as excited.
When Sanders went to the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon to announce The Uranus Examiner on Wednesday, she “didn’t expect anyone to be upset about the name,” she told the Eagle. “It’s a free newspaper for the entire county, that’s how I feel about it.”
The mayor of nearby Waynesville, though, did not think the name was appropriate, Sanders said.
“No. I’m sorry. But, the innuendo of that title puts my city up for public ridicule, and I will not be a part of it,” Mayor Luge Hardman said after the announcement, according to KY3.
“I think that the Pulaski County Examiner would have been a real hit, and I don’t believe it would’ve been a problem for the cities,” Hardman continued, according to the TV station. “But if you’re going to place this innuendo on your name, it’s not going to fly, at least for the city of Waynesville and the City of St. Robert.”
“Mayor” Keen shared a post regarding the controversy to his Facebook profile — “Butt I like it,” he said in a comment.
Sanders told the Eagle this is another example of society being “too politically correct,” and that “people need to chill out.”
“Sad to hear that there are some people who would try to sabotage a chance at a news source for Pulaski County because they don’t like the name. It’s disappointing,” Sanders posted to Facebook. “ ... This is no different than if Joe Shmoe started a newspaper and called it the Shmoe Examiner.”
She posted that she plans to run it as a “legitimate newspaper.”
“And if I have to FOIA people to death and tell the public that certain people refused comment, I will,” she wrote.
She told the Eagle she and Keen did not plan to make this a subscription-based newspaper, but with requests for subscriptions coming from around the world, they are now looking at that as an option.