Cape Gazette sold; staying local, independent

Co-publisher Chris Rausch buys company from co-founders Dennis Forney, Trish Vernon
January 3, 2022

Story Location:
Cape Gazette
17585 Nassau Commons Boulevard
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

After nearly three decades of covering Delaware’s Cape Region, Cape Gazette co-founders Dennis Forney and Trish Vernon have sold the company to longtime employee and Co-publisher Chris Rausch. In the works for months, the deal was finalized Dec. 31.

The first edition of the Gazette published May 28, 1993. In a short story introducing readers to the paper, Forney wrote, “The Cape Gazette is designed to celebrate the lives and times of the people who live and own property in what many people consider one of the most beautiful and unique areas along the Eastern Seaboard.”

Upon announcing the sale, Forney said the goal was simple when the paper was founded – to produce the finest newspaper possible to serve the community dubbed Delaware's Cape Region.

“We knew this was a unique and dynamic community in so many ways that deserved a first-class, locally owned and operated newspaper. With the help of all the many people whom we have been privileged to work with through our 27 and a half years of ownership, we feel we have accomplished that goal,” said Forney.

Forney and Vernon, for portions under her maiden name Hogenmiller, had been covering the Cape Region for years prior to beginning the Gazette. Both were working at the Daily Whale immediately prior to founding the Gazette.

The first edition of the mid-week paper was published June 8, 2004, a little more than a decade after it was founded and six months after celebrating the ribbon cutting of its current home in Nassau Commons.

Since announcing Rausch as co-publisher in early 2019, Forney’s physical presence at the office has been dwindling. Vernon, on the other hand, continued strong in her corner office until a recent fall left her with a fractured pelvis and shoulder, and unable to work.

Vernon said she always told people who asked that she would know when it was time for her to retire. The recent fall, with the looming sale, was a sign, she said.

“I had been telling those who asked that the younger generation deserves to take the reins,” said Vernon. “As I suspected, they haven’t skipped a beat since my untimely absence, proving what I knew all along – it’s time to step aside and let them continue to provide the Cape Region with the high-quality newspaper it deserves and has come to expect. I bid a reluctant, but timely adieu to the loyal Cape Gazette community.”

Having accomplished their first goal – the creation and continued operation of a first-class newspaper – Vernon and Forney recently set their eyes on a second – keeping the company locally owned and operated. The sale to Rausch accomplishes that goal, said Forney.

"We are grateful beyond words for the acceptance and support of the community through all the years, and wish Chris and the entire Cape Gazette team continued success long into the future,” said Forney.

Rausch, a Delaware native who began working locally in 1998, has been with the company since February 2003.

Rausch said he’s excited the legacy of the Gazette as a locally owned and operated community newspaper will remain intact and dedicated to covering the Cape Region. With strong local partnerships, a dedicated staff and a devoted readership, the Gazette will carry on as a distinguished model of local journalism, he said.

“In my almost 19 years with the company, it's been amazing to watch our readership and reach continue to grow in both the print and digital space,” said Rausch. “It shows the residents of the Cape Region understand the importance of local coverage, accountability and the benefit of the information provided by the Cape Gazette week in and week out.”

The Cape Gazette’s office is located at 17585 Nassau Commons Blvd. The phone number is 302-645-7700. Business hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For subscription information, go to

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