By Miriam Raftery
September 22, 2021 (Julian) – Michael Jon Hart, long-time publisher of the Julian News and past president of the San Diego County Umpires Association, died September 14 after battling brain and lung cancer. His wife, Michelle Harvey, confirmed Hart’s passing on her Facebook page.
“Mike and I have so many friends,” Harvey posted. “I am glad that we spent our lives working to help others.”
The newspaper has been for sale for months; Hart’s death leaves the future of Julian’s newspaper in limbo. A newspaper listing in July asked $300,000 for the publication, which was described as “highly profitable” despite pandemic lockdowns.
Hart and Harvey acquired the independent weekly newspaper on July 4, 2004; the paper has been the voice of Julian, CA since 1984. It’s been a labor of love for Hart, who covered major news stories ranging from the 2007 Witch Creek Fire that ravaged the region to controversies involved the county’s acquisition of Julian’s formerly all-volunteer fire department. Hart sometimes took heat for his coverage but took pride in covering all sides of community issues, according to Harvey.