The first issue of the Heath Herald was published in April 1979. It had six pages and cost 25 cents. Harriet Read's lead article, titled "HEATH'S FIRST NEWSPAPER!",  said it would cover "topics of local interest" and be "written by and for the people of Heath."

Heath Herald Front Page, Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 1

Annual Town Meeting was just around the corner and there was a full page devoted to a "HEATH 4-YEAR FINANCIAL ANALYSIS" prepared by Assessor Richards Steinbock: the Town budget had increased from $312,260 in 1976 to $433,378 in 1979, while net State Aid decreased from $72,350 in 1976 to $57,969 in 1979, resulting in a steep rise in the local tax rate ("a whopping 30% increase"). Sharp hikes in the tax rate stirred the townspeople into action as "An estimated 50-60 persons turned out despite the torrential rains and ankle-deep mud" to attend a special meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 1979. The Herald reported "Many felt that the State is the real villain and that home rule is practically dead in Massachusetts."

Candidate Profiles of four people running for Heath elected offices were printed, including one for a newcomer to Heath town goverment named David F. Howland who was running for a three year seat on the Finance Committee. This turned out to be the first of many Heath board/committee seats he would occupy in his long years of service to the town of Heath.

The staff of the first issue included two people who still live in town today:  Pegge Howland and Alli Thane.

Heath Herald Masthead, Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 2

Five ads appeared in the CLASSIFIEDS in Vol. 1, No. 1 on page 6. One of the advertisers is still in business today* and advertises in the Heath Herald. Who is it? The ad in Vol. 1, No. 2, June 1979 read
The Only Store in Heath
Of course it is the one and only PETER'S GENERAL STORE, owned and operated by Cleon and Theresa Peters in 1979, now owned and operated by Debbie and Paul Plante.  [* Update 10/9/2012 - The store closed after 100 years of business on September 30, 2012. See the October/November 2012 issue of the Heath Herald for more information.]

Subscriptions were available in 1979 for a very reasonable cost of $2.50 for six issues.

Heath Herald Subscription Form, Vol. 1, No. 1, Page 6

"Let's make it a go" urged Harriet Read in Vol. 1, No. 1, and the volunteer staff, with the support of the Heath community, certainly has done that successfully. Since the first newspaper in 1979 the Heath Herald has published 6 issues a year for 34 years and is still going strong. The cover price has increased to $1.50 and an annual subscription for six issues is $8.00, but the Heath Herald continues to fulfill its original mission of chronicling the events and lives of Heath and Heathans. Indeed, why not subscribe?