The Kenosha Division of United Communications Corp. announced Thursday afternoon that it has ceased local operations at the Zion-Benton (Ill.) News.

The free weekly publication employed seven people and served Winthrop Harbor, Zion, North Waukegan, Beach Park and Wadsworth.

"We want to publicly thank our Zion-Benton News employees for their dedication, hard work and our readers for their past and future patronage," publisher Randy Rickman said. "This step, while extremely difficult, will allow us to make needed investments in other areas of our business."

Rickman announced that the publication will be converted to the Zion-Benton Express beginning Oct. 4.

The Express will continue to bring the weekly advertising supplements along with display and classified advertising in a hand-delivered product.

"Nothing is changing with our weekly distribution or advertising content," Rickman said.