San Diego The plan by David Copley, who turned 55 last week, to sell off Copley-owned Midwest papers continues to stir controversy. In Peoria, the Copley-owned Journal Star reported on its business page about a big meeting at city hall called by "elected leaders and members of the Peoria arts community" to "emphasize the importance of maintaining an independent newspaper in central Illinois." Sponsored by the Peoria Newspaper Guild, the event featured GOP state representative Dave Leitch, an ex-JS reporter, and Mayor Jim Ardis. Meanwhile, Copley senior V.P. Hal Fuson told Editor & Publisher that the company hoped to unload the papers "within a very few months." He added: "Ownership is important, but the demands of those communities are ultimately what really matter. And these are all good communities and will require that the new owners serve their needs."