Gary Omernick (left), the publisher of a 24,000-circulation Gannett-owned daily in Battle Creek, Michigan, is taking the helm at the 34,000-circulation Monterey Herald, replacing Jayne Speizer (right), who is stepping down for health reasons. A story in the Herald said Omernick began his career as a 20-year-old advertising salesman for his hometown paper in Manitowoc, Wis. He has been a publisher of five newspapers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas and South Dakota. The Monterey Herald was sold by the now defunct Knight Ridder to Hearst Corp. in August 2006. Dean Singleton’s MediaNews Group operates the paper and Omernick will report to George Riggs, publisher of the San Jose Mercury News and president of MediaNews Group’s California Newspaper Partnership.