The Message for the Week in Chester, Vermont, stops publishing
All employees at Twin State Valley Media Network, which includes the daily Eagle Times in Claremont, NH, the weeklies The Message for the Week out of Chester, Vermont, the Connecticut Valley Spectator out of Lebanon, NH, and The Weekly Flea, received an email Thursday, July 9 at 3:32 p.m. telling them that when the doors closed at 5, everyone was to leave their keys, take their stuff, and they were all laid off.
Owner Harvey Hill took his media network into Bankruptcy Court on Friday morning, the day the last issue of the Eagle Times was published. The employees will get next week's paycheck, all accrued vacation time, and health insurance through the end of the month.
Hill said he was just sinking tons of cash into the business - $150,000 a month at times, just to keep it afloat. He said that, if he knew things would start breaking even in a year, he would still have to put $1.5 million in out of his pocket just to get to that point. He just wasn't going to do that.
The Message was doing okay, and getting better. Alone it might have weathered this storm. Tethered to the Eagle and Hill's other papers, it was a losing battle.
So, it's unemployment for a while, and I won't mind that for a month or two for sure! I've been working my ass off for Harvey - 7 days a week many times. We were really ramping up The Message content - double and triple the amount of in-house features in every issue.
Robert Smith is co-editor of The Message and freelance writer/photographer for Vermont Business Magazine.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Vermont Business Magazine began as an insert in the daily Springfield Times-Reporter in 1972 before being spun off into a stand-alone publication and eventually sold. The Springfield and Claremont dailies were eventually combined into the one Eagle Times.
Rutland Herald - Susan Smallheer