2011 Business of The Year Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce
2011 OCNA Best Vertical Product
Ontario Community Newspaper Association Awards
<none> The Valley Gazette
On May 20, 2010, The Valley Gazette started out as a new kid on the block.
On that date, the very first issue of the paper hit newsstands in stores in Whitney, Pembroke, Barry's Bay, Bancroft, and various other surrounding communities.
Publisher and Founder Michel Lavigne initiated the business to reflect his passion for the Madawaska Valley Township and its neighbours.
It started out as a bi-weekly paper, covering everything from breaking news to in-depth features on influential community members. Subscriptions officially became available in the summer of 2010 and on February 3, 2011, The Valley Gazette began publishing as a weekly community newspaper.
From the first issue until present, the paper has been independently-owned. What started out as a solid team of three full-time employees has blossomed into a team consisting of several part-time and freelance reporters, columnists, sales people and other staff.
The team at The Valley Gazette knows what makes the Valley tick, mainly because many of the staff were born and raised in the area. They take pride in producing a quality newspaper and make sure that the community is up-to-date on all the latest happenings.
2012 was a very important year for the Gazette. In January, the newspaper won the prestigious New Business of the Year Award from the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce. This award recognizes the hard work and successes of the Ottawa Valley’s up and coming businesses.
Lavigne Media, which publishes the Gazette, also publishes a variety of tour guides during the year. Merely weeks after the paper received its very first award, the Madawaska Valley Tour Guide: Picture the Memories, was nominated for an Ontario Community Newspaper Association award.
The guide managed to win first place, beating out countless other publications all across the province.
In the summer of 2012, the paper made a transition that would cement its presence in the community. After operating inside a small, one bedroom home on the corner of Sandhill Drive for two years, and with a growing readership, the paper was bursting at its seams.
When the Sears outlet switched locations, it provided a prime location for The Valley Gazette. In July, the paper relocated to downtown Barry’s Bay at 19574 Opeongo Line. The new building now provides a more convenient area for readers to drop off classifieds, submit story ideas, and purchase advertisements.
The newspaper’s website, www.thevalleygazette.ca, also got a major facelift in May 2012. The website not only showcases late-breaking stories, but features videos from the events our reporters cover and live feeds from our social media sites.
The paper is printed by McLaren Press Graphics in Bracebridge, Ontario. Despite its infancy, The Valley Gazette strives to offer a locally-owned, community newspaper to its residents and visitors.
Since the community is truly the heart of any local newspaper, The Valley Gazette welcomes news and sports tips, as well as any suggestions from the public. Drop into the office during regular business hours, or call 613-756-0256.
<none> Michel Lavigne
Michel Lavigne is the Publisher and founder of The Valley Gazette. He was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario. His first stint in the newspaper industry was 40 years ago, when he delivered "The Nugget" newspaper to households all over the city. Michel came to Barry's Bay 13 years ago for a change of pace, and he held various jobs throughout the years. In 2010, however, he decided to start up a weekly community newspaper for the Madawaska Valley, reflecting his strong support for the Township and its neighbours. His hobbies include golfing, woodworking and fishing.
<none> Debbie Robbins
Debbie Robbins has 17 years experience in the newspaper business, Debbie is coming to The Gazette with experience in working with a team dedicated to informing the community.
“I am looking forward to working with this talented team,” she said. “They have delivered a quality newspaper to our community for the last 32 months.”
Robbins has lived in the area for over 25 years, so she knows the community and the people well.
Her husband Mark Robbins is a music teacher at Madawaska Valley District High School (MVDHS).
The two have been married for 33 years, and have a daughter who also attends MVDHS.
Miranda Robbins is currently enrolled in Grade 10 at the high-school, and has proven her talent through her performances at the Christmas concerts hosted by MVDHS.
Robbins also has several additions to her family, such as her dog Woody, her cat Tigger, and a horse, Mirabelle.
With the ability to sell, design, manage, organize and report, The Valley Gazette is enthusiastic in sharing the many talents Robbins possesses, and welcomes her with open arms.
“I have had the privledge of working with Mrs. Robbins in the past and I firmly believe that she will be an asset to our business,” Publisher Michel Lavigne added.
<none> Christine Hudder
Christine Hudder was born at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and raised in Barry's Bay where she attended Sherwood Public School and later Madawaska Valley District High School. After graduating from Canadore College's three-year journalism program in 2009, she headed out west for a reporting position at a radio station and online newspaper. Wanting to return to her roots, Christine came back to the area to work at the Valley Gazette as a reporter in May 2010. In her spare time, Christine enjoys photography, writing, reading and travelling with her husband Benton Hudder.
<none> Sarah Lehovitch
Sarah Lehovitch initially joined our team as the accounting clerk/receptionist with the Gazette on June 16, 2011.
Beginning January 28, 2013, Sarah decided to give up that position and is now a member of our dynamic sales team.
Lehovitch was born to parents Sue and Tom Sheridan, and grew up with two sisters and one brother. She attended St. Andrew’s Catholic School, and later on went off to Madawaska Valley District High School.
Upon graduation, Lehovitch attended Algonquin College in Pembroke, and obtained her certificate as a Social Service Worker. She worked around the Valley, but decided to move out west with her husband to Canmore, Alberta.
The couple resided there for three years, and even had their first-born boy, A.J. in Canmore. Soon after, they decided to return back to Ontario and came back to the Valley in May, 2009.
Sarah now holds a variety of responsibilities, including answering phones, selling subscriptions and taking classifieds. She said her favourite part of the job is meeting new people on a day-to-day basis.
<none> Jennifer Juhasz
Schutt resident Jennifer Juhasz was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. When she was six-years-old, she moved with her family to her parent’s home province of Ontario and settled in Niagara Falls.
When it came time to leave for school, Juhasz decided to stay in her hometown, and enrolled in Brock University, majoring in applied linguistics.
After graduation, she enrolled in a Masters of Theology program at Wilford Laurier University. In 1997, the pair got married and moved to Toronto, where Juhasz used her skills working at Rogers Communications.
Two years before moving to the area, Juhasz and her husband decided they wanted to escape the city and raise a family in a small town. They searched for homes all across the province, and eventually found a perfect log house in Schutt. Juhasz became a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters, Anna and Tori, while her husband continued working installing air control systems.
Over the years, Juhasz got actively involved with the Palmer Rapids Public School Council and the Schutt United Church. While she has no formal journalism training, she is eager to represent the Palmer Rapids area of the County.
<none> Sarah Hyatt
Hello out there to everyone in Barry’s Bay and our surrounding areas. I wanted to take this time to say hello and introduce myself.
My name is Sarah Hyatt and I will be filling in for Christine Hudder for the next few months reporting for The Valley Gazette.
To tell you a little about myself, I’m a journalism-print graduate from Oshawa’s Durham College. In the past year I’ve been working for several community newspapers, alike The Valley Gazette, such as Northumberland News and The Brighton Independent. I’ve also done some work in the Greater Toronto Area, with publications such as Oshawa This Week as well as MSN Canada.
But to be honest at heart I’ve always been a small town girl, born and raised.
I love the arts, photography and of course, storytelling. But what really gets me excited is digging up the stories that truly matter to people and communities. I became a reporter to give people and communities a voice – to ensure the stories that need to be told, are told.
With this being said, I’m hoping I can do just that during my stay with The Valley Gazette.
I can’t wait to hear all about my new home and I’m eager to learn all there is to learn here.
So, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 613-756-0256, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, in regards to any concerns or ideas you might have. Barry’s Bay deserves a great reporter and I’m eager to earn that title.
I look forward to hearing from everyone.
<none> 2011 Business of The Year Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Valley Gazette was honoured in February 2012 by the Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce. Publisher, Michel Lavigne and staff attended the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards Gala on January 28, 2012 and took home 2011 Business of the Year award. It is the first of what is expected to be many great achievements for The Valley Gazette.
<none> 2011 OCNA Best Vertical Product
Ontario Community Newspaper Association Awards
The Valley Gazette received the 2011 Best Vertical Product award from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association. Both Publisher, Michel Lavigne and Production Manager, Gregory Zawidzki attended the awards gala at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto. The award is in recognition for the Madawaska Valley and Neighbours Tour Guide that Lavigne Media releases every year.