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 eventually found himself in Barry’s Bay, where he held various jobs throughout the years. With a strong sales background, he decided to start up a weekly community newspaper for the Madawaska Valley in 2010, reflecting his strong support for the township and its neighbours. A boat and car enthusiast, Michel enjoys spending time with his wife Cathy. The two also run the store Valley Living, a home décor store located next to The Valley Gazette.
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. She is now the newspaper’s Managing Editor. Christine was the recipient of the Best Feature/News Series from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Awards. In her spare time, Christine enjoys photography, writing, reading and travelling with her husband Benton Hudder and son Corbyn Hudder.
Rachel Etmanskie has proud roots in the Valley. Born at St. Francis Memorial Hospital and growing up in Wilno, Rachel studied graphic design at St. Lawrence College. She has 20-plus years experience in the newspaper industry, having worked for the former Barry’s Bay This Week and the Bancroft Times. She loves a challenge and welcomes new ideas, especially when it comes to special projects. Rachel has taken home several awards for design layout and advertisement designs from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA). With an eye for detail, Rachel works with local businesses from around the Valley to design truly unique, eye-catching advertisements. In her spare time, you can find Rachel catching up with friends, cooking and golfing.
Mark Jones was born in England and is one of seven children born to military parents. His first contact with newspapers was delivering 11 different daily newspapers to around 50 homes. He was fascinated with the variety of stories that appeared on the front page of the newspapers any given day. Over the years, he has held a variety of position in many countries and industries. This includes picking potatoes, shovelling sugar beet, clerical work in a government office, stocking shelves in a supermarket, serving beer in a pub, grilling burgers in a restaurant, creating advertising for clients, teaching students at a university and instructing whitewater kayakers. He lives in Eganville with his wife Eileen Jones Whyte. The couple have two children, Naomi and Ramsay Jones.
Jen 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. She decided to stay in her hometown, and enrolled in Brock University, majoring in applied linguistics. Jen then enrolled in a Masters of Theology program at Wilford Laurier University where she met her husband. In 1997, the pair married and moved to Toronto, where Jen used her skills working at Rogers Communications. Two years before moving to the area, Jen and her husband decided they wanted to escape the city and raise a family in a small town. Jen, Dez, Tori and Anna now live in Schutt.
Dan Conway was born and raised in Barry’s Bay and lived here until he moved to Ottawa in 1979 and has worked for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, until he retired after 34 years with the company. He is a sports junkie, having played hockey, baseball, football, broomball and fastball in his younger days. Now he enjoys playing golf and watching sports on TV. He has been with The Valley Gazette since the beginning, doing his Armchair Athlete column, the Athlete Profile of the Week, the hockey pool and covering hockey games. He is married to Toni, has two daughters, Leslie and Allie, and a granddaughter named Ava.
Amy Desrochers joined The Valley Gazette team in February 2015. She graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Ottawa and later studied Publishing at Ryerson University. Previous to her time with the paper, she worked in the academic and magazine publishing industries in both Toronto and Ottawa, as well as in the graphic and web design industry in Ottawa. Amy is originally from the area and, after many years away, has returned to be closer to friends and family. She and her son enjoy the slower pace of country living and being part of such a wonderful community.
Helen Trader was born on a farm near the Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Course. Later, the family moved and she grew up in nearby Killaloe. Afterwards, she attended Sir Sanford Flemming (now known as Fleming College) in Peterborough. After deciding family life was calling her, she changed her plans and left school with a business administration certificate. Helen married Gerard and the couple have four children together: Peter, Amanda, Melissa and James. She worked alongside her husband at his small business, Gerard Trader Custom Wood Products. She has also worked at Murray Brothers as an office clerk and then after raising her children, she took up various positions at other local businesses. In her spare time, Helen is an avid gardener, and enjoys spending time with her family.