Source: The Messenger Less than seven weeks after Eagle Publications and the Twin State Valley Media Network of Claremont, NH announced they were bankrupt – instantly closing the doors of the Eagle Times daily and the weekly Message for the Week, The Connecticut Valley Spectator and The Weekly Flea – most of the staff of The Message are now involved with a new paper, The Messenger.The Messenger s 32-page first issue hit the streets on Tuesday, August 25.Co-edited by Robert Smith and Joe Milliken, the former co-editors of The Message for the Week, The Messenger is published by New Market Press of Middlebury, VT. It will be distributed every Wednesday, with a direct mailing of over 20,000 copies to the paper s core towns, including Ludlow, Londonderry, Chester, Springfield, Rockingham and Westminster. Another 5,000-plus copies will be dropped at key distribution centers in Walpole, Charlestown and Claremont in New Hampshire, and from Brattleboro north and west as far as Rutland in Vermont, making it Southern Vermont s largest weekly.The Messenger is a positive news and lifestyle paper, Smith said, with an emphasis on local community events, local sports, arts, entertainment and food. It will have a towns-style format, along with the local Joe Milliken’s local Sports pages, and A&E, Food and Home & Garden sections each week.In addition to Smith and Milliken, also working for The Messenger are several other former Message and Eagle Times employees, including Frank Amato, Deb Collier and Rick Martin in sales, office person Pam Crowley, and graphic designer Adrian Newkirk. In time, Smith said, as the paper grows, it is hoped even more former employees will be back. When we got the sudden announcement that our paper was closing on July 9, Smith said, As a staff we agreed to stay in touch and see if we could find some interest in creating a new paper to take The Message s place. While daily papers are struggling, we knew that The Message had been holding its own, and it had a lot of loyal readers and advertisers.Smith said he was surprised at the amount of interest that surfaced immediately in creating a new paper for the Southern Vermont region, including several from successful newspaper publishers throughout the Northeast. After what happened with Eagle Publications, we were cautious, Smith said. We wanted to make sure we were working with someone who knew how to put out a profitable weekly paper. Frank Amato got in contact with New Market and arranged for the staff to meet with them. We were impressed with them, and they liked the fact that they had a full, experienced staff to work with.Smith said things proceeded rapidly from that first meeting, and especially after the staff got together and agreed to work with New Market to create a brand new paper. Finding office space became critical. We would never have pulled this off without the staff here really taking charge and making it work, especially Frank Amato. Smith said. I think between Frank and I, we must have looked at 30 potential office sites from Ludlow to Rockingham. But less than four weeks later, we moved into our new offices on The Square in Bellows Falls. And it was a day less than five weeks from that first meeting Frank arranged til when our first issue hit the streets.