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After 113 years, The Valley Independent prints final edition

| Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, 10:27 a.m.
The first edition of The Valley Independent was published on Monday, Sept. 1, 1960, at the company’s headquarters on 
Sixth Street in Monessen. An alternate Page One was printed for readers in the Charleroi-Donora-Washington County area.
The first edition of The Valley Independent was published on Monday, Sept. 1, 1960, at the company’s headquarters on Sixth Street in Monessen. An alternate Page One was printed for readers in the Charleroi-Donora-Washington County area.
Reminiscing at a retirement party for sports editor Brian Herman on Saturday, April 29, 2011, at Pricedale Union Church are longtime Valley Independent colleagues (left to right) Emma Jene Lelik, reporter and society editor; Ron Paglia, sports editor and city editor; Herman, and Ruth Yatsko, reporter and copy editor. The quartet compiled an aggregate mark of over 150 years of service with the newspaper.
Jim Ference/Trib Total Media
Reminiscing at a retirement party for sports editor Brian Herman on Saturday, April 29, 2011, at Pricedale Union Church are longtime Valley Independent colleagues (left to right) Emma Jene Lelik, reporter and society editor; Ron Paglia, sports editor and city editor; Herman, and Ruth Yatsko, reporter and copy editor. The quartet compiled an aggregate mark of over 150 years of service with the newspaper.
Myron Pottios of Charleroi acknowledges the crowd as he is introduced with the Steelers Legends team during halftime of the Steelers-Bills game Sept. 16, 2007, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner
Myron Pottios of Charleroi acknowledges the crowd as he is introduced with the Steelers Legends team during halftime of the Steelers-Bills game Sept. 16, 2007, at Heinz Field.

Fifty-six years is a long time for anything.

The newspaper you are reading right now won't make it.

The Valley Independent, which made its debut under that masthead on Sept. 1, 1960, will close its doors at Eastgate 19, Monessen, after the Thursday, Dec. 31 edition is published.

“We have been engaged in talks with potential buyers for both of these properties since August,” said Jennifer L Bertetto, president and chief executive officer of Trib Total Media, in an email to employees.

“We have exhausted all of our options and sadly, nothing has come to fruition. So today, it is with a heavy heart that I announced the closure of The Daily News and The Valley Independent. December 31, 2015 will be the final edition of these two publications.”

The sad ending to The Valley Independent began earlier this year when Trib Total Media placed four of its daily newspapers up for sale.

In addition to The Valley Independent, the others were the Connellsville Daily Courier, the Kittanning Leader Times and The McKeesport Daily News.

Also placed on the block as part of Trib Total Media's restructuring were The Blairsville Dispatch, a weekly, and its Laurel Group of community weeklies that includes The Times-Sun of West Newton.

All but The Valley Independent and The Daily News were sold in September to West Penn Media.

Trib Total Media announced Nov. 10 that The Valley Independent and The Daily News would stop publishing Dec. 31 if they were not sold by then.

A local group of businessmen known as the Mid-Mon Valley Publishing Company entered negotiations with Trib Total Media to purchase The Valley Independent, but those talks were not successful.

The Valley Independent traces its genesis to the turn of the last century with the advent of its predecessor publications, The Monessen Daily Independent and The Charleroi Mail.

The first newspaper in the city was a weekly, The Monessen News, published by Charles E. Federman on June 30, 1899.

Later there was the Friday Evening Call, which ultimately merged with The News to become the News-Call, of which the late C. L. Schuck was editor and publisher for many years.

In 1948 a morning daily, The Morning News, was started by a syndicate which included several political figures. It was printed in tabloid form and suspended after a only a few months.

Monessen's first daily was The Independent, initially issued on June 28, 1902.

The late Harry R. Pore Sr. was a contributor and became sole owner a few months later.

In 1904, The Independent acquired The Monessen Leader, a short-lived weekly.

In 1945, four years before his death, Pore transferred ownership of The Daily Independent to his sons, Harry R. Pore Jr. and William H. Pore.

The senior Pore remained as editor until his death.

In 1958, The Independent opened an office in Donora and began circulating in Washington County extensively for the first time.

In I960, the Pore brothers purchased The Charleroi Mail, and on Sept. 1 of that year, The Valley Independent made its debut.

The new publication maintained offices in Charleroi and Donora in addition to its main facilities at 125 Sixth St. in Monessen for a few years. Eventually, all operations were moved to the Monessen facilities.

On Monday, Oct. 2, 1967 The Valley Independent published its first edition at its new plant at Eastgate 19, Monessen.

The paper was sold by the Pores in May 1969 to Thomson Newspapers.

The Tribune Review Publishing Company of Greensburg purchased the paper from Thomson on May 1, 1997.

The Valley Independent continued editorial, advertising, circulation and business operations today from the Eastgate plant and as part of the Trib Total Media group of newspapers until its closing.

Charleroi's first newspaper, The Charleroi Progress, began production sometime in 1890, but the founder is unknown.

That same year, J. M. Long started The Press and Valley Item.

It was about 1900 when E.C. Niver initiated The Charleroi Mirror, and in 1909, W. H. Cramer published The Daily Mail.

Soon after The Mail appeared, the two papers were combined under the editorship of Mr. Niver.

The Mail continued as a popular and successful six-day-a-week community paper until it was sold in 1960 by the Price family to the Pore brothers, Harry R. Pore Jr. and William H. Pore, owners of The Daily Independent in Monessen.

Negotiations by the Pores to acquire The Charleroi Mail and its parent company, The Mail Publishing Company, began not long after the death of longtime Mail president Harry Earl Price on Friday, June 5. 1959.

The Pore brothers finalized the transaction with Mr. Price's family in March 1960 and it included purchase of The Mail's offices and printing facilities at 404-406 Fallowfield Ave.

The Mail and The Independent evolved into The Valley Independent, which published under that banner for the first time on Sept. 1, 1960.

An effort by a group of Charleroi businessmen to purchase The Mail from the Price family and keep it in Charleroi failed.

The Fallowfield Avenue building was later sold and has housed numerous businesses and a district magisterial office on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.

On Monday, Oct. 2, 1967, The Valley Independent published its first edition at its new plant at Eastgate 19, Monessen.

Although it was known that the newspaper would be moving from its longtime home at 125 Sixth St. to the spacious and modern complex in the expanding Eastgate district of the city, official announcement came in a brief story on Page One on Friday, Sept. 29.

That notice said the offices on Sixth Street would close at 5 p.m. that day and would not be open to the public on Saturday. It also said the regular Saturday edition of the paper would be published as usual.

“All departments – news, advertising, circulation and the business office – will be in service at the new location beginning at 8 a.m. Monday,” the story said

“Until the Redevelopment Authority completes construction of Service Road in Eastgate, access to The Valley Independent will be made via Manown Street.”

“The shift (from Sixth Street to the Eastgate urban renewal area) was accomplished without missing an edition, and all departments were in service this morning at the new location,” the brief photo caption said.

The building at 125 Sixth St. in Monessen became home to The Monessen Daily Independent – and subsequently The Valley Independent – in 1907.

Prior to that, the newspaper, which was founded by Harry R. Pore Sr. in 1902, was located at sites at Fifth Street and Schoonmaker Avenue, Sixth Street and Schoonmaker Avenue, and 124 Sixth St., just across the street from the then-new structure that would be its home for the next 56 years.

The Valley Independent was created in 1960 when Pore's sons, Harry R. Pore Jr. and William Pore, purchased The Charleroi Mail.

The new Valley Independent also had offices In Donora and Charleroi before moving all operations to the 125 Sixth St. facilities.

In 1966, Harry and William Pore bought 1.47 acres of property in Eastgate from the Redevelopment Authority of Monessen for $65,000 to build a new plant and office complex.

The Pore brothers sold the building at Sixth Street in 1969 to Fred R. Clark, Joseph M. Dudas Jr. and Michael Jr. Skirpan Jr. for $43,000.

The Valley Independent building underwent numerous physical changes over the years, including dismantling and sale of the printing presses.

Many played roles in newspaper's legacy

The list of those who worked at The Valley Independent during its history of over 55 years includes but its not limited to the following:

Some of those mentioned also worked for The Independent's predecessor newspapers, The Charleroi Mail and The Monessen Daily Independent, and all played a role in the legacy of the newspaper as a valuable and viable community resource.

We apologize in advance for any inadvertent oversight of names.

• Harry R. Pore, Harry R. Pore J., William H. Pore, Harry R. Pore III, Fred Hevia, Larrry Doyle, Allen Kline, John R. Bunardzya, R. Mitchell Steen Jr., Lewis Jones, Clair N. Brown, Anna Chuberka, Kenneth Mahan, John Bennatti, Ruth Yatsko, Fred McCamic, Robert Wiper, John Hurrianko, James “Scoop” Altemare, Mike Fuoco, Helen Plavchak Fallon, Fritz Huysman, Mike Hasch and Larry Pansino.

• Also Joe Grata, Isabelle Hurley, Bernice Spencer, June Nicholls, Emma Jene Lelik, Jack Grochot, Teresa Sokol, Frank Jaworowski, Brian Herman, Bob Gardner, Harry Bradford, Elizabeth Horne, Dom Guzzi, Jack C.F. Kerr, Gerald Jackson, Paul Simoncelli, Donna Broggi, Margie Rowe, Jim Comstock, Alvin Frick, Tony Miralles, Sherman Koons, Marie Shipley, Anita Buckeye, Sharri Todd, Michelle Conte, Linda Schaum, Richard DeMarco, Pete Freado, Leslie Cline and Arthur Bandini.●

• Also, George Rowe, Bill Rowe, Ann Biondi, Mary Evans, Alvin Roberts, John Halstead, Debbie Foster, John Mollo, Dick Polen, Randy Jesick, Christopher Buckley, Karen Peters, Brenda Hughes, Terri Sichi, Heather Weightman, Carl Hill, Stacy Wolford, J. Knox Dye, Robert W. Conroy, Ralph Cooper, Ray Linders, John Hooper, Barbara Raitano, Robert Burke, Jeff Oliver, Joe Abramowitz, Rick Bruni Jr., Jeremy Sellew, Marie Shipley, Becky Crea, Bob Frye, Walter Rice, John Beres, John Crea, Angela Golomb, Ann Yocos, Kathy Gerda, Jenny Conroy, Donna Lange, Patty Parnell, Julie Matway, Lee Hewitt, Vi Minjock, Tony Hernandez, Bibiana Goetz.●

• Also, Andy Kossar, Eli Meyers, Elaine Ambrose Wapienik, Don Summers Sr., Don Summers Jr., Ann Hilinski, Rosemary Pezzelle, Jane Riva, Rosemarie Kerr, Jim Smith, Patty Smith, Felix Smith, Jeff Cyktor, Scott Vitale, Bill Hughes, Bill (Powerhouse) Hughes, Heather Hart, Wayne Stewart, Mark Kaboly, Grace Foertsch, Gloria Astle, Trudy Radus, Ruth Ames, Patty Frost, Ruth Bosson, Paul McKita, Jim Ference, Carlton Brown, Fran Pankiewicz, George Bougakis, Dave Ferguson, Audrey Ferguson, Joe Amon, Warren Park, Patty Chuberka, Scott Sawa, Melissa Stima, Audrey Ferguson, Con Moreschi, Marian Tabish, Linda Hutchison, Karen Strickland, Rita Masci, Robin Weiss, Marsha Miller, Regina Stefan, Ron Paglia.

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