As Idaho has entered its fourth and final stage of reopening amidst the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the Independent-Enterprise, which has been produced behind shuttered doors since mid-March due to the pandemic, will not be reopening. This week, we put our second-to-last edition of the Independent-Enterprise to bed, with our final edition slated for June 24.

A letter to subscribers explaining the details of the closure, including how subscriptions will be handled, was mailed this week. 

As the pandemic has changed the way we live, work and play, the impact to businesses — especially small businesses — has been enormous. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Coronavirus Impact Poll in early May, one in five small businesses reported being only two months or less away from permanent closures.

Across the United States, the economic turndown has been too much to endure — even for many newspapers, whose many advertisers were facing their own financial hardships. Unfortunately, the toll now includes the Independent-Enterprise, in which journalists have been helping to write the first draft of history for Payette County since the early 1890s.

But this announcement is not all bad news: I am pleased to announce that the paper’s closure does not mean that the Payette County news that you have come to rely on will be going away. Rather, it will be absorbed into dedicated pages each day and the website of our sister publication, The Argus Observer starting July 1. Additionally, all of the Idaho classified ads and legal notifications will now be found on our Idaho-specific pages in the Argus four days a week. 

Due to our relationship with the Argus, news from Payette County has always been included in the Argus’ coverage of the Western Treasure Valley, which also encompasses Weiser and Malheur County. The Argus looks forward to continuing that coverage to ensure the Payette community still gets the important information they need. 

This is not the first closure of a community newspaper that I have personally experienced, having been an employee of the Wood River Journal, a weekly newspaper, in Hailey, Idaho, when it shut its doors in 2008, after 128 years of printing. 

I’d like to share with you something I wrote then, which absolutely applies to my time as an editor here.

“I can recall years worth of fleeting moments — endlessly stitched together in my memory like folding paper dolls. A forest of printed numbers and letters, stories and advertisements buttoned up neatly; weekly pearls — polished and honed and strung together in ritual harmony.

“Weaving the fabric of this exceptional community together with brilliant stories and images of people and places eventually became more than just an occupation — it sculpted me, enriched and inspired me.”

Indeed, I have been enriched and inspired by Payette County and its residents.

Thank you, for all who have supported the Independent-Enterprise throughout the years. We look forward to your continued support for generations to come as we draft the next chapters of history for Payette County in The Argus Observer.

Leslie Thompson is the editor at the Independent-Enterprise and The Argus Observer. She can be reached at (541) 823-4818 or by emailing lesliet@argusobserver.com. To comment on this story, go to www.argusobserver.com.

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