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Sahtu newspaper ready to close

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Norman Wells (Sep 09/02) - The Sahtu region could lose an important voice if volunteers cannot be found to keep the presses rolling at the Mackenzie Valley Viewer.

The newspaper, based out of Norman Wells, on Thursday released what may be its last issue. Editor Ann Marie Tout said unless new blood is injected into the volunteer run newspaper, it will likely close for good.

Tout is stepping down as editor to concentrate on her job as manager of Enbridge Pipelines Inc. A public meeting is set for Sept. 19 in hopes of enticing someone else to take on the job, as well as the tasks of others who will no longer be contributing to the newspaper.

"We're going to have a public meeting Sept. 19, just kind of a last stab at getting people to come forward," said Tout.

Tout has been editor of the Viewer for over 10 years.

"We're just spreading the word. We're victims of our own success," said Tout. "It's just become so big that it's become difficult to do on a volunteer basis."

The September issue marks the Mackenzie Valley Viewer's 20th anniversary.

Besides providing local news coverage, the newspaper provided Sahtu readers with page after page of stories, local legends, recipes, advice columns and games for the kids.

It was also free of charge.

Cece Hodgson-McCauley, a contributing columnist since 1999, said she intends to do her part in the ongoing recruiting drive for more volunteers.

She also recommends charging a cover price so the newspaper can pay people to work for it.

"We just have to pull up our socks and do something because I like that paper," said Hodgson-McCauley.