The Valley Gazette receives prestigious award

PEMBROKE – The Valley Gazette received the 2011 New Business of the Year Award at the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards Gala held on January 28. Pictured, left to right, Gregory Zawidzki, Production Manager, Christine Hudder, Staff Reporter, Michel Lavigne, Publisher/Owner of The Valley Gazette, and Barbara Caron.

Special to the Gazette

PEMBROKE – The Valley Gazette took home some hardware at the Chamber of Commerce Upper Ottawa Valley Business Achievement Awards 2011.

The event took place at the Germania Hall in Pembroke on the evening of January 28 with approximately 300 people in attendance.

The evening of the annual gala began with cocktails followed by the presentation of plaques to the top three finalists in all of the categories. Then everyone sat down to a four-course meal catered by Ullrich’s on Main of Pembroke.

Emcees for the evening included Karen Davies, Dean of Algonquin College and Jon Pole, President of MyFM Radio. TVCogeco was also on hand to tape the awards and this one-hour show initially aired on January 30 at 7 p.m. and will be repeated on February 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. on Cable Channel 12, Pembroke.

Two area businesses were among the top three finalists in the New Business of the Year category and this award was sponsored by the Pembroke Heritage Manor. They were The Valley Gazette and Jessica Sernoskie Fitness. The third finalist in that category was Choice Contracting of Eganville.

The Gazette received the New Business of the Year Award for 2011.

“It takes strong entrepreneurial skills and a good dose of courage to take a dream and turn it into reality, but Michel Lavigne, owner and publisher of The Gazette in Barry’s Bay has proven to have what it takes,” Karen Davies said.

“In just under two years, Mr. Lavigne and his staff of seven have built a weekly newspaper that has garnered the attention of the community; both readers and advertisers. Media, and the newspaper industry in particular, has struggled to find its place in the world of instant as-it-happens breaking news, however three people led by Mr. Lavigne believed there was still a place for a quality community publication that covered local sports, news, and features – stories that matter. The Gazette, in 18 months, has gained the trust and support of the community and its future looks good,” she concluded.

Other winners of the night included Ben Rutz Entertainment (Young Entrepreneur of the Year,) Harding’s Pharmacy (Small Business of the Year,) NRTC Communications (Medium Business of the Year,) Allen Vanguard (Large Business of the Year,) Barclay Dick & Son Farm Supply (Farm Enterprise of the Year,) The Alexandra Club Auxiliary to Community Health Care (Community Organization of the Year,) Terry Waito Homes (2011 Feature Award – Skilled Trades Employer,) Shelly Rolland-Poruks (Citizen of the Year,) and Evelyn Culligan (Chamber Member of the Year Award.)

This story continues in the February 2, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.