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Toppenish newspaper publishes final issue

Publication shuts down after 113 years

— The last newspaper exclusively serving the mid-valley area from Zillah to Wapato has closed its doors.

The final edition of the Review Independent was published Nov. 30 after Publisher Bruce Smith had offered to sell the newspaper for $1 without any takers.

The newspaper got its start in 1904 as the Toppenish Review. A few year’s later, the Wapato Independent and the Zillah Mirror newspapers opened.

The newspapers grew with the communities for decades.

But by 1999, they were in financial trouble — the Zillah Mirror had closed and the Toppenish Review and Wapato Independent merged.

In 2006, the Review Independent was sold to Mike Lindsey, Smith said in a front page story Nov. 30 covering his paper’s demise.

At that time, Lindsey also added the Spanish-language publication, Viva, and the monthly Yakima Valley Business Journal as well as the Penny Press shopper.

Lindsey invested in the publications, improved the look and quality of the writing, Smith said.

But the changes didn’t produce more revenue and the changes caused “the company to bleed cash,” Smith said, noting Viva and the Penny Press were closed.

Amid the changes, The Business Journal, however, has held strong and will remain in publication, Smith said.

The closure of the newspaper has created a hole for news coverage and advertising in the area.

As a result, the cities of Toppenish and Zillah have opened the bid process for a new newspaper of record — the only newspapers that can serve the communities are The Daily Sun and the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Daily Sun Publisher Roger Harnack has said he’s looking at way to expand his publication into those communities, and possibly bring more jobs and opportunities to the Sunnyside newspaper and business community.

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