Weekly newspapers fold in Grosse Ile, Romeo

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A publishing era came to an end this week in two Metro Detroit communities.

The weekly newspapers of Grosse Ile Township in Wayne County and the Macomb County village of Romeo have told readers they're closing after covering their communities for a combined 219 years.

Lena Khzouz, editor of the Grosse Ile paper, posted a Facebook message Wednesday about the publication's end: "Well....the last Ile Camera has been completed."

Both weekly newspapers ran farewell columns by their publishers on their web sites this week.

On Thursday, the Rev. Sean Ewbank, a regular contributor to the Ile Camera in Grosse Ile, posted his goodbye.

"This edition of The Ile Camera is the last one," he wrote. "This saddens me. Not because I won't be writing anymore — that might actually be a blessing; I'm not sure I was ever all that good at this.

"The end of The Ile Camera is a change that I grieve. ... Losing our own paper is not a change that I welcome."

Ewbank, pastor of St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Grosse Ile, wrote for the paper for more than five years.

Founded in 1945, the Ile Camera was one of the publications in Michigan owned by Denver-based Digital First Media, along with The News-Herald, the Royal Oak Daily Tribune, the Oakland Press and the Macomb Daily. The company also owns The Detroit News.

The print edition of the paper was available at newsstands on Fridays.

Jeanne Parent, publisher of Digital First's Michigan Group, was not available for comment Thursday.

On Wednesday, Romeo Observer Editor and Publisher Melvin Bleich bid readers adieu on behalf of the 149-year-old publication.

"I would like to thank the readers and advertisers for their loyalty over the years I have owned the Observer," he wrote. "It has been a pleasure to be a part of this outstanding community."

Bleich bought the paper in 1959 and celebrated its centennial seven years later. The paper covered Romeo and its neighboring communities, Washington, Bruce and Ray townships. It was available at newsstands on Wednesdays.

Bleich said his paper is the latest victim of the newspaper industry's decline, fueled primarily by the Internet. He said the 2008 recession also contributed to the publication's demise.

He said the Observer's sister publication, a free weekly newspaper called The Countryman, is also folding up shop.


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