On Halloween, Lois E. Johnson headed to her job as the editor of weekly Arrowhead Leader, the Moose Lake newspaper she's worked at for 22 years. She was excited to pick up her copy by the door and see her feature story she particularly liked about a couple of deer hunting partners, one a Vietnam veteran and the other a 87-year-old who'd fought in World War II.
But there were no newspapers there and publsher Denise Blake broke the news: After 30 years, with printing costs rising and revenues dropping, the Arrowhead Leader was dead. The last issue ran Oct. 25 and Blake pulled the plug on Monday, Oct. 29. She'd been publisher since January and calls to her home went unanswered.
"It's kind of sad," said Johnson, 68. "We were the upstart paper in town but it got the the point where they just couldn't make it anymore."
Johnson said the paper at one time employed as many as seven people, but she was the only full-time employee at the end, although the paper used a part-time sports writer and freelance photographer. The Leader's circulation stood at about 1,000 readers.
Moose Lake still has a weekly newspaper, the Star Gazette/Evergreen Shopper has been around far longer than the Arrowhead Leader, which started in 1982 under the leadership of a fired Gazette editor. Johnson quickly signed on with the Gazette a few days after learning her paper had died. But Blake declined to return her feature on the hunters, arguing she owned it. She's still trying to get that rewritten story published.