Since 1893, there’s been a newspaper in Emmett to record the happenings of the local community. From births to deaths and events in between, the Emmett paper has taken note and written the community’s history. The Messenger Index celebrated that history in November with an open house marking the paper’s 120-year milestone.
From its earliest publication, the Emmett newspaper found a welcome place in local homes and businesses. By way of introduction, Emmett Index Publisher Eugene Lorton wrote, “To the people of Emmett and the public in general, the Emmett Index extends a cordial ‘howdy,’ and this morning starts out upon a career which it hopes will be fraught with success.”
It would be a lasting venture, but it wasn’t an overnight success. The Index struggled to get on its feet, and when its subscribers couldn’t afford to pay the yearly $2 rate, Lorton accepted eggs, fruit and firewood instead.
At one point there were two newspapers in circulation. But “Emmett is a one paper town,” and the brief life of the Emmett Examiner – from 1910 to 1925 – ended with those words in its final edition before being sold to the Index.
In 1933, that statement was challenged with the first publication of the Emmett Messenger. The two papers coexisted until 1957, when the Index sold to the Messenger. The Messenger Index debuted on July 4 of that year. With a combined subscriber base of about 3,000, the Messenger Index had the largest circulation of any weekly community newspaper in Idaho.
“Small community newspapers are well supported,” Messenger Index Managing Editor Diana Baird said from the Messenger Index office, where black ink still stains the walls of the back room where the presses once rolled. A sister paper to the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Messenger Index is now printed in Nampa.
The newspaper has embraced the global shift to online media as well, offering an online copy of the paper to each subscriber.
Baird attributes the MI’s sustained success to its identity as a hometown newspaper. It’s an identity that she’s invested countless hours into learning and archiving. “You have to know where you’re working so you understand the people in the community,” she said.
Baird has hundreds of computer files chronicling the community’s 150-year history and was the driving force behind the 2011 publication of Gem County, Idaho: Historic Moments, News & Photos. She has also created a living document, “The history of the news in Gem County.” She balances time spent on past events with current news and said the role of the paper is still much the same: “To find the things happening countywide that are significant.”
The Messenger Index is located at 120 N. Washington Ave. and is open 8-5, Monday-Friday. For more information or to subscribe, call (208) 365-6066.
Expect more. That’s the philosophy behind the recent redesign of Hen House Home & Gift. It’s also what’s driving owner Tamara Walker to expand her business offerings in downtown Emmett to include the recently opened sister store, The Barn Door, with plans for a third, more whimsical shop on Main Street to satisfy local demand for wedding décor and rentals.
“We want people to expect more. We have what’s not already available in Emmett and we’re bringing people back to downtown to shop. There are great shops and something for everybody here,” she said.
Black Friday drew crowds of people to the new store, and shoppers were treated to deep discounts on merchandise left over from Hen House Timeless Treasures. There are still great bargains to be had, from vintage furniture - including 20 percent off an 1860s parlor set with local history - to fully decorated Christmas trees on sale.
The Hen House makeover occurred over a two-week period when Back in Time reopened its doors and attracted several of the vendors who were renting space at Hen House. “I had been wanting to expand to new décor and new merchandise, so it worked out perfectly. It was exactly what we needed at the right time,” Tamara said.
All-new inventory includes a huge variety of unique holiday and gift ideas, from accessories home décor, candles and melts, herbal soaps, artwork, wall décor, jewelry and accessories, handbags, hats and more. There’s a selection of brand-new furniture, including sofas and loveseats, refurbished vintage furniture, and an “Inspirational Corner” featuring Brave Girls Club artwork. Hen House also carries a nice selection of Billy Jacobs cottage-style art, rugs and coasters, linens, primitives, tin works and signs, and popular Willow Tree collectibles.
There are still some familiar touches at Hen House, too. Ron’s “Man Cave” is still stocked with all the guy favorites, and the wrap-around balcony upstairs is still a great place to find one-of-a-kind treasures. You’ll also continue to enjoy the hometown feel of the store as well. “We have great, personable service. Old-fashioned values in a modern era,” Tamara said.
Hen House is located at 110 E. Main St. in Emmett. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, call the store at 208-398-8300.
Thinking of opening a downtown business?
Tamara is willing to help anyone who’s thinking about opening a business in downtown Emmett. “The Business Improvement District is working hard to get the downtown area revitalized. I’d be happy to help you! Give me a call at 208-941-0066.”
Firefighter Bryan Fredrickson is in a unique position. As owner and operator of A Fireman’s Chimney Sweep, he fights fires before they start. His goal is to never have to respond to your home or business as a firefighter. “As a firefighter, my job is after the fact; the emergency has already happened. I wanted to do prevention.”
Bryan’s passion for firefighting was ignited when he was only 3. Back then, it was all about the truck. “There’s nothing like riding on a fire engine.” He’s been a firefighter for 10 years, since he was 18, and now works full time for the Meridian Fire Department. “It’s more of a passion than a job,” he said. “I like the idea of going to work and not knowing what I’m going to see.” But he’d rather not respond to preventable, sometimes tragic situations. So he became licensed through the Chimney Safety Institute of America and serves the Treasure Valley in inspection, correction and maintenance.
With winter less than a month away and temperatures dropping, Bryan encourages everyone who uses a wood-burning unit for heat to have it inspected regularly. “I recommend an inspection every year until you know how much buildup you get from burning.” Buildup varies by type of fuel, frequency and method of use and other factors such as materials used for fire-starter. Wet wood causes more buildup than dry. Stoking and then dampening a fire for long-term low heat, such as overnight, also causes more buildup than a hot, quick burn.
Bryan offers these tips for safety:
* Have your chimney inspected every year by a CSIA-certified professional. Visit www.csia.org to search by zip code.
* Use dry wood only.
* Build smaller, hotter fires.
* Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, wrapping paper or Christmas trees. They can spark a chimney fire. There are fire-starting products on the market that can help reduce buildup.
* Install a stovepipe thermometer to monitor flue temperatures.
* Install and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis.
A Fireman’s Chimney Sweep offers no-mess cleaning and inspection by using drop cloths and a coiled rod system connected to a vacuum hose. There’s no dust and no smell. They inspect chimneys, fireplaces and dryer vents. They’ll also do a complete safety inspection and check for recalls. More information is available at www.firemanchimney.com. The best time to have an inspection is in the spring, after your last fire. If you missed that window, your wait time might be longer but they’ll get you on the schedule. Call (208) 890-4588.
“I’m always happy to answer questions,” Bryan said. “And I want to thank my past customers for your business. I look forward to working with you in the future.”