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My Perspective—Help sought for delivery to small towns

By Jim Palmer; Editor/Publisher

The increase in gas prices over the last month has forced us to look closer at how we deliver the papers. Currently, we have about 35 drivers and deliver to more than 3,200 locations in Minnesota and into the Fargo area.

We have always delivered to big cities, mid-size communities, and smaller towns, but the cost to deliver to some of the smallest communities is getting more difficult to justify. If you factor in the cost of delivering the cost of production, printing, and delivery of the paper compared to the number dropped off, the numbers don’t look very good on our end. While many large publications do not deliver to small communities, I have always tried to keep small towns part of our distribution plan.

So, in an effort to maintain our distribution to these smaller communities, I am asking for help.

I am looking for those individuals who like to help out on a volunteer basis. The commitment is small, maybe five minutes a month, but it could mean keeping the paper in these small communities.

Here is how it would work...

• If you make regular trips to a larger community but live in a smaller one (or vice versa), you could grab some papers in the larger community and bring them back to the smaller one and drop them off at a couple places in that small community.

• If you would like something in exchange, we can offer a free classified ad each month and/or free cookbook in the fall.

It is a very simple program, but I think it could allow us to continue distribution to the smallest communities.

In the Lindbergh edition, we could use help in the following small communities: Randall, St. Rosa, St. Anna, Isle and Garrison.

If you live or work in one of these small communities and are interested in learning more about how you can help, just call me at 320-334-3334 or email jim@srperspective, and we can talk about the options. I would love to keep our distribution list intact if we can, and this seems like the most logical approach to do that if we have some people willing to chip in.

Phasing out personal ads

We are making a change to our classified ad section. We will no longer be offering personal ads. We will honor the remaining personal ads that have been sent in and paid for, but not accepting anymore. So the last of the personal ads will print in the next two months.

This change has been considered for a couple of years now, but I think now is the time.

While these personal ads have resulted in some great success stories -- including several lifelong friendships and at least two weddings (that we know about) -- there have also been some dicey situations that have arisen because of the personal ads.

A couple examples:

There are times when a person will submit an ad on behalf of someone else as a gag/joke or something more meanspirited -- to get back at someone. This has caused some embarrassment and frustration to the people whose phone number was listed in the ad. We adopted a no-cash policy for personal ads years ago, which helped catch many of these before they went to print. We also double-check to make sure the name on the check and the name listed with the ad match. But it is still hard to catch all of them.

But this was just part of the problem. Recently, the number of issues we have had from personal ads has increased. In some cases, there are people looking to take advantage of other people. This has occurred both from the people placing the ads and from the people calling the people in the ad. And this is ultimately the reason why we are discontinuing the personal ads.

We could put a notice that says “Be careful,” but I don’t think that will be enough. There are some vulnerable individuals out there, and there are people looking to prey on those people. I don’t think it is worth the risk. If something bad would happen, although we would not be liable, we do not want our name attached to it. It’s not worth it.

Memorial Day special section

In the May editions of Senior Perspective, we will be honoring all the fallen soldiers in our Heroes Remembered special section.

If you have an poems or short stories that you would like to share that relate to a fallen soldier, please send them to me by April 5.

Also, you have someone special in your family, or know of someone who has an interesting story involving a fallen soldier, please let us know. We are always looking for good stories that can be featured in this special section. And while this upcoming edition is nearly filled with some really good content, we have already started to look for stories for next year’s Heroes Remembered special section.

Also, if you or someone you know is a veteran with a great story to tell about your experiences in the military, please let us know -- Our special section “Heroes Honored” is coming out in November, and we are starting to line up interviews and stories for that one as well.

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