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Off The Editor’s Desk – 6-10-2015

I am going to use this week’s column to pass along several little items of information that I thought would be of interest to the readers of this newspaper.

First is an item from our newspaper association stating that Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel announced last week that his office is dedicating a staff to a newly created unit that will focus on the public records law, open meetings acts and other transparency initiatives.

“This is great news for the public,” said Wisconsin Newspaper Association Executive Director Beth Bennett. “In addition to an overall prioritizing of transparency issues, we expect the devotion of these resources to result in speedier responses to public records requests and open meetings complaints.”

The second is that Thanks to the efforts of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television and other tireless volunteers, a photo has been found for each of the 1,161 Wisconsin men who gave their lives for their country during the Vietnam War.

The Faces Never Forgotten campaign was launched by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Funds in 2007 to gather photos of each of the 58,307 names inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D. C.

A little note carried in one of our trade magazines told of a letter carrier that preferred beer to letters. David Thompson, 54, pleaded guilty to a federal change of stealing mail, according to the Kansas City Star. Thomson didn’t steal the mail, per se, but perhaps there wasn’t room in his mailbag for both the mail and the five to eight beers he was consuming daily.

An investigation revealed Thompson was keeping the beer in his bag and throwing the mail away into a trash container behind a local Elks Lodge. I can only wonder how many issues of this newspaper ended up in that trash container?

If you, as a reader of one of the daily newspapers that are circulated in this area, have you ever wondered where they are printed? A released dated last week told of Gannett Co., the parent company of USA Today, has decided to close its offset printing facility in Maple Grove, Minnesota, where local copies of USA Today are printed. This according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Next month the Star Tribune will print the 27,000 daily copies of the Midwest edition of USA Today, Monday through Friday. That newspaper is not published on the weekends.

The printing facility of the Star Tribune currently handles the regional distribution of the USA Today, as well as for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and some issues of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

The Tribune Press Reporter and its sister newspaper, the Colfax Messenger are printed at a central printing facility in Amery, Wisconsin, called “Publishers Printing Service, Inc.” They print about a dozen weekly newspapers there.

Our newspapers went to printing at a central plant back in the 1970s when we converted from letterpress printing to offset printing. Letterpress printing used type made from hot lead. At that time all newspapers had their own press and typesetting equipment to produce its weekly paper. But, the cost of equipping each local community with the new technology of offset printing was beyond the financial resources of the local publishers and so they joined with other publishers in a central printing plant that could offer more options including faster printing times and the ability to print in full color.

Thanks for reading!   — Carlton