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The library is open Sunday
   In a time when we read about business and government cutting back on services, it was heartening to read that the Crook County Library has expanded services by opening on Sunday. Now you can use all the reference materials, check out books, videos and audio tapes, browse the magazines or surf the Internet on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5 p.m. The other library hours are Monday through Wednesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   We salute our carriers
   The newspaper business is strange. We hire professionals to write the stories and sell the ads that go into the newspaper. Another highly trained group puts the paper together using hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of computers, cameras, processors, scanners and an Imagesetter. Next another team of skilled printers print the newspaper on a half million dollar press before the mail room staff puts in the inserts and bundles the papers. Finally we leave the bundles of newspapers outside the back door, or deliver them to the homes of boys and girls, who aren't even old enough to drive, so they can deliver the Central Oregonian to your home or business.
   The newspaper business is strange. We spend hundreds of hours writing, assembling and printing our products and we trust about 40 children from age 9 to 15 (along with a half-a-dozen adult motor route drivers) to take it the final leg to your door. What is even more interesting is that none of these carriers actually work for the Central Oregonian. They are all self-employed independent contractors.
   The process of having children deliver our product is both scary and exciting. It's scary because if this group doesn't get the job done we hear from you, and generally you're not happy. But at the same time the concept of a 10 year old having his or her own business is extremely exciting to see. These kids are remarkably responsible. Most of them come home from school three days a week to deliver the Central Oregonian and our shopper (X-TRA, which is delivered to non-subscribers on Wednesday). They carry heavy bags filled with newspapers to make the deliveries in the heat, the rain, the wind and the snow. And on the nice days, they would probably rather be playing with their friends.
   While we expect the adult motor route drivers to be responsible and professional with their job, I always marvel at the 10 year old who takes his or her job just as seriously. They load the papers into their canvas bag and by walking, riding a bike or in a car with the help of a parent they get the job done with only an occasional missed delivery.
   On occasion I've delivered a route myself when something happen to one of the carriers. Even using a car, I was amazed how difficult it is to find all the addresses and get that paper in the locations our subscribers specify. As a result, I have a great respect for the effort our carriers put into getting our paper to our subscribers.
   National Newspaper Carrier Day is Saturday, October 13 and I salute these boys and girls, along with the adults who deliver each issue of the Central Oregonian. The children have taken on what has become an American tradition - the paper route. We should all be proud of their efforts to take on this responsibility at such a young age. I also commend and thank the parents for raising such mature and responsible citizens.
   National Newspaper Week
   This is an era of instant communications. The gee whiz technology of today allows us to watch tragedy, war and history happening in real time before our eyes. Nearly half of us carry phones with us everywhere we go so we can report the mundane to our friends and family. We can look up information on nearly anything instantly on the Internet. It is a remarkable time.
   But even with all this electronic equipment we still depend on our local newspaper to keep us informed about what is happening in our own community and neighborhoods.
   This week is National Newspaper Week, as proclaimed by President Bush. While it may just seem like another self-serving proclamation celebrating an interest group, the newspaper is a working representation of the most basic freedom set forth by our founding fathers - the first amendment.
   Amendment I
   Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
   Newspapers are an integral part of our daily life because no other media comes even close to reporting on your community to the depth and breath your local newspaper does. We are proud to be a small part of the national community of newspapers, which includes more than 6600 weekly newspapers and nearly 1500 daily papers with a combined circulation of more than 100 million.
   In the process of doing our job we may make you smile or we may make you angry, but hopefully we will inform you. Thank you for being one our readers.
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