Monday, February 18, 2008

Above and beyond

I don't need to tell anyone living in the Midwest that this has been a tough winter. For us in the Telegraph Herald newsroom, snow and ice (and forecasts of same) have disrupted schedules and, on average two days a week, moved up our press times by up to two hours in order to give delivery personnel extra time to make their appointed rounds.

And what are the delivery personnel enduring? This weather is toughest on the drivers negotiating the rural roads of the tri-state area. On one particular route, one that usually requires five or six hours of driving, this past weekend took 11 dangerous hours. Keep in mind, they are doing this job in the middle of the night. Drivers serving other areas could not get to their communities because of closed roads; Sunday editions were delivered today (Monday).

Here are a couple of snapshots taken by a motor route driver, an independent contractor who delivers our paper. While the road surface in this particular shot is not bad -- pavement is visible -- the piles of snow along the road hamper visibility and often are the source of road-choking drifts. And then, when the carrier finally manages to get to the subscriber's delivery tube, he finds it jammed with snow, courtesy of a county snowplow. (That's the tube, to the left of the mailbox.)

Newspaper carriers, whether you deliver in town or in a rural area, my knit hat is off to you. Your efforts go above and beyond.

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