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From the publisher's desk: Readers take this paper seriously

I love living in a small town. Anytime I step outside of the office, I run into someone that I know. Whether it is eating at a local restaurant or buying groceries at the store, chances are someone will stop to make conversation or at least speak in passing. It is like having one big family
This also means that I have people looking out for me. The community shares story ideas, tells me of an upcoming event or even about a paper box that is empty or not working properly. The readers of this paper and the community seem to embrace this publication and look out for us. I truly appreciate that.
I even had one reader tell me about standing at a box while some lady pulled coupon packets out of the remaining newspapers inside the box. This lady realized someone was standing behind her but didn’t stop from her project at hand.
On the flip side of that, I once opened a newspaper box door and found dimes and nickels neatly stacked beside the papers. Obviously someone didn’t have quarters and may have asked the person in front of them if they would hold the door open while they got out a paper. Perhaps they got two papers and only had quarters for one after the door was open. Anyway, it shows the honesty in this town. All those buying a paper afterwards had left the neat little stack alone as they reached in for a newspaper.
One early morning while helping fill boxes myself, I left a bucket of change on the McDonald’s box and drove off. The money beat me back to the newspaper, as an honest citizen found it and quickly brought it up to the office.
This brings me to the most recent incident which happened last week. Evidently an elderly lady put money for one newspaper into the box at the post office and got out several papers. I realize this happens sometimes, but there is very little we can do about it. I do feel that overall, we live in a very honest county.
It just so happens that a couple of Boy Scouts witnessed the incident as she put change in once and took out the small stack of newspapers. We all know the honesty of a Boy Scout, but these fellows were even working on a report about crime prevention. They got the tag number and proceeded to call us and the Erwin Police.
A quick tag trace came up with the name and the address. Within the hour, I had a visit from Chief of Police Regan Tilson, who handed me $5 for the newspapers taken. He had found the lady’s car and was waiting outside the store where it was parked. When she came out, she immediately knew what was up and started crying.
Evidently she had been under a lot lately and, quite frankly, didn’t offer a good reason for her actions. I don’t condone theft on any level. Maybe it was the coupon packs inside that she found appealing. Maybe it was my column here that she wanted to clip and save. I really don’t think so.
However, the remarkable thing about living in this amazing community is that a couple of Boys Scouts did a good deed. The chief of police knew this little lady and quietly approached her. She felt sorry for her actions and paid for the papers. We saw no need to take it beyond that.
Although I do hope readers pay for a newspaper, I do appreciate all the support we receive. The phones start ringing early on Tuesday morning from subscribers that somehow got missed on the paper route. They count on their copy of The Erwin Record to be there when they get up.
I heard from several of you recently when I left the puzzles out of the newspaper. I don’t know why they first got tucked away in the Classified pages, but I have continued to leave them there. The last few weeks there were so many classifieds, that the puzzles got squeezed out. I heard about it and I am happy to say they are in here this week.
I learned that you just don’t mess with a weekly tradition. I am glad the Record means that much to all of you.

By Keith Whitson