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Meadows on Main tenant Florence Stomberg is among those who take turns delivering the West Central Tribune to the mailboxes of apartments in the Renville independent living facility. Tribune photo by Tom Cherveny

These carriers are first to deliver the news

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RENVILLE -- Nobody beats the carriers at the Meadows on Main independent living center in Renville when it comes to being the first to deliver the news.

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Six days a week, the bundle of West Central Tribunes arrives at the apartment building sometime between 3:30 and 4 a.m. A carrier is usually waiting like a sprinter ready to take the baton. Within minutes, the copies are distributed to mailboxes on the apartments of the subscribers.

And who are these dedicated carriers?

Nine women with an average age of 90 years take turns delivering the newspapers to the 17 subscribers in the apartments and adjoining, Crossroads skilled nursing facility. The carriers range in age from 81 to 94. Some use their walkers to get the job done.

Subscribers have gotten used to finding their paper waiting as soon as they get up, and there are some early risers here.

"If there is a problem there is a knock on my door,'' said LuElla Bruns, who coordinates this effort.

It's all for a worthy cause, too. The $40 to $50 the newspaper carriers earn each month is put into the tenants' association fund. The funds are used to provide tenants with special treats, such as a special Christmas dinner or an occasional pizza party. The monies have also purchased decorations for the dining room tables, flowers to adorn the outside entry area, and even a special farewell present for a tenant who is moving.

"We have something going on all the time,'' said Helen Lindquist, one of the carriers and member of the tenants' association.

"They really do so many different things,'' said Jane Dikken, director, Meadows on Main. "It's really appreciated.''

Some of this has to do with the fact that Bruns did not appreciate getting up early. Over 10 years ago, the carrier who had been delivering papers to Meadows on Main asked her to take over the duties. She gave it a try.

"I got kind of tired of getting up real early every morning,'' said Bruns.

Her solution was the system that's now been in place for 10 years. As many as a dozen different tenants have volunteered to take their turn and deliver the newspaper for a week. It's become the practice to rise early and deliver the papers as soon as they come, so that the carrier can go back to her apartment and sleep.

The carriers have all been longtime subscribers to the newspaper, and they encourage their fellow residents to subscribe as well. "The more papers we can get the more money we can get,'' said Lindquist, laughing.

The tenants' association members hold other fundraising activities on behalf of the facility as well. They are holding a rummage sale June 10-12 as part of Renville's Sugar Beets Day summer celebration.

All said they enjoy helping out. "I feel at home here,'' said Lindquist. "It's like family,'' added Florence Stomberg.

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Tom Cherveny
Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.
(320) 214-4335
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