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On curling pages, Books for Kids and ‘Doonesbury’

We were skeptical, too.

Why would the winter weather curl newspaper pages so badly this year when it hadn’t in the past?

I have received dozens of emails from readers, many along these lines: “I know you try to save money so you don’t have to raise the price of the newspaper, but the paper you are printing The News on is horrible. I am an arthritis sufferer and cannot manage to hold, read and uncurl the garbage paper. This is a failure of epic proportions!”

At The News, we sympathize. It makes us crazy, too.

The surprising facts: We haven’t changed newsprint since 2004, when we started using our new presses. It is the same weight paper, from the same mills in Quebec. In fact, our newsprint has come from the same mills in Quebec for decades.

The problem, according to Bryan Carr, vice president for production at The News: This has been the coldest winter since 1976-77. The exceptionally cold and dry weather curls the paper as moisture is drawn out. Carr says newspapers across the Northeast have trouble with curling pages this winter.

Those of you with humidifiers attached to your furnaces are seeing a lot less curl. For our part, we are rooting for an early end to winter. It doesn’t hurt to hope.

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For 19 years, the annual Books for Kids drive has put new books into the hands of needy children – a total of more than 2.2 million books. Most of us grew up with favorite books we read with parents and loved ones. But too many children don’t have that experience. Many never even have a book they can call their own.

This year, Books for Kids wants to collect 70,000 new books and $15,000 in cash for the purchase of special-needs books. Drop off donations in The Buffalo News lobby, any Wegmans store or at Erie County public libraries.

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After 43 years, the daily “Doonesbury” comic strip is going away. Garry Trudeau’s last weekday strip ran Saturday.

Trudeau is also the writer and producer of “Alpha House,” one of the new breed of TV shows available only via online video services. As he starts the second season of “Alpha House,” Trudeau decided to end the daily “Doonesbury.” He will continue to produce fresh Sunday strips, which will continue to appear in The News’ Sunday Comics section.

Starting Monday, “Close to Home” will replace “Doonesbury” on weekdays. We are contemplating other changes. Let us know what you think of “Close to Home,” and let us know if you have favorite comics you would like us to add.

email: editor@buffnews.com

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