Take It From Mr. Seeger

America! Ya gotta love it!

David Letterman, to his credit, had Pete Seeger on “Late Night” last night. Pete was there to promote his CD “At 89,” which hit store shelves today, and performed the song “Take It From Dr. King” with a four-member band that included Pete’s incredibly talented grandson Tao Rodriguez.

Pete Seeger's still singing and strumming at age 89
Pete Seeger

Pete was in fine voice — and even got the audience clapping and singing along, no easy task when you’re performing in a place that’s not exactly Carnegie Hall or a union rally — on a TV talk show set at the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Then again, if Pete Seeger can’t get a crowd of people singin’ and clappin’, then no one can — and the world would be in bigger trouble than it is already.

So why the “America! Ya gotta love it!” exclamation? Because someone decided that Pete should be the last “guest” on the 90-minute show and should just perform one song and didn’t need to be interviewed. And who was came out to sit on Dave’s couch BEFORE Pete got to perform his one song? Julia Louis-Dreyfus (formerly of Seinfeld and now of The New Adventures of Old Christine) and Michael Cera (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist)

Anyway, here’s a link to the video of Pete singing “Taking It From Dr. King” on the recent PBS documentary:


And here’s a link — www.appleseedmusic.com — with information on how to order Pete’s new CD.

If you move your cursor over to my list of categories and click on music, you’ll find an essay I wrote previously about my encounters with Pete Seeger.

Finally, here’s a link to a good, thorough biography of the remarkable Mr. Seeger: http://www.peteseeger.net/biograph.htm


Verse-case scenarios

Friend and fellow traveler (and fellow Writers House literary agency client) Steve Hart posts this tout of the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival (the link to his Web site’s over there in the right-hand column, listed under FRIENDS): Mark your calendars for the eleventh annual Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, which this year is spread over two days late in October. The setting is lovely and the poets — all chosen by a couple of the marquee names from previous festivals — are bound to be worth hearing.

Last year’s featured poet, for the 10th annual Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, was the great Robert Pinsky, the two-term U.S. poet laureate, who was the featured poet at the very first event in 1998. Steve Hart wrote this excellent essay in the aftermath of Pinsky’s reading last year:

How I impersonated Robert Pinsky

October 6, 2007

You couldn’t ask for a better or more generous ambassador of poetry than Robert Pinsky. I got to stand up close and watch him in action yesterday, during a reading and signing session at a bookstore cum museum called The Book Garden just up the street from the Delaware River, and I can tell you he’s the one to study if you want to see how a master does the job.

Speaking to a group of about eight people before going on to the evening’s 10th anniversary edition of the Delaware Valley Poetry Festival, Pinsky was low-key, often very funny and disarmingly gentle in the way he handled questions.

Robert Pinsky
Robert Pinsky

One woman brought up Robert Frost telling someone to “just read what’s there” instead of searching for hidden meanings in his poems, and Pinsky gave back a bit of gossip (the theatrical nature of Frost’s rustic sage routine, and how it played into the suspicion of intellect that Pinsky considers one of America’s most unattractive traits) before going into an explanation that showed Frost was at least partly right — there are always depths to plumb in a work of art, but the academic tendency to strip-mine for them shouldn’t block one’s appreciation for the lovely surface.

He also told a funny story about a writers gathering at which a woman mistook him for Russell Banks and asked him to inscribe her copy of Continental Drift. Pinsky, ever the sport, wrote “I’ll never forget the wild times we had on the beach at Maui” and signed it “Russell.” Later on, the woman evidently encountered Banks and realized her mistake. Banks, also a sport, added his own inscription about Maui, and signed it “Robert.”

The evening began with a very cleverly staged performance of Pinsky’s “To Television” (from the collection Jersey Rain) conceived by David Kucher of the River Union Stage and his remarkably poised and talented son. Pinsky read old poems and new ones from his upcoming collection Gulf Music. He also talked up the Favorite Poem Project and its three associated books, the latest of which includes a DVD of favorite poems being read. The festival is the dreamchild of writer and editor Nicholas DiGiovanni, and even though I was present when he organized the inaugural festival (also with Pinsky as the headliner), this was the first time I’d been able to attend one. My loss — I’ll bend heaven and earth to get to them all from now on.

My brush with a felony rap came at the Book Garden, where one of the customers saw me standing by the cashier in my shades and black shirt and assumed I was Robert Pinsky. She even went to so far as to say that I looked nothing like my jacket photo.

“That’s the plastic surgery,” I told her.

“I think you’re joking, but I’m not sure,” she said.

“Well, after that Mafia threat, I had to do something,” I said.

She then held up a copy of Gulf Music. “My goodness, this is expensive,” she said. “Why are the prices on poetry books so different?”

“We’re paid by the line,” I said. “Prose books, the pricing is by the word.”

“Now I know you’re kidding,” she said, and I fessed up.

After dinner, I trailed some friend as they drove out to the Unitarian Universalist church in Kingwood Township, where the festival was being held. Earlier that day, I had developed a fixation on Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, and I was playing it over and over during the drive through the dark-blue twilight hills of Hunterdon County. Suddenly the Jeep braked, and as I followed suit, I saw the silver shapes of deer flashing through the Jeep’s headlights and vanishing into the dark farm field to our right.

Talk about the perfect visual accompaniment to that song. There was so much poetry in the air that day, I guess even nature wanted to get in on it.

And for making it possible to experience all of it, all I can say to Robert Pinsky, Nick DiGiovanni and everyone else connected with the festival is — thank you.


Also checking in with his impressions of last year’s Delaware Valley Poetry Festival was my colleague Gene Racz:

Feeling run down and worn thin, I was hoping to refresh myself last Friday with a little art … presented first-hand by a true artist.

My wife understood, but my 9-year-old twin boys were confused as to why I was so uptight about getting down to the Old Stone Church in Baptistown to hear former poet laureate Robert Pinsky speak.

Reading their body language, I could almost hear the thoughts of my boys in the backseat. Reading their
minds, my father’s intuition came up with the following: Why is daddy running so hard at the start of the
weekend? What the heck is a poet Laurie-at anyway? Why did daddy yank us cold out of a heated backyard
soccer game? Why can’t we stop for a soda? Why is daddy now lost somewhere near Frenchtown? For the sake of art beloved children, for the sake of art.

Turns out, Pinsky was fabulous. The 60-something Long Branch native and Rutgers grad read some of his poems, took questions and spoke candidly about his poetry. He served up a flood of insights into his lifelong love affair with words and spoke of his appreciation for silence and demonstrated how breaks and pauses help create the music of good verse. Confident yet vulnerable, masterful without airs, Pinsky exuded a warmth and deep sincerity that made the poetry reading feel more like an uplifting sermon. I half expected him, in minister-like fashion, to stand outside the church door and shake the hand of each member of the audience as we filed out.  He didn’t. The poetry was the benediction.

Henry Miller once wrote that, “”Art teaches nothing, except the significance of life.” At 43, I still don’t really have a clue as to what that significance is. All I know is that I’m still struggling to slow down a little and appreciate the beauty that’s right in front of me. The commonplace surrounding us can grow stale and cold.
Pinsky said he likes to look up words in the dictionary that he already knows … or thinks he already knows. He revels in discovering meanings he was unaware of – meanings that have been hiding, all the while, in plain sight.  As Miller wrote: “”The artist does not tinker with the universe; he recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life.”

Poetry is one way to deepen our awareness and understanding of life. Pinsky spoke of poetry as being a
most personal art form. That’s because the medium of poetry is not a TV screen, a CD or a canvas. The
true medium of poetry is ultimately us, the readers, who filter the poet’s words through our own minds and
hearts.  Pinsky’s words have power, and his poems invite us to get more intimate with the world which is
always right at hand.

Poet and essayist Katha Pollitt put it well when she wrote that Pinsky’s poems give a sense of “”getting at the depths of human experience, in which everything is repeated but also always new.”

Pinsky argues that poetry has a strong presence in American culture. The finest moment of the evening came when one of my boys looked up at me as were filing out of the church and said, “”Hey dad, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.”

You don’t get to be poet laureate for nothing.


Life is hell

This is the latest in a series of essays titled “Man Has Premonition of Own Death:

My father was an upbeat kid. Second-generation Italian, son of immigrants, grew up during World War II listening dreamily to radio shows that transported him from his tiny tenement apartment in Yonkers to places around the world, dreamed big romantic dreams and believed they could come true. Wanted to be an architect!

By the time he was in his late thirties he was grossly overweight and knew his dreams were not coming true, and he somehow reached his fifties before his years of eating lots and lots of what’s bad for your health led to a massive heart attack and a 10-year gradual decline that ended when my father was found unconscious on the floor of his hospital room bathroom, slipped into an irreversible coma, then breathed his last breath just minutes after my family decided to take the doctor’s advice and end life support.

Did I mention that my father, somewhere along the line, decided – or figured out – that Earth was actually Purgatory?

I don’t know if this is what my young father envisioned, but here’s Gustave Dore’s illustration for Dante’s “Purgatorio,” titled “The Sinners Passing Through the Fire.”

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The Roman Catholic Church defines purgatory as a sort of holding cell – a place where sinners go to be purged of sin and are eventually allowed to enter heaven. It may not be an actual place – it may be more like a state of existence. And the real punishment and pain, at least this is the way I understood it when I was a kid, was in the knowledge that heaven was oh-so-close but yet so far, the overwhelming sorrow and frustration of not yet being able to gaze upon the face of God..

Here’s an interesting aside. We all think of Hell as a place where we burn for eternity, right? Why’s the Devil red? Because he’s got the worst sunburn ever, right? Wrong. St. Thomas Aquinas – pardon me, but I still haven’t completely freed myself from the chains of 14 years of Catholic School education – said flames are used only in Purgatory, as a cleansing device.

Go to Hell, and the torture is more varied, more creative: worms, horrible heat, ungodly thirst, horrid screams, eternal dismemberment, and…you get the idea.

But wait! It gets more confusing. I read somewhere that St. Augustine suspected that God, in all his glorious Economy, used the very same fires in Hell and Purgatory, but for different purposes.

Augustine and Aquinas both suggested, then, that Hell and Purgatory might be adjacent to each other. Sort of like driving through a bad neighborhood into one that’s even worse.

You know that one of Martin Luther’s biggest gripes was the sale and purchase of “indulgences,” which were – and are – specific amounts of “time off” granted to sinners sent to Purgatory. There are still prayer cards that specify how many days off their punishment may be granted to soul in Purgatory if the prayer prays this prayer for the unfortunate departed. The Catholic Church’s All Souls Day, two days after Halloween, is a day devoted entirely to prayers aimed at easing the pain of Purgatory.

Ever hear or read about the hell hole discovered by scientists – and kept secret until was revealed in an expose published in Weekly World News? Scientist drilling to study the earth’s deep core thought they heard noise coming up through the hole. When they lowered microphones into the hole, the scientists realized that the sounds were actually the awful anguished cries of souls burning in Hell! The scientists quickly filled in the hole, but not before a fiery figure rose from the hole and – well, basically, the fiery figure scared the crap out of the scientists and ordered them to cap the well.

My poor father just might have believed this to be true. If Earth is Purgatory then why can’t Hell be at the fiery core?

I browsed around the Internet and through some books and found capsule descriptions of what some Christian sects think about Heaven, Purgatory and Hell.

Some group called the Christadelphians – no, I hadn’t heard of them, either – believe that people who die “without hearing the Gospel” will simply remain dead, without consciousness for eternity.

Jehovah’s Witnesses – yes, I’d heard of them – believe there is no Hell. They believe that most people, except of course Jevovah’s witnesses, will just cease to exist when they die while the blessed, those who survive the final battle of Armageddon, will live on eternally in a paradise on Earth.

The Mormons believe there are different levels of Heaven. One is for couples married in the Mormon faith. Get this: Eventually such couples become a god and a goddess, and get to rule their own universe. (Either you’re frightened by the notion of, say, Mitt Romney or Donny Osmond as a god, or this belief almost makes you want to be a Mormon). The second level is for Christians who lived holy lives. After this it becomes a bit more confusing – an urban myth says the clues can found by going online and finding used copies of the Best of the Osmonds record album; playing the album backwards reveals hidden messages. But basically it comes down to this: Except for married Mormons and God-fearing but non-Mormon Christians, everyone else goes to some lesser level, with Hell at the very bottom rung – and place for adulterers and murderers and, well, you know, the usual group of heathens. The good news is that in the end, all is forgiven, or all are forgiven, and everyone will be resurrected; the only difference will be that the aforementioned folks at levels one and two will get to stay in the presidential suites at the Waldorf while the rest of get to stay forever at Motel 6.

You want gloomy? How about the Seventh-Day Adventists who don’t believe sinners spent eternity in Hell. They believe sinners stay in Hell until there’s nothing left of them to burn. Their premise is that God would not stoop so low as to indulge in torture. He’ll destroy sinners for eternity but he’ll get it over with quickly.

And then there’s some sect called the Unity School of Christianity, which takes Jesus at his word when he declares that “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” These folks believe Heaven resides inside us all, and that all we need to do is bring our bodies and minds and souls together in harmony with the divine. Likewise, they don’t believe Hell is an actual place, and forget about Purgatory, but they do think it’s not even necessary to die to go to Hell – it’s a state of mind, it’s mental and emotional anguish, it’s sorrow, it’s sadness, and maybe this was what my father meant all along but simply couldn’t express it in such terms.

Instead, he came to view life as a Purgatory to be endured until the blessed relief of Death.

My poor father…

Not accepting calls at this time

This is the latest in a series of essays titled “Man Has Premonition of Own Death”

A strange phenomenon persists four years after my father’s death. It’s important to note that I never hated him and certainly loved the man, just instinctively because he was my father, and that as time went by I came to understand him more, see his weaknesses and failing for what they were – his humanity – and got along with well, as long a decent number of miles separated. If we’d lived together or near each other, if we saw each or spoke to each other too frequently, conflict would have been inevitable. But in the later years of my father’s life, as my children were born and grew and achieved one of their many milestones – or even when I had done something I thought he’d like to hear about – I’d often call my father to share some news, or brag about the kids, or – occasionally to borrow some money. So here’s the strange phenomenon. Sometimes something will happen that’s the sort of thing that would once have prompted a phone call to my father. And I’ll get this sudden impulse, this quick instinctive urge, this reflex, and just for a split-second I’ll think “I ought to call Dad.” Then the synapses will snap back into place and my brain will remind me that my father’s dead, that where ever he is they probably don’t have phones, or maybe they have phones but the numbers are unlisted, or maybe my father is simply not accepting calls at this time.

Lest we forget

This is the latest in a series of essays titled “Man Has Premonition of Own Death”

How is it possible to forget when your own father died? I’m not talking about the day or the month. I’m talking about the year! I can never even remember what year it was when my father died! Thank God for Google and online newspaper archives. Here’s my father’s obituary, which was printed in his local daily newspaper:

DIGIOVANNI, NICK J. – Nick J. DiGiovanni, age 69, a lifetime resident of Yonkers, passed away September 24, 2002 at Sound Shore Medical Center, New Rochelle, NY. Mr. DiGiovanni was born in Yonkers, NY, on December 18, 1932 to the late Nicola and the late Luisa DiGiovanni. He served honorably in the US Air Force (1952-1956) and afterwards, was employed as a programmer for the Yonkers Board of Education. He is survived by his beloved wife…his devoted children…and his eight loving grandchildren…Wake to be held Friday, September 27, 2002 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm at SINATRA MEMORIAL HOME, INC, 601 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, NY. A Religious Service will be conducted at the Funeral Home Chapel at 1 pm on Saturday, September 28, 2002, followed by entombment at Ferncliff Cemetery, Hartsdale.

Do you believe in ghosts? Today I got this feeling, started thinking about my father and trying to remember when he died, and decided to google his obituary — and today is Sept. 24, which happens to be the sixth anniversary of my father’s death.

She took my favorite hat (or, hold on to your hats)

Friend Phil and I, way back when we were in college, rounded up two beautiful young ladies (mine, I’d contend, was more beautiful — a lovely blonde from Long Island, named Lee, still remembered fondly although she took my favorite hat) and went to Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, right around the time when he was wearing white makeup and masks and wide-brimmed hats and singing a song called “Idiot Wind” just in time for the nation’s bicentennial.


The other day, I wrote something about the greed-driven economy and all the fat cats who are squashing the hopes and quashing the dreams of millions of us cooler but poorer and less powerful cats, and I quoted Dylan’s song “Thunder on the Mountain” about all the ladies in Washington rushing to get out of town because there’s trouble coming down, and friend Chuck Pizar (he of the entertaining Web site “Recovering Night Owl”) accused me of never resisting an opportunity to quote Dylan.

Well, yes, but as the second Great Depression nears — as its heavy footsteps shake our windows and rattle our walls, as the long black veil of its shadow slowly spreads over this land that was allegedly made for you and me — I’m hearing two lines from the refrain of “Idiot Wind”:

Idiot wind, blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol.

On a lighter note here’s a great Dylan-related link.  “Inside Dylan’s Brain,” is an article from Vanity Fair that offers a fascinating analysis of Dylan weekly program on XM, “Theme Time Radio.”

The link is www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2008/04/dylan.html

If that whets your whistle but doesn’t wet your whistle, check our www.bobdylanfanclub.com and its exhaustive and exhausting attempt to document cultural and historical references on Dylan’s radio show.

Stopping the presses

In a way, I really don’t care.

I worked at the weekly Delaware Valley News in Frenchtown, N.J. for more than 20 years, helped turn it into a really outstanding community newspaper, one of the best around, and really defended it and protected it and respected its history — founded in 1879, originally called The Frenchtown Star — and tradition. Then I watched short-sighted ownership and anonymous corporate money counters suck the life out of that newspaper — cutting, cutting, cutting until they finally cut too much and finally, inspired by the ghost of Johnny Paycheck, I told them to take their job and….and went to work fulltime as a news editor at the daily Home News Tribune/Courier News/mycentraljersey.com.

But in another way, I really care.

I’m saddened by the news I received yesterday, that the Delaware Valley News has been shut down by the corporate media conglomerate that bought it a few years back — the same corporate media empire that owns the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., the New Yorker magazine, a few dozen other newspapers, and Conde Nast magazines including Vogue and GQ.

The demise of the Delaware Valley News was something I tried to fight for quite a while and expected to happen sooner than it actually did. It bothers me no end to think that some pointy headed little accountant with his or her pointy little red pencil could just cross out a line item that represented a 129-year chronicle of the life — the births and deaths, the joys and sorrows, the good and bad, the tragic and gladsome — of a community.

And I’m also angered. I still know people who work for the Delaware Valley News and its sister publication, the Hunterdon County Democrat (which is still there but took a major personnel hit itself). When my wife heard about the demise of the Delaware Valley News, she commented that one of the DVN reporters who is being transfered to the larger paper is ‘lucky to still have a job.’ What she meant was that he’s ‘lucky’ in the sense that so many people in this greed-driven economic tailspin are just flat-out losing everything — their homes, their retirement, their medical insurance, their jobs. So Annie’s right in that regard.

But my response was that ‘lucky’ should not be part of the discussion. Someone’s ‘lucky’ because they worked hard and did a good job and some corporate deity smiled down upon them and decided to let them keep their job? The real response , the real question, should be how it is that the elite, the people who don’t have a thing to really worry about financially — Will they have to sell their Manhattan penthouse? Will their investments drop in value from, say, $800 million to $600 million?  Will they have to let go of some of the help? Will they have to sell the villa in the south of France? — are able to screw around so cavalierly with the lives of ordinary people.

And I’m not just talking about the people who bought and who are now closing the Delaware Valley News. I’m talking about all of the rich folks who were supposed to be taking their tax cuts and investing that money in their businesses, thus creating new jobs, thus growing the American economy for the benefit of us all. What a load of horse shit that turned out to be — as if we didn’t expect it. And you know what all of those people are doing now? They’re getting what they can get while there’s still something to get. It’s like the line from the recent Dylan song, ‘Thunder on the Mountain,’ in which he sings:

Thunder on the mountain heavy as can be
Mean old twister bearing down on me
All the ladies in Washington scrambling to get out of town
Looks like something bad gonna happen, better roll your airplane down 
 Anyway….Here’s the news article that ran today in one of the papers I work for now, the Courier-News: 
HUNTERDON COUNTY —The Frenchtown-based Delaware Valley Newswill print its final edition this week after serving 10 New Jersey and Pennsylvania towns along the banks of the Delaware River for nearly 130 years. The weekly newspaper’s four staffers were notified of the shutdown on Monday, Sept. 22, as they continued to produce the paper’s last issue, which is scheduled to hit newsstands Thursday, Sept. 25.

Joe Gioioso, publisher and president of NJN Publishing, said company officials decided it was time to fully pitch the weekly Hunterdon County Democrat, a sister publication based in Raritan Township, to readers of the Delaware Valley News in an effort to eliminate duplication of coverage and to offer stories from the entire county. ‘We’ll still be covering those towns that we were covering in the DVN, so that’s not going to change,’ Gioioso said.

Delaware Valley News Editor Deb Dawson said in a brief telephone interview that she lost her job yesterday after spending nine years with the company, most of them as a reporter for the Democrat. ‘They decided to close it,’ Dawson said of the paper she’s led for the past year. ‘That’s about all I know.’

Jay Langley, executive editor of the Hunterdon County Democrat, declined to comment on the closure, as well as whether the shutdown was accompanied by staff reductions at his publication. ‘Anything I know will appear in Thursday’s paper,’ Langley said, adding that subscribers of the Delaware Valley News are being notified through letters of the newspaper’s final days.

The Delaware Valley News, established in 1879 and called the Frenchtown Star until it was sold to the Democrat in 1932, has a paid circulation of about 3,000, according to the New Jersey Press Association’s citation of 2006 figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Of the paper’s four staff members, Dawson and office manager Betty Crouse were laid off yesterday. Staff writer John Monteith will be retained at the Democrat while staff writer Kevin J. Guhl will leave the company after six years for a communications job.

‘Themood here today, as someone else said, it feels like someone died,’ said Guhl, 30. ‘It’s unique to have a newspaper that has been here 130 years that really maintained that small-town quality that I don’t think you see in a lot of corporate papers these days.’

Guhl said the paper’s Harrison Street headquarters, with its large storefront window, acted as an open invitation for locals to drop in and provide tips or to chat about the news of the day. Dogs and their owners were routinely greeted with treats.

Crouse said she started with the company almost 20 years ago when her sister-in-law coaxed her into helping produce the Democrat one night when ‘the college kids didn’t show up’ for work.

Crouse, 64, said she worked that night from the ‘ends of my hair to my toenails.’ After that, Crouse played various parts at the company — telemarketing, data entry, typing up copy for the sports department during a snowstorm — until landing the role as office manager at the Delaware Valley News nearly 12 years ago.

Working at a small operation, Crouse said she accepts advertisements and legal notices, calms down angry customers and even takes the long way to workto make personal deliveries when ‘little old ladies’ don’t get their paper.

‘This morning it was like shocking,’ Crouse said. ‘There were tears. ‘

Frenchtown Mayor Ron Sworen, also a Hunterdon County freeholder, said he received word of the closure yesterday through the letter to subscribers. Sworen, a subscriber of both the Delaware Valley News and the Democrat, said he understands the continuing decline of the newspaper industry, which has been beset in recent years by dwindling circulation numbers and advertising revenue. Still, he said, ‘there’s really something to be said about a hometown newspaper.’ ‘I understand the issues, but it’s still sad,’ he said. ‘It was our local hometown newspaper. Now that’s gone.’

And here’s an article posted today by my friend and former colleague Rachael Brickman on the Hunterdon County Democrat/Delaware Valley News Web site, nj.com:

After 76 years covering west Hunterdon County and parts of Pennsylvania, the Delaware Valley News newspaper will end its run.

A child of the Great Depression, the paper had absorbed other local papers including the Frenchtown Star and the Milford Leader. The DVN‘s office in Frenchtown will close and some of its editorial staff will move to the Hunterdon County Democrat‘s offices just outside Flemington. The Democrat will cover the DVN‘s circulation area of Milford, Frenchtown and the townships of Alexandria, Holland and Kingwood, but Pennsylvania coverage will be reduced.

Subscribers to the DVN will receive the Democrat for the duration of their DVN subscriptions. Subscribers to both papers will have their Democrat subscriptions extended by the length of their remaining DVN subscriptions. People with subscription questions should call the circulation department at 782-4747 ext. 249 or (800) 300-9321.

The last issue of the small weekly newspaper will be sent to homes this week. For more on the history of the newspaper, pick up the final issue or a copy of this week’s Democrat on Thursday, Sept. 25.