With The Sampson Independent’s print facility in Lumberton still reeling from severe flood damage, production of the daily newspaper is continuing in Mt. Airy, and that means later arrival times to subscribers, a fact SI publisher Sherry Matthews said was unavoidable.
“At this point, we are just thankful that we have some place to print our paper,” Matthews stressed. “We are terribly sorry for any inconvenience to our subscribers, but we hope they understand the dire situation we have been in since Hurricane Matthew.”
As in Sampson, the hurricane dumped over a foot of water in Robeson County, flooding Lumberton and the surrounding area. Flood waters overtook the newspaper and forced the shutdown of production at the facility, delaying The Sampson Independent’s Sunday paper and forcing a change in print facilities for the time being.
The SI was finally able to deliver a Sunday-Tuesday edition Tuesday around noon thanks to sister paper The Mt. Airy News, which has become the temporary print facility for the SI as well as The Robesonian.
“We are grateful to Mt. Airy for taking us on so unexpectedly. Because of them, we are able to get a newspaper out to our subscribers each day,” Matthews attested.
But because of the 3 1/2-hour-plus one way drive from Mt. Airy to Clinton, the newspaper won’t reach newsstands and subscribers’ homes until after 11 a.m. each day.
“We want our paper in everyone’s hands by 7 a.m. each day, but because of this unavoidable situation, it is coming a little later than normal,” Matthews said. “Over the next week, staff at The Robesonian will be assessing the damage done to its press. Once that is done, we will know how long this situation will continue. I anticipate it will be at least a couple of weeks.
“We are asking everyone to bear with us during this time, understanding that the situation is one no one can help.”