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Fri, Mar 20th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

As you read YOUR newspaper today, I hope you enjoy some new elements we have introduced in an effort to stimulate further interactivity with readers in print and online.

Beginning with the March 9 issue of the Fillmore County Journal, we initiated an online reader poll where anyone could vote on whether every effort should be made to reopen the historic Forestville bridge.

You responded with well over 120 votes based on our most recent site statistics, as of early morning Friday, March 20, 2009. In case you missed the results on the front page, there was an overwhelming response in support of doing what is necessary to reopen the bridge.

There are certainly a lot of opinions on this subject, and I'll save mine for the very end of this column.

What I feel is most significant in this situation is how YOUR opinions are shared and published.

Along with the online reader poll, we also initiated the opportunity for readers to offer comments on articles appearing at www.fillmorecountyjournal.com.

Thus far, two people have posted online comments on the March 9 cover story regarding the closing of the Forestville bridge.

We also have an online article comment on Beadrin Youngdahl's March 16 column, which I suggest you read in case you missed it. If you don't crack a smile at that one, then you may want to check your pulse.

And, you know what? If you don't like Beadrin's column, or my column, for that matter, feel free to post your comments online.

While introducing these online reader polls and online article comment posting options, we have also invested substantial resources in two other features we think you will grow to enjoy.

First, if you go to page seven, you'll see a hilarious picture of two dogs sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle. This is YOUR newspaper, and we want to see YOUR letters to the editor on this page and YOUR photos in features like "Something To Smile About!"

Consider this new feature YOUR print version of the famed television show, "America's Funniest Home Videos."

Speaking of videos, that's the other feature I wanted to share with you.

As you visit YOUR Journal website every day or every week, whatever your routine, you'll notice video additions to the homepage.

In the past week, thanks to contributing writer Jade Wangen, we have a video of the half-time show of the March 10, 2009 Fillmore Central vs. Lanesboro boys basketball game at the Mayo Civic Center.

This video, receiving an average of more than 300 click-throughs per day, has inspired us to venture into the realm of video journalism, in addition to the great stories we provide in print every week.

As you navigate today's paper, you'll notice references to videos such as the tour of the Lanesboro Historical Museum.

And, of course, you'll find video interviews relating to the Forestville bride.

We encourage you to explore the interactive collaboration between the newspaper and the website, and, as always, give us YOUR feedback.

Regarding what to do about the Forestville bridge, politics aside, it often comes down to money -- which is currently in short supply.

I don't know what it's going to cost to either repair the current bridge or build a new one, but I've heard a variety of large baseless figures thrown around.

If all else fails, we can put a jump on each side of the river, and establish a minimum speed limit of 90 mph. There's more than one way to skin a bridge.

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