When our readers pick up The Smithville Herald, they expect accurate, objective community reporting. You expect coupons, advertising promotions from local and national retailers and special sections highlighting topics as diverse as family life and tourism.

The bottom line is you expect value for your subscription dollars; and we work hard to make sure you’re getting it each and every week. We also are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to offer value-added content that you will find useful and relevant, but won’t cost you any more than you are already paying.

That’s why four and a half years ago The Herald entered a joint distribution agreement with The Kansas City Star that allowed our subscribers to receive a complimentary Sunday Star. We liked the idea of providing an avenue for our customers to receive this added value and of supporting newspaper readership in general.

Last week, The Star let us know the agreement would be ending with the calendar year. The Dec. 25 Star is the final one being delivered to Herald subscribers as part of the agreement.

In practice, the agreement was a mixed bag for our subscribers. It was great for some, but the delivery of the Sunday paper was inconsistent for others. The Herald staff had no control over The Star delivery other than to pass along addresses to The Star circulation department when we had new subscribers and complaints as we received them. When some readers would go weeks without a Sunday Star, there was little we could do. Our credibility with those readers was understandably affected.

What matters now is that most Herald subscribers have been receiving the complimentary Sunday paper and soon they no longer will be. Part of the value they expected when they subscribed is no longer available through The Herald.

Therefore, it only makes sense for us to give something back. We will be glad to extend existing Herald subscriptions for three months for no charge. That means you’ll get 13 free papers. All you have to do is ask.

But you do have to ask. We won’t automatically extend every subscription. Our software makes that next to impossible without going in one by one and making the extension.

We do want you to get what you expect when you sign up with us. And if you don’t, we want to make it right.

We’re confident that although many of you have liked the added bonus of receiving a Sunday Star, you subscribe to The Herald for the community news and sports coverage, the ads from hometown businesses, the Smart Source coupons, weekly inserts from local retailers and monthly features from supplements including American Profile, Relish, Spry Living and Athlon Sports. Tell us if that isn’t so.

Our subscribers will be receiving a mailer with an offer for the free three-month extension. Please take the opportunity to give us some feedback about The Herald when you return the completed bottom portion of the letter to our office — either in person or by mail.

We’d like to know what you like about our print edition, but we encourage you to take a look at our website, too. Subscribers have full access to The Herald website (www.SmithvilleHerald.com), where you can find web-exclusive community content, as well as state and national news and sports reports from TownNews.com Content Exchange member papers.

The Herald has been the Smithville community’s newspaper for 128 years, and we are committed to being a valuable news source for our readers for many years to come.

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