The Papa/cousin sledding  crew took a break from the action to stop for a photo.  Shown left to right are Bob Hine, JR Hine, Hayden Bultsma, Dawson Bultsma and Robbie Hine.

A couple February’s ago on a Sunday afternoon, my husband Jason and I piled into the pickup with our kids Robbie and JR, eager to head out for some sledding adventures at my in-law’s place south of town. We had just received a good amount of fluffy, white snow and Bob and Cindy had invited us to sled on the hill in the pasture west of their house. 

We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day: sunlight spilled across the prairie and without so much as a breath of wind, temperatures in the high 20s felt downright balmy.

Wide eyes and huge smiles led the boys down the hill as they zoomed over the fresh, white blanket covering the hillside. Powdery snow created a glittery trail behind the kids as abundant sunshine formed dazzling, diamond-like reflections across the pasture. We even had the luxury of snowmobile rides back to the top of the hill, courtesy of my father-in-law, Bob. 

With a few sledding runs under our belts, the now-familiar nagging tug of the next newspaper issue’s to-do list pulled me from that moment on the sledding hill to thinking about all I had yet to get done before the next day’s press deadline. 

I reluctantly told the sledding crew that I had to head into the office for a bit, so I’d have to miss the rest of the runs along with the post-sledding hot chocolate. The disappointment in JR’s eyes gave me pause, but I knew I didn’t have a choice, there was work to do and time was ticking. 

“It’s a bummer you have to work every Sunday,” Bob said. 

I agreed but didn’t think there was anything I could do about it with a Monday press deadline.

After pausing for a few seconds I could tell he was devising a plan. “Why don’t you just change your publishing day?”

I immediately started laughing, shaking my head as I told him there was no way my readers would go for that. 

“Bob, people have been used to a Tuesday paper for over 40 years now,” I said, matter of factly. “There’s just no way.” 

He told me he really didn’t think it would be that big of a deal and I humored him by listening to his idea for a few minutes. I said I might think about it but I totally shrugged off the idea as I got in the pick up and steered it towards the True Dakotan office on Main Street to get to work.

Over the course of the past two years, I’ve thought quite a bit about Bob’s suggestion for both personal and professional reasons. Especially last year, with important news that affects our area communities transpiring at Monday evening board of education and city council meetings. 

With a Monday afternoon press deadline, the ink is already dry for that week’s issue as those meetings unfold. When the story comes out in the following week’s paper, it’s essentially old news. 

That’s when the light bulb turned on.  The combination of being able to improve both the quality of my family life and the timeliness of the news in the paper started to make a lot of sense. Maybe there was something to this publishing-a-day-later idea.  

Two years later, I can’t believe it, but I am finally heeding Bob’s advice. 

Too often I’ve felt that I’m missing out and putting too great a strain on the relationships I cherish with my husband and kids. And when the community is in search of timely, factual information about school and city business, I want to be able to deliver it on point and on time. 

So here we are,  on the third anniversary of purchasing the True Dakotan and I am changing the newspaper’s publishing day to Wednesday, beginning with next week’s issue the first week of March.

I realize that change can be tough to navigate — especially after 43 years. But I hope that our readers here in South Dakota and across the country will eventually welcome the idea of publishing on Wednesdays. This change will allow more weekend flexibility for all newspaper staff, ensuring that the in-depth, local coverage our community expects can be delivered for years to come.

When I first announced the news in the paper two issues ago, I was really nervous about reader feedback. But I have been pleasantly surprised to receive only positivity and encouragement so far. Thank you very much for that.

I am happy to make another announcement: readers in Wessington Springs will continue to receive the paper in their mailbox every week on Wednesdays, including the Springs Food Market grocery store ad. 

Thanks to a special arrangement with the local post office and newspaper staff Don Grubb and Delia Atkinson’s dedication to coming in a little earlier on paper mailing day, subscribers on the three routes in Wessington Springs won’t see a change when it comes to getting their paper in the mail. 

My counter copy folks and out of town and state subscribers, however, will have to shift their schedules. Instead of counter copies being delivered to area businesses on Tuesdays, the True Dakotan will be delivered and mailed on Wednesdays. 

Deadlines will remain the same: Ads, Fridays at 5 p.m.; Letters to the Editor, Friday at 5 p.m.; News Items, Mondays at 10 a.m.

I truly appreciate all of the support from near and far in the form of subscriptions, advertisements and letters to the editor. I’d like to express my gratitude in advance for making the adjustment with the new publishing day, thank you.  

As for my father-in-law’s idea two years ago, I definitely didn’t acknowledge it as anything but a little wacky back then. After many months of pondering the notion, I suppose I can finally admit that he did have a pretty good idea —  one that will make a big difference in the quality of our family’s life and also help ensure that we can continue to tell our communities’ stories well into the future.

It may have taken a couple of years to realize it, but I’m glad he brought it up in the first place. Thank you Bob.  

Kristi Hine