We’ve had a lot of wonderful kids deliver Wednesday Journal over the nearly 30 years of our existence. Some of them have grown up and gotten full-time jobs here. But as all the carrier families now know, that era is coming to an end.

Be clear, we don’t do this lightly. We are as supportive of the idea of kids getting work experience and earning their first paychecks as you are. It is one of the special connections the Journal has made with hundreds of Oak Park families over the decades.

Moving to the mail is one aspect of a series of small, interrelated changes we are making to improve our business. There are several prudent business reasons for doing this that involve saving some money; building, we hope, paid circulation; and extending our reach into apartments and condos we can’t reach with kids. We also hope to improve our advertising with this move. In this economic climate, that’s vital to our future.

The Journal is one of the last Chicago-area newspapers with youth carriers. We may, in fact, be the last. It has been a great run and a wonderful part of our business.

We would like to honor the hundreds of local kids who have carried the Journal bag, by putting together a testimonial of memories and stories. We’re asking carriers, former carriers and/or their parents to submit short memorials to the passing of the carrier era (200 words, tops).

Deliver (so to speak) your contributions to Ken Trainor (ktrainor@wjinc.com or fax 708-524-0447) or drop them off at 141 S. Oak Park Ave. any time between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, before May 13. We hope to run a selection of them in our May 20 LifeLines section and the rest online.

This was a tough decision. We appreciate your understanding on this one.

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