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Last updated: June 24. 2014 3:11PM - 235 Views

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For decades, The Sampson Independent has offered myriad interactive ways for readers to be a part of the newspaper and, in turn, to help the community.


In our rich 90-year history, there have been countless fun activities that readers have participated in, from bumper stickers displayed on motor vehicles that earned you cash prizes and much-sought after comic umbrellas to the long-time monthly Baby Contest that provided extra funds to local non-profit agencies and bragging rights to dozens upon dozens of children. There have been others, like the Lucky Egg Hunt contest, which had members of our staff hiding an elusive — and colorful — egg somewhere in the county and providing readers clues that would lead them to the treasure, and the Find a Star initiative, which had folks searching for a stamped star on certain newspapers.


Many of these contests have come and gone, bringing lots of fun and excitement through the years, our way of treating readers to the lighter side of the news. Some have been replaced with more modern, web and newspaper based contests, like our Cutest Kids Contest, now under way, Cutest Pets and MyOwn Community Partnership endeavors, also ongoing at this time.


Cutest Kids voting ends Saturday, with prizes being awarded shortly thereafter to the most adorable kids you’ll ever see in several different categories. That contest is always popular and heavily supported as evidenced by the great businesses which are taking part — Ford of Clinton, Sampson Regional Medical Center, White Swan, Ellis Lewis Auto, Sampson County Schools, Perrine, Wiley and Potts Orthodontics and Clinton City Schools.


The MyOwn Community Partnership Program is offering $2,500 in free advertising to the non-profit selected as the newspaper’s partner for the coming year. Agency nominations are being accepted through July 6 at www.myownclinton.com, with the first round of voting beginning on July 13.


And, of course, there’s the ever popular and annual Readers Choice Awards, an opportunity for you, our readers, to pat local businesses on the back for jobs well done. Once called the Best of Sampson and later changed to Readers Choice, this by-ballot-only contest is something that has become a yearly tradition business folks in our community look forward to and readers eagerly seek to become participants in.


Our contest has been around for decades, and while others may try to mimic it, there’s truly only one Readers Choice and that’s the one we’ve been offering year after year for over 30 years. Participants don’t only make the effort to fill out the ballot, they either have to subscribe to the newspaper or buy it from our racks to participate, adding greater value and deeper meaning to those who are selected as the best.


Ballots for the Readers Choice contest are being accepted through Monday, June 30 at 5 p.m., and only one ballot is allowed per person. Winners will be announced on Friday, July 11. Participants have an opportunity at some really nice prizes, courtesy of Clinton Appliance, Subway, Bessie Burger, Happy Belly Deli, Ribeye’s and Sessoms Jewelry. And those who win earn not only a certificate to hang in their business proclaiming them “the Best” by this community’s only true and daily newspaper’s, but a year’s worth of bragging rights given to them by residents and patrons.


All are special contests we offer as a means to allow readers to become actively involved in the community, in the newspaper, with our website and with our social medial site. It’s also a way for them to show support to local businesses and non-profit agencies, all who work together to make Sampson a better place for us all.


So if you haven’t cast a vote for a Cutest Kid or nominated a partner agency yet, do so today. And if you’ve not voted in the Readers Choice awards, pick up a paper and cast your ballot before Monday. Have some fun, win some prizes and accept our thanks for being a part of rich traditions that began many, many years ago and continue today.


Some things, you see, are meant to last forever, just as our loyalty does to you.


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