The Sampson Independent will finally arrived at subscribers’ doorsteps and at newspaper stands mid-day Tuesday, a combination of a full Sunday paper and a Tuesday edition, the first newspapers that could be printed because of heavy flooding and power outages due to Hurricane Matthew.
Heavy rainfall from the hurricane delayed delivery of Sunday’s Sampson Independent and other Civitas Media newspapers printed at The Robesonian production plant in Lumberton, which was forced to shut down due to extremene flooding and power outages. Continuous news reports about the storm, school closings and other issues surrouding the hurricane’s aftermath were delivered to readers via the newspaper’s website and its Facebook page.
Increasing the problems in getting the printed product to residents was road closures across Robeson, Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson counties, which made it impossible to deliver a newspaper to the Independent offices even if printing was possible.
Because of the issues in Lumberton, the Independent is being printed this week in Mt. Airy at another Civitas Media newspaper production site.
“Because of the nearly four-hour delivery time from Mt. Airy to Clinton, subscribers should expect to receive their paper later this week than normal, but they will receive a newspaper thanks to Ron Clausen and the folks in Mt. Airy,” SI publisher Sherry Matthews said.
“We are grateful to the Mt. Airy folks, and our thoughts and prayers are with the folks at The Robesonian who are dealing with a flooded building, relocations and their own attempts to get their printed product out each day. Matthew packed a powerful punch to everyone here and across our state,” Matthews said. “A lot of people, including folks in this great community, are suffering because of this storm.”
Newspaper officials at The Robesonian site notified The Independent staff Saturday that the production plant and the newspaper officer were flooded, and that water was up to the windows of delivery trucks in the back parking lot.
“It’s really bad down here,” said production manager Mike Skipper Saturday afternoon. “We’ve got water in the building, in the press room, everywhere. It’s just a mess.”
The Robesonian’s North Roberts Avenue building began to flood early Saturday afternoon and the power was shut off in order to prevent any further hazards.
Even with a printed paper delivered here Tuesday, Matthews said all subscribers might not receive the edition.
“It is our intent to get the newspaper delivered to all our subscribers, but there are serious problems with all the flooding and washed out roads in our county; we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the safety of our carriers. We urge residents to bear with us and know we will deliver to them just as quickly as we safely can,” Matthews said.