Column: Be careful when moving cheese around

The results are in! We asked readers to tell us which comics were their favorites, and the faithful responded.

I was recently given the task of creating space for advertising on the Amusements page in our continuing efforts to keep your Miner affordable. Like most businesses, we've seen our costs rise dramatically in the last several months, especially the price of paper. At the same time, many businesses which support your local paper by providing advertising revenue have seen their costs rise as well, and they've had less dollars available to promote their products and/or services.

We've been forced to cut back on available space for editorial content, so we decided to shorten up the weather on page 2 and take out two comic strips to create advertising space to give us a little more room on other pages.

I know from past experience that it's dangerous to move people's cheese, especially when that cheese is their comics. I recollect a time four years ago when, in full bonehead fashion, we decided to cut out the Amusements page one day after we discovered that a full-page ad had not been placed in the paper.

As most people know, you can't just add one page to a newspaper. You have to add two or four, and being that most of the editors were gone when the problem was discovered, it was decided that either the Opinion page or Amusements page had to go. I would have taken out the former. That's one of the first rules you learn as an editor at a daily newspaper. You don't mess with people's comics.

But I wasn't there. And the editor couldn't get a hold of me, so he chose option No. 2, and boy did we receive a call or two that afternoon and the next morning. At one point the next day, the circulation manager took me aside. Wiping a tear from his eye, he begged me to never let this happen again. It was tough seeing a grown man cry.

Which is why I asked you, the readers, which cartoons you liked the best. The two lowest vote-getters would be axed, and have been, for good. When the economy improves, I will work to get two new comics added to the page.

By the way, the comic strips on the left side of the page are in the order that readers chose; Baby Blues garnered the most votes, Grand Ave. the least. (Actually, Dilbert and Elderberries got the least, which is why they are no longer in the Miner. It wasn't close if you were wondering. Those two lost by considerable amounts.)

I appreciate the time, money and effort readers put into telling us which comics were their favorites. I personally read each submission, those sent in and those on e-mail or on the Web site. Some readers put comments next to their picks, and I enjoyed reading those.

A few readers asked us to bring back Cathy. I might have considered it, but at least half of the people who wanted the strip back spelled Cathy with a K, a strip I'm not familiar with.

My next task is to do something with the meetings. We struggle some days to find room to run them. Look for a box soon asking readers to list their five favorite meetings.

I'm kidding, of course.