In Maine: A Town and Its Paper

Some years back, James Russell Wiggins, editor of the Ellsworth American in Maine, wanted to prove to readers how pitifully slow was the U.S. Postal Service. So he proposed a race: he sent letters to a nearby village, one through the Postal Service and others by oxcart, canoe and bicycle. At the pedals was a local celebrity, Writer E.B. White. The Postal Service lost every race, and Wiggins gloated on the front page.

That was big news. Big news elsewhere, though, often doesn't seem quite so pressing in Ellsworth. The October stock-market crash got one sentence last fall; the blueberry industry,...

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