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Editor's Note - Optic printing moves north

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By Martin Salazar

Saying goodbye to friends is never easy. Over the last two weeks the Optic has had to say goodbye to seven part-time employees.

They are people you likely don’t know — people who, up until last month, worked behind the scenes making sure that all of your inserts, Homes & Property, American Profile and circulars, made it into your newspaper.

A breakdown of our press in late November forced us to start printing the Optic at our sister newspaper in Los Alamos. The Optic’s press has since been fixed, but it became apparent that it would need major upgrades in the near future. With the price tag for those upgrades hovering near the six-figure mark, our parent company, LCNI, began weighing the possibility of shuttering our printing plant and having the Los Alamos Monitor take over printing of the Optic.

Since then, we have been working out the kinks and trying to determine whether a consolidated printing plant would be a viable option for us. Earlier this month, the decision was made to close the Optic’s printing plant for good.

To be clear, the Optic itself isn’t closing. Readership remains strong, with our circulation growing and our online audience continuing to expand.  

Our business and editorial operations will continue as they have been. We will continue to provide you with the news and commentary you have come to expect from us.

Printing plant consolidations are happening all over the country as newspapers try to figure out ways to become more efficient. One of the benefits of printing our paper in Los Alamos is that our color has never been better, and we have more flexibility in the number of pages for each section. The Optic press was capable of printing eight pages per section. The Los Alamos press can print 12 pages per section.

Still, closing the Optic’s plant means that besides handling the printing of our paper, the Los Alamos Monitor has taken over the task of inserting circulars into the Optic.

Unfortunately, that meant the loss of seven part-time inserting jobs at the Optic. I met with each  employee over the last two weeks and shared the news that our printing plant would be shuttered. I can’t say that they were happy, but most of them realized that it was coming.

In recognition of their years of service and dedication to the Optic, each has been offered a severance package.

My office is directly behind the facility where our press sits. Each time the press started up, I would hear its distinct sounds — the bells and steady hum.

I will miss those sounds. But I will miss my conversations with Michael Pacheco, who doubled as our custodian, David Johnson and the rest of the crew even more. I will miss rubbing elbows with them on Election Nights, as we all worked frantically to get the paper out by our 4 a.m. post office deadline.

To all of those folks, Michael, David, Valentina Luna, Anna Aragon, Emmanuel Jones, Theresa Tapia and Steve Baca, I thank you for your hard work and dedication and wish you well.

 Martín Salazar is interim editor and general manager of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 425-6796 or by e-mail to msalazar@lasvegasoptic.com