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I was reminded this week of the rapidly approaching change of seasons as I dusted the snowflakes off the Halloween decorations.

With that in mind, there are a couple seasonal topics I want to share with you.

Reader Advisory Board

For a year and a half, the News Tribune has hosted monthly Reader Advisory Board meetings, where members of the community and News Tribune staffers discuss issues and challenges facing our community. And it's that time of year when we are looking for new members to join the board.

The Reader Advisory Board is comprised of members of our Editorial Board, who are staff members of Central Missouri Newspapers and whose names appear daily on the Opinion page, as well as five members of the community.

The community members represent a variety of life experiences and positions within the community. They serve a one-year term on the board; their compensation for attending the meeting on the first Wednesday of the month is lunch and the opportunity to share their views on today's topics, as well as respond to others' views.

From these meetings, we have formed editorial stances made on our Opinion page, generated news story ideas on the themes of the topics, as well as offered Reader Advisory Board members the opportunity to write columns on topics of interest to them.

Two of the community members — Pam Murray and Jeff Holzem — have completed their one-year term on the current Reader Advisory Board, and we're beginning the search for two new members.

But before I lay out some of the parameters for the new board members, I want to thank Jeff and Pam for their thoughtful and engaging participation on the board. They brought unique perspectives and truly elevated the discussions on many topics.

As Pam and Jeff depart the board, our goal remains the same: to create a board that is diverse in its views, experiences and passions.

I have been asking members of the board, as well as community members, for suggestions to fill the open positions. This column also stands as an invitation to add your name or an acquaintance's name to the list to be considered. Suggestions can be sent to me at gary@newstribune.com. The deadline for consideration is Nov. 15; the first board meeting for the new members will be Dec. 4.

Inclement weather policy

The dusting of snow we received last week foreshadows the winter weather we face in the months ahead. And snow- and ice-packed roads often create a challenging environment for delivery of the News Tribune every morning.

With that in mind, I wanted to share a couple resources that can ensure you receive your daily news from the News Tribune.

If you're a seven-day subscriber, you have full access to our website seven days a week, as well as our e-edition, which is a replica edition of our daily paper. The replica edition allows you to flip through the pages of the News Tribune just as you would your printed paper. It also allows you the opportunity to zoom in on type or images to get a better view if you've misplaced those pesky eyeglasses again.

Gaining access to that account is as simple as clicking on the "sign in" button at the top of newstribune.com. On the next screen, click "Activate Your Digital Access Now" if you are a seven-day subscriber. If you're not a subscriber and wish to become one, you can do that on the same screen.

Our website is a metered website, in that we allow non-subscribers three free article views a month, then encourage them to subscribe so they can gain full access to our stories and photographs. We believe journalism is vital to the health of a community, but it also requires an investment of the community. That investment is used to pay the journalists who work diligently to keep the community informed and engaged.

We do offer a couple options for readers who are not currently subscribers in hopes they will sample our content and discern the value it offers.

If you're not a subscriber, but wish to be updated on headlines from today's stories, we offer newsletters for a variety of topics that can provide you that information. You can opt in to any or all of our newsletters by going online to newstribune.com/newsletters.

There are also times when we produce stories concerning immediate public safety issues. Perhaps it's road closings, police activities such as manhunts or Amber Alerts, natural disasters and the available resources to help those most affected.

For these sort of stories, our policy is to give access to subscribers and non-subscribers in an effort to ensure accurate, timely information is in the hands of the entire community.

We are driven by a desire to be the source of information to engage, entertain and inspire the community and do appreciate the investment our subscribers have made in our work and in the community. We also welcome feedback and suggestions on how to more effectively pursue that mission.

Gary Castor is the managing editor of the Jefferson City News Tribune. His email address is gary@newstribune.com.

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