Reporters report, editors edit, printers print and there’s a new edition of The Morning Star. The last vital link is the 16 drivers and 200 carriers who get the paper to the readers.
Roberta Draht, who has been delivering the paper since last September, starts her day at 4 a.m.
“I have to have my coffee,” she said. Then she checks the weather outside and dresses for comfort before she sets out on the first of her three routes, one in Bella Vista, one on Middleton Mountain and one in Coldstream, a total of 393 papers.
She’s a pro, with a paper route from the time she was eight until she was 20 and doing her degree in psychology at UBCO. Now she does the paper routes, which take five to six hours, before her later-in-the day job as an education assistant at Kelowna Heritage Christian School.
“Getting out early gives me energy. I remember when I was doing exams at university and the exercise would calm my anxiety and give me energy. I like the outdoors and seeing the seasons change and the animals. I see deer and quail and other birds and the horses and cows in the fields. People are good about keeping dogs in but I was bitten by a dog once on my former route. There have been bear warnings but I have never seen a bear,” she said.
“I like meeting the other people who are out early, at home or walking, and watching the sun come up. The people I deliver to make me feel special and say they appreciate what I do.”
Winter brings some challenges. Sometimes she’s out before the snow plows or sidewalks and driveways are cleared and has had to dig her papers out of snowbanks more than once.
“The roads are a big concern. I make sure I have good winter tires on my car and that it is going to start but sometimes it’s impossible to get done on time,” said Draht.
She has found some unexpected benefits.
“Walking and having this time to myself makes me feel relaxed and ready for the day. I have more strength and endurance and I’ve lost weight and sleep better. It helps me do my other job better. I just feel better about myself. I’m the kind of person who gets stressed easily and this is so therapeutic. It makes me feel good.”
Draht plans to keep the routes for at least the next few years.
“I really like the people I work with at The Morning Star. They’re amazing, always really kind and supportive. I always do the best that I can and I like knowing that I am bringing people something they are interested in and look forward to reading.”
Morning Star circulation manager Tammy Stelmachowich appreciates all the carriers and drivers.
“The drivers start delivery to the drop-off points in different zones at 9 p.m. and work in shifts through the night,” she said. “Roberta is very good. Not only does she do her own routes but she will sub for other routes as needed. She is very reliable and goes above and beyond.
“Our carriers range in age from nine to 70s and they all do their jobs well in all kinds of weather. They represent The Morning Star to the public and without them we couldn’t get the paper out.”