Too much Free Press

Clarkston News Staff Writer

For many residents around Clarkston, receiving pink bags every Sunday with a free Detroit Free Press, mostly advertisements, is a nuisance.
Independence Township trustees Jose Aliaga and Andrea Schroeder said they’ve been receiving complaints from residents about the paper and questions on how to stop receiving them.
The newspapers are an annoyance to pick up, especially for older and handicapped residents who have trouble getting around, and they’ve been piling up in driveways of residents who are traveling.
Chris Nicholos, a representative of the media company Gannett, which owns the Free Press, said residents wishing to not receive the free mailing can call their customer service department at 800-395-3300.
“It’s just best to go through our customer service department. That way, it gets routed out to what particular route it’s on and what area,” Nicholos said.
This problem isn’t unique to the Clarkston area. Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said he was also getting several complaints from residents about the papers, an issue they resolved this past spring.
Barnett said they warned the Free Press to stop delivering the papers to residents who had already opted out, otherwise the township would ticket them for littering, which they did. The paper then sued.
“Of course they have the right to the free press and free speech, but if a resident says they don’t want the paper, that doesn’t trump their right to throw stuff on people’s yards and driveways,” Barnett said.
They settled the lawsuit with the Free Press and all charges were dropped against Orion Township.
“What they did is they gave us a specific contact person that our residents could call and speak directly with the same person— who’s a manager—and cancel the paper,” Barnett said. “Or if they cancel and it comes again, they can call the same person again.”
He said since then, complaints have decreased dramatically. The manager’s phone number was set up directly for Orion, so Clarkston residents should use the customer service number, 800-395-3300.
Barnett stressed he wasn’t telling anyone to stop delivering papers to residents, just to have a better system for it, such as putting them in the mailbox instead of just throwing papers in yards.
Another option for local residents is to fill out an online form to remove their house from the mailing list. Trustee Schroeder has an active google doc for residents to do this. For the link, you can email her at

2 Responses to "Too much Free Press"

  1. Michael Powell   August 31, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Not much in comments from Independence township supervisor about this, why interview Barnett, he’s not the Independence township supervisor?

    It took numerous calls and littering of my property finally stopped when I threatened to sue Gannett for littering my property.

    I go out for walks daily and I see these “advertising papers” stacking up like cord wood on certain properties that are vacant, for sale, or have elderly residents. Common sense should dictate that if the “advertising paper” is still there from a week ago, they should not throw another paper onto that property. This is a demand that Independence township could make of the distributor, especially when we’re told by the distributor that residents “can only cancel delivery to your own property”. Yet I don’t see this mentioned here.

    Another simple demand that I don’t see mentioned here…Most Independence township residents have paper boxes specifically for papers, but instead these papers are being thrown out of the distributors drivers window, over the top of the car to land in ditches, on lawns, in flower beds, on driveways etc. simply because the distributor is too lazy to place them in the paper box that is provided to them. In the winter time when they get covered up with snow and cause damage to snow blowers how is this the homeowners responsibility to stop?

    If a property owner allow’s these unsolicited “advertisements” to stack up and never removes them from their property, who’s guilty of the “blight” to the neighborhood that they create, the property owner, or the distributor?

  2. John Olsen   August 31, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Don’t waste your time contacting the free press to have them stop trashing the neighborhoods. For years, I have written, emailed and phoned Ronald Cichecki and other circulation personnel requesting no papers or advertising material for my address. I was supposedly assured that no garbage in pink bags would be delivered. I returned from a trip and found TWO pink bags of free press trash dumped in the road at the end on my driveway!!! I finally contacted Ms. Joyce Jenereaux, President and Publisher Detroit Free Press, prior to her retirement, last year, and she sent someone out to pickup all the pink bags in front of my house and the entire neighborhood. Apparently her replacement doesn’t care as the pink trash reappeared recently.

    It’s obvious the free press:

    1. Cannot properly manage distribution
    2. Has no respect for customers and non-customers
    3. Has no respect for the environment
    4. Wastes advertisers dollars.

    Surely there must be a permanent solution to this harassment.


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