BY JESSICA STEELEY
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.