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From the Publisher: Good news, bridge fans: Goren will return!

Last week I asked readers which of several lost features they missed most. The Goren bridge column topped the list of the 30 or so people who responded. While that’s a very small percentage of our readership, their feelings for the column and the newspaper were strong, so we’re going to stretch our budget and bring the column back.

Perhaps I should have foreseen this outcome, because when we asked readers earlier in the year about an array of features we were considering for cancellation, the bridge players were outspoken. I’ve even heard tall tales of editors elsewhere who tried canceling the column and vanished, just like the feature – only to return from the mists later to reverse their decision.

What I did not foresee was how many readers would pine for baseball box scores, the second-most missed feature. Here I may be guilty of projecting my views on the world: I’m a baseball fan, too, but an impatient one, I suppose, because these days I’m inclined to read them online in real time.

We have restored baseball boxes for the playoffs – go Sox! – and will reevaluate our options over the off-season. I can make no promises on this front, though, because issues of space and staffing are tied up in this decision. With a need to save money on the one hand and a desire to add local features on the other, something had to give – and a reduced Scoreboard page, on which box scores reside, was among the results.

As for fans of Dennis the Menace, I am sorry. Though your numbers were relatively small, your messages made clear how much the little mischief-maker means to you. I even learned of one local man, now in his 90s, who has contributed gags for the strip. In Dennis’s case, however, we are going to move on, in hopes that in time, our newer comics develop loyal followings, too.

To this note I’d add one final piece of context: As I was hearing from 30 unhappy readers in response to my call, Opinion Editor Felice Belman received 64 applications from community members eager to join our board of contributors.

I take this as a positive measure of engagement, an indication that a central component of our recent changes – the new Forum section, and the community interaction that drives it – is taking hold.

(Mark Travis can be reached at 369-3250 or mtravis@cmonitor.com)

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