Dear Readers,Today marks the end of a long run for one of America’s favorite columnists – Ann Landers.Eppie Lederer, the real Ann Landers, died June 22. But she worked well in advance on her columns, so we have continued to run the stockpile of her original columns. The last one appears today.Like a lot of Americans, Ann Landers’ advice helped shape my thinking and values growing up. She was best known for her get-with-it advice to “Wake up and smell the coffee.” But what I liked best about Ann was her willingness to correct bad advice based on the feedback she got from readers.She also printed many short and sweet descriptions and checklists, from how to avoid stress to how to recognize success (reprinted today). Many of these lists have been carried around in billfolds until they become tatters, then Ann reprinted them again.Behind the scenes, Ann had a devoted and talented staff, and they will write an updated version of the Ann Landers column starting Monday.Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar will co-write a new column called “Annie’s Mailbox.” It’s full of the same practical advice on modern living offered by Ann Landers.Mitchell started working at 19 as a typist for Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1969. Mitchell later became Lederer’s personal secretary, office manager and researcher for the column.”I had to become a very good sleuth,” Mitchell said. “It is the key to writing the column.”Sugar joined the Ann Landers staff in 1973, fresh out of college. She started doing research and clerical tasks and moved into bookkeeping. Sugar left the job from 1979 to 1988 to start her family. On her return, her duties increased. She began selecting letters for publication, researching answers and editing the package into the column’s format.Mitchell and Sugar are now teamed up to provide answers to “Dear Annie” letters from across the country. Together they select and research questions, then write their advice with a one-of-a-kind modern voice.”Annie’s Mailbox” will appear in the Post Independent Monday through Friday.On Sunday, we will run a different advice column, “Dear Prudence,” written by Eppie Lederer’s daughter, Margo Howard.Howard started her writing career at the Chicago Tribune, then moved to the Sun-Times to write a syndicated social commentary column. She moved to Los Angeles in 1977 and worked as a free-lance magazine writer.For the past four years, she has been writing “Dear Prudence” for Bill Gates’ online opinion magazine, “Slate.”In it, she answers readers’ questions about life and love in a straightforward, often irreverent manner.Howard lets her readers ramble a bit more than her mother did. Her column opens a fascinating window to see how other folks live their lives.Time moves on. Ann Landers couldn’t last forever. But her hosts, Creators Syndicate, have put together an appealing replacement package for readers.I hope you agree.Just a reminder.Our new arts and events editor is Donna Daniels. She is the go-to person for all news and events briefs, business, church and people briefs. You can reach her at 945-8515, ext. 520.And she is taking submissions for the new Sunday feature, “Mountain Mailbag,” to be launched on Sunday, Aug. 4.Send your goofy pet pictures, big fish and funny stories to email@example.com. Be sure to include your name and phone number, and correct spellings for all the people, pets and places in your photos.Heather McGregor is the managing editor of the Post Independent.
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