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#1 User is offline   Eric 

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 04:43 PM

Davis newspaper publisher, 8, ready to retire after one year


After meeting his goal of producing a year's worth of copy, the 8-year-old publisher of a Davis newspaper has decided to move on to other ventures.

"I told everyone that I'm retiring," said Finnegan O'Toole Boire, a third-grader who writes and delivers the Weekly Block.

Finn has new goals. He plans to create his own video game and wants to sell his colorful drawings of birds and space aliens.

But this week, he is focused on putting out his 52nd and final issue.

He's invited his neighbors on Miller Drive in Davis to help him make deliveries Saturday, followed by a cupcake party in his front yard.

With his mop of light brown hair, Finn sat in his living room Wednesday, typing away on his blue-and-white Apple laptop.

His top headline: A big "Thanks!" to all his supporters.

That's followed by a story titled "Readers Across the World." After competitors, including The Bee, described his efforts last spring, Finn found himself with subscribers as far away as Tunisia and New Zealand.

They receive his work by e-mail or by logging onto his Web site:

After The Bee's story, Finn was featured on local and national news programs.

Producers for Jay Leno and Martha Stewart called, but Finn said he wasn't at his best and didn't get invited to their shows.

"I was a bit too exhausted from all the media," he said. "Sometimes it just gets to ya."

Finn's father, lawyer Richard Boire, remembered his son "walking around the back yard talking to Leno's producer. After 10 minutes, he wanted to go play."

Finn might not have made it to Hollywood. But week in and week out, he has covered the news in his own small part of the world.

There's been crime, from a residential break-in to trees toilet-papered at Halloween.

"Cops staking neighborhood," read one headline. The story described police "hiding in Mrs. Sandler's garden" trying to catch college students who were shooting off fireworks.

He wrote a two-part history of Miller Drive and interviewed a 97-year-old neighbor, who remembered dusty streets and pheasant hunters in what is now central Davis.

His favorite story?

"Pet chart," he said with a grin. He surveyed his neighbors and compiled a list of their creatures, from a leopard gecko to a fire-bellied toad.

Like other publishers, Finn has seen advertisers come and go. One car dealer took out ads at $10 an issue, but stopped after just two weeks.

"They kind of jumped on board and then jumped off," he said.

A young writer quit suddenly.

One week, Finn had a high fever and managed to write only a weather report.

His mother, Wrye Sententia, delivered the paper that Saturday. She said it was a rare instance when Finn didn't do it all himself.

Sententia, a writing instructor at the University of California, Davis, said Finn's writing skills and confidence have improved over the past year.

Neighbors who look forward to each issue have asked Finn to reconsider his retirement, she said.

Finn said he has mixed feelings about retiring but is proud of his achievement.

He thinks it will really hit him when he delivers his final papers Saturday.

"It just doesn't feel like a big accomplishment yet," he said. "I'm still working."

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