Tactile gratification—the high-touch experience of turning covers and pages—is said to be one of print’s most enduring appeals. But, the pleasure isn’t universally shared. “For those with chemical intolerances and other illnesses that result in serious health symptoms when exposed to printing inks and papers, it can be difficult to read books, magazines, personal mail, and other materials,” declares Planet Thrive in a post titled “How to read if printing inks and papers make you sick.” Planet Thrive, dedicated to exposing what it believes to be the causes of environmentally based illnesses, reports that some print-intolerant people protect themselves with “reading boxes” cobbled together from kitchenware, glass, and tape. Others have built more elaborate fan-vented viewing chambers like the one seen here. “Off-gassing”—aerating pages before reading—is another tactic. But when phobic behavior starts to verge upon the incendiary, even Planet Thrive draws a line: “Some people have baked their books in the oven but I don’t recommend it; it creates a toxic stink in your kitchen and can be a fire hazard.” The Albany Times Union and The Buffalo News are among New York State media taking notice of the rising alarm about a state budget proposal that would end the sales and use tax exemption for printed promotional matter. (This blog reported on the situation last month and carried a statement from a business coalition opposing the idea.) The Times Union story says that although the proposal is but one of a number of “relatively small-bore revenue raisers” that Democrats are trying to insert into the state’s 2010-2011 budget, its adoption would hit printers hard. The story quotes Rob Cullum, owner of PBR Graphics in Albany, as saying that reimposition of the tax would drive customers to lower-cost printers in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. “You end up with a lot of people out of work," concurs Stephen Zenger, CEO of Buffalo’s Zenger Group, in a statement quoted by The Buffalo News. That story also notes the apprehension felt by John Evans Jr., vice president of Sterling Sommer in Tonawanda. “If the government is looking to squeeze an industry, this is exactly how to do it,” he is quoted as saying. Ray Hammond, the owner of Ray’s Printing and Desktop Publishing in Salisbury, MD, is featured in a story in that city’s The Daily Times about Maryland’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). These are banks, loan funds, credit unions, and venture capital funds certified and capitalized by the U.S. Treasury Department as providers of loans and other kinds of developmental assistance in their communities. According to the story, Hammond is working with one of them, Maryland Capital Enterprises, to obtain a micro-loan for the small business he started last September by maxing out two credit cards as his unemployment benefits were about to expire. Hammond hopes to qualify for the loan in a few months, the story says. A member of The Fraternal Order of Eagles, he offers a 6% discount to organ donors, blood drive participants, and others who can document the help they have given to their fellow citizens. Here’s the perfect riposte to lame jokes and sneering cracks about printing’s supposed dependence on dead trees: a story in Ohio’s Springfield News-Sun about a printing company that hopes to green up its environmental profile by planting 5,000 live ones. The story says that Jeanne Lampe, president and CEO of 3G Graphic Solutions in Springfield, launched the tree-planting program three years ago and will have planted 1,850 of them when the current crop of 500 is in the ground. 3G Graphic Solutions purchases the trees from its local soil and water conservation district and distributes them to businesses and individuals. The company believes that when it reaches its goal of 5,000 trees, their carbon absorption will offset the carbon footprint of the entire plant. Other green initiatives at 3G include the use of environmentally friendly pressroom chemistry and a comprehensive recycling program. Goes Lithographing Co. got a nice writeup last week from the Chicago Tribune, which noted its distinction as one of Chicago’s oldest family-owned businesses. Located on the city’s South Side, the 131-year-old firm is described as “a source of pride for a community that has been more associated with poverty and urban blight than a successful commercial center.” The company, a pioneer in the development of commercial lithography, has long been known for its high-end stock, award, and gift certificates, bordered blanks, event posters, commemorative calendars, and “Glamour Girl” pin-up art. Goes has donated its original stone and plate litho presses to the graphics programs at Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Wisconsin-Stout as well as to the Smithsonian Institution. A replica of a Goes capabilities brochure from 1925 can be downloaded here. Short takes: Tax-exempt, below-market-rate financing secured with the help of Pennsylvania’s Blair County will enable Kristel/Diversapack Inc. of Snyder Township to buy a 10-color press, reports the Altoona Mirror...A story in The Connecticut Post reports that Premier Graphics of Stratford recently acquired The Firm Advantage of Shelton, a personalized printing and mail services company...Dynagraf Inc. has renewed the lease for its 100,900-sq.-ft. headquarters and warehouse in Canton, MA, reports The Patriot Ledger.