Friday, December 2, 2011

Want Ma and Pa stores around? Shop at them

Originally published in the Tuscarawas County edition of the Bargain Hunter.
I’m not a schmaltzy, small-town newspaper guy who thinks clipping coupons is a groovy thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.

I could never in good faith suggest coupon clipping as a legitimate pastime, but I certainly wouldn’t pass judgment on you if that was your thing. You know, different strokes.

I do, however, buy into the “Small Business Saturday” initiative, which is encouraging shoppers to try finding a Christmas present or two at a locally owned retail outlet. If you take a good look at this newspaper on this Thanksgiving weekend, you won’t find many (if any) ads from the national big box stores.

Regardless, those bully behemoths probably will get most of your money this holiday season. Bet me. Go on.
And even if those big box stores have circulars inside the paper, they’re paying no more than it would cost to send those circulars to you directly by third class mail. In other words, the papers don’t make a lot of money distributing those circulars.
So, here’s the deal. It’s the little guys who are helping to keep me in this newspaper because they buy enough ads to keep the operation profitable, which is good because then the Bargain Hunter can pay me.
This is not rocket science.

OK, I know that’s selfish and I’m certainly not asking you to forego that trip to the “Canton Strip.” (See, I know the lingo.) But I’m telling you, buying from the little guys, too, will help spread the cheer and perhaps keep me in this publication at least for a few more months.

Oh, happy Thanksgiving.

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Holmesville, is at it again. A couple of weeks ago, he sent me another “constituent survey” which asks a number of leading questions, including “Lowering taxes for individuals and small businesses stimulates job creation – agree, disagree, other?”


Or, how about, “Healthcare reform is needed to lower costs and include coverage for pre-existing conditions, but the government-run programs, included in the Affordable Care Act do not address these underlying issues – agree, disagree, other?”

Double hmmm.

Come on, Rep. Gibbs. You can do better than that.

Seriously, if we all filled them out and sent them back to him, what exactly would it tell him about how we really feel about things?
Would he think he pulled a fast one on us? (“Dumb voters.”)

Would it give him impetus to vote the party line? (“Aha. Just what I thought!”)


And, of course, here’s the big kicker.

He’s not paying for the return postage.

Here’s hoping the Carroll County commissioners have nothing but success in operating Atwood Lake Resort & Conference Center. The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is all but giving the commissioners the lodge and surrounding land, including the drilling rights, in an effort to rid itself of a budget drain.

The MWCD has lost an average of $150,000 annually since it opened the lodge in 1965.

The Carroll commissioners said a key to the gift was the drilling rights, although there will be heck to pay if they approve a gas well within view of the lake.

Meanwhile, the commissioners say they’ll hire a management team to operate the facility and hopefully fix its outdated business model.

The city of Uhrichsville has discovered that a foray into a private-sector type amenity – the city’s water park – can be an expensive proposition. Profits have not lived up to expectations. It’s an old story.

In 2009 it had a net $14,000 profit against a $300,000 mortgage payment.

The city is now discussing the possibility of placing a levy on the ballot to help cover the water park’s costs. I’ll go out on a limb here. If 70 percent of Dover voters are against building a new high school with the help of a $9.5 million grant, the odds that Uhrichsville voters would agree to a levy to help fund the water park are slim to none.

Actually, that’s not going out on a limb. That’s the reality of our culture today. Makes a lot of us want to go live on a desert island.

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