What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Danville's Backyard Burgers closes for good

Backyard Burgers - MY favorite place in town to get a great sandwich, closed it's doors for good today at 3:00 p.m., according to readers who stopped by there for lunch.

I'm REALLY sorry to see them go. Rumor has it they won't be the last restaurant to leave.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Julian's Gift

Frank and Holly Henderson, would like to share a story with you -- Julian's story. At this time of year when so many of us are thinking of giving gifts to children, this seemed like a great opportunity to share how we can give to those who have lost theirs.

In 2006, we learned that we were pregnant with our second child. At 20 weeks, we were told that our unborn son had a genetic defect known as Trisomy 13, which can be fatal. As you can probably imagine, this news was devastating. The doctors did not expect me
to carry full term, but our little one was a fighter. After many sleepless nights and painstaking decisions, we had our son, Julian, at 38 weeks. Frank and I were blessed to have and hold him for a little over an hour before the Lord called Julian home.

During the weeks preceding Julian's birth, we tried to plan ahead for his funeral arrangements, however we found it to be extremely difficult. When the time came to finalize the arrangements we were shocked by the costs. We had to purchase a cemetery plot, a grave marker and pay the funeral home for their services (most of which
they discounted). Without financial assistance from our friends and family, I honestly do not know how we would have laid our son to rest.

This got me wondering. How do other parents do it? We had time to prepare for Julian's death, but not everyone does. How do families do it when a death is unexpected or when there are no friends and family members to offer assistance? That is when we came up with the plan to start a non-profit organization, aimed at assisting families who lose a child under 12 months old.

I cannot begin to tell you how comforted Frank and I were, knowing that Julian had a proper funeral and knowing that we could visit his grave any time we wanted to. And having been through the questions, disbelief, pain and sorrow, Frank and I wanted to be
able to give some peace and comfort to other parents in a similar situation. To lose a child during your life can be like losing a piece of your soul.

If, through this organization, we can help to relieve some of the stress a family feels in planning a funeral for their child, then we know Julian's life, though short, had a purpose. This is why we've decided to call this organization Julian's Gift.

Please see Julian's site for more details: http://www.juliansgift.org/index.html

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My condolences to the recent layoffs at Register & Bee

Three more Register and Bee employees were laid off today. All in circulation. It's no secret circulation is down. But, as usual, layoffs come at Christmas and are devastating to those affected. But you're not alone. Media General is consolidating even more offices and trimming everything but Steve Kaylor's salary. Odd isn't it? How the managers who couldn't keep the paper from spiraling downward by providing value and content, don't suffer....

Several other Danville businesses are laying off as well. eToys, one of the beer distributorships and several other businesses are expected to be making announcements in the coming weeks. And - the rumor that a couple of reporter positions are on the chopping block is still circulating. More stories are being outsourced to free-lancers -including former Register & Bee reporter Susan Elzy - who is no longer with Showcase magazine, but is back at the Register & Bee as a freelancer.

With almost 60 members, Danville Business (by invitation only) is becoming the hot spot for businesses in Danville who want to advertise for free, network with other businesses and get the kind of value added help lacking at the local newspaper. Free to join, free to belong. Look for the new newspaper to come out in January 2009....watch for the launch date here.

With the Register & Bee on its last legs, it won't take much to put that beast out of its misery - a few good writers and the backing of some dissatisfied advertisers - definitely ought to do it!.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Perp walk or Professional?

When the Register & Bee lays people off, they put them through a sort of "perp" walk - shove a box at them, tell them to get their stuff and get out...making them parade through the workplace with their meager belongings in a box while everyone stares at them. Perp walk.

Last Christmas/holiday season, about a dozen employees - several of them with 30+ years of hard, loyal service, were laid off, given 15 minutes to get their stuff and shown the door. Their computers were locked down. They weren't able to get information and files that would have helped them get other jobs. Their jobs were moved to Lynchburg and they were never given the option of transferring to existing jobs at other papers. Temp employees were hired instead.

Thirty years of service and they were treated like criminals - given 15 minutes to get off the premises. I don't think they had police escorts, but other employees have had cops come in and walk them to the door, unnecessary humiliation and embarrassment. I didn't give Steve Kaylor the pleasure. He had to call me at home after I posted this blog and sent him the link. His voice quivered.

So, layoffs are inevitable. The question is, "Will you be a professional? Will you be compassionate?" Will you be kind and treat the employees you have to lay-off with some degree of respect and appreciation for the time they have worked for you? We all understand that layoffs are hard and frightening for everyone - particularly for people who may not be able to find another job. But you can do it with dignity. You can let people know you appreciate them and you can make it a not-so-public and not so criminal exercise, and by publicly acknowledging their contributions.

This year those same employees are remembering last year - and the way they were treated, embarrassed and cast off without a second thought. If you must lay an employee or employees off - do it with dignity and appreciation. Don't do it like the Register & Bee did it - with arrogance and paranoia and total disregard for its employees.

Merry Christmas to all those laid off, fired, abused and mistreated at The Register & Bee over the past year. Be glad you're not there any longer. Stock has plummeted from $75 to a couple of bucks....morale is low, quality is low, the few readers they have complain that it looks like children are laying out the paper....you escaped a sinking ship. Let's all be grateful. Advertisers are pulling out...notice there are no car ads....and it's only going to get worse.

What goes around, comes around.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crafters will be forced out of business next year

If you make craft items, toys or any kind of item that could be construed as a toy, this may be your last Christmas with an income. H.R. 4040, signed into law by President George Bush last August, has just put you out of business.

A friend of mine in the toy industry wrote to tell me that the next industry to go under is the toy industry - not because of any problems in the industry....but because of a new regulation!

The thing is, Rob tells me that the toy industry is in pretty good shape. They're one of the few industries NOT laying people off. People have jobs - for now. But if you are a crafter or in the toy industry, or in an industry that supplies craft stores, lumber, paint or items TO toy manufacturers....get ready to be laid off next year when this regulation goes into effect.

Danville's economy will be affected adversely too. eToys carries a lot of toys made by smaller manufacturers who will be out of work because of this regulation. The Danville Farmer's market - a lot of crafters there will be affected. How many local layoffs or jobs will be impacted? If you sell your items on ebay or esty....you'll have to show proof of testing....How will craft shows all over the country be affected? Or state fairs? Vendors won't be able to manufacture or make their items nor sell them.

As one crafter says:

"So as a crafter this has hit home for me, last night my DH and I, and my mom on the phone.. sat down and read the 68 pages line by line, to see where I and my business fit into this. This affects anyone who sells goods to children under the age of 12, anyone who HAS children under the age of 12, anyone who MAKES goods for children under the age of 12, and anyone who buys things for children under the age of 12."

Rob said,

"I, along with thousands of companies in my industry are hoping just to stay alive past February....and, no, I am not the CEO of Ford or GM. I am not even in the auto or banking industry.

My industry, particularly the niche that I am in is relatively healthy compared to the rest of the economy. However, recent changes in government regulations are putting our $100bn+ industry at risk of complete collapse. I am in the Children's Products business. In particular, I sell toys. Not mass marketed, Chinese toys. Not the ones you read about in the news. Let me explain.

First, let me stress that I have been an avid supporter of strict toy standards. When the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was signed into law I was pleased to have a stronger federal standard. However, like anything else, the devil is in the details. In this case, there are a number of issues that threatens the thousands of businesses, and over 100,000 jobs.

1. Testing Methods: In the coming weeks companies will be required to have new products tested by 3rd parties. Reasonable, right? Unfortunately the method is not so reasonable. A reasonable method would be to test the materials then make the products. If I produce jeans....I should test the materials (denim, buttons, zippers) then make as many different styles as appropriate. If I am a woodworker, I test the wood, test the paints, then make little wooden cows, pigs, lions, and tigers. However, the law says that I am required to test each sku or style of the finished product. At a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars per test, this can add up fast, especially for (1) small, innovative companies that are trying to get introduce new products, (2) larger companies with thousands of skus, and (3) in general companies that specialize in niche markets.

2. Markings: In August 09 new products will be required to have permanent marking on the actual product, indicating where, when, and by what company the product was manufactured. Sounds okay, but do you know how expensive that is for small companies? Did you know that small companies have a pretty good grasp on where and when their products were made. Not only that, if a recall were needed in such a case, you would be dealing with very low numbers...(ie. tens, or may be a few hundred)...not the tens or hundreds of thousands required by companies like Mattel.

3. Complexity & Penalties: The new law is extremely complex. It contains many requirements (few. if any, of which increases the safety of a single toy), requiring certificates for each product to be shipped with each item in a shipment, confusing rules about how often testing is required, and more. The more complex a set of rules, the more difficult it is to do it perfectly, all the time. This is not to say the safety would be jeopardized, more likely a t won't be crossed or an i dotted...but this can cause big problems when the penalties for non-compliance have also been raised in this law (from $5,000 per infraction to up to $100,000), plus possible civil penalties. Who wants to be in a business like that?

That leads me to my next point. Assuming, the small, interesting companies can survive these issues, who wants to? I have better, more interesting things, to do than worry about incredibly complicated and cumbersome rules that do not make my toys any safer. I would move into other markets. So where does that leave the children's products industry? Full of the few mass market toy manufacturers that can survive. Hey! Aren't those the guys that got us into this mess in the first place?"

Educational toys, niche market toys, all kinds of items that you, your kids and the school system depends on - will be impacted because smaller manufacturers can't afford that kind of testing. So - will your job be affected? Better start finding out now. Go to this web site to learn more! http://cpsia-central.ning.com/

Friday, December 5, 2008

Is your business next on the media hit list?

When the mayor of Bluff City couldn't afford to pay a $10,000 bill to a supplier, the supplier sued him to collect. There was no fraud. There was a bad economy and business projections fell. The mayor, who is also a businessman, is having financial problems like everyone else in this bad economy. But because he's the mayor, a simple civil issue has become front page news. Simply by putting this story of a legitimate business having legitimate problems in the paper, what was a civil case between businesses has become a very public embarassment. One reader responded to reporter Mac McLean's story. Mac, as you will recall, is the reporter who delighted in filming the breasts of local businesswomen in Danville and showing them around the newsroom. The reader wrote:

Mac Mclean has gone to far with this one. Why has Mclean and the Bristol Herald Courier picked Malone to exploit? Small business owners across the United States are really suffering with the bad economy. Articles like this should be viewed from a personal standpoint and not be made headline news. Mclean, what are you trying to prove picking on individuals that have good character that bad economic times
dealt a bad hand. Perhaps the Bristol Herald Courier will sell far less newspapers bringing a bad situation financially and then we can read about it in the Kingsport Times or the Johnson City Press. THe Herald Courier
needs to be more selective about what it prints pertaining to civil matters. This is no big deal considering the economy, the big deal is the 10.5 trillion the Fed has already given out in bailouts and should be called handouts. Mclean grabs for anything he can make a story from and the Bristol Herald Courier prints anything that can
help fill the pages of their skimpy newspaper.

Who is really served when a hometown newspaper starts making front page news of news that is already in the bankruptcies listings? If you fall behind, file bankruptcy, lose your job - is that really newsworthy? Apparently Media General thinks so. I'm not sure exactly how that benefits citizens or does anything more than generate fear mongering and sell newspapers. How sad a local paper does more to tear down businesses rather than help them find solutions.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What truly valuing your employees looks like!

Good companies, companies who value their employees, show it in word and in deed. When Zappos recently laid off 8% of their employees this is part of what they did, and said:

"...we are reducing our staff by 8%, but because we are being proactive instead of reactive about it, we are able to take care of our employees and offer them more than the standard 2 weeks severance (or no severance) that most other companies are giving.

We are offering to pay each laid-off employee through the end of the year(about 2 months), and offering an additional amount for employees that have been with us for 3 or more years.

In addition, because our regular health benefits cover 100% medical, dental, and vision for employees and 50% for spouses and dependents, we decided to offer to reimburse laid-off employees for up to 6 months of
COBRA payments.

In doing all of this to take care of laid-off employees, we expect that it will actually increase, not decrease, our costs for 2008, but we feel this is the right thing to do for our employees. It will put us in the position of having a lot more financial flexibility in being able to respond to potential changes in the economy in 2009.

Ecommerce growth has slowed compared to its growth rate a year ago, but the good news is that even in this tough economic environment, ecommerce overall is still growing.

Within the footwear category, we are the online market leader. When times are tough, the strongest players in any market have an opportunity to gain even more market share, even if overall growth may be slower. Historically, we have actually grown faster than the overall ecommerce market, and we anticipate for that to continue in 2009.

For the rest of 2008 as well as for 2009, we anticipate continuing to grow year over year. Our current forecasts are that we will continue to be profitable and cash flow positive, as long as we are proactive instead of reactive in managing our business and financials.

I know that many tears were shed today, both by laid-off and non-laid-off employees alike. Given our family culture, our layoffs are much tougher emotionally than they would be at many other companies.

I've been asked by some employees whether it's okay to twitter about what's going on. Our Twitter policy remains the same as it's always been: just be real, and use your best judgement.

These are tough times for everyone, and I'm sure there will be many follow up questions to this email. If you have any questions about your specific job or department, please talk to your department manager. For all other questions, comments, or thoughts, please feel free to email me.

* Tony Hsieh, CEO

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brilliantly written opinion piece in Star Tribue

If you like reading unedited opinion pieces, don't miss this one from Anne Cockrell in The Star Tribune. The Tribune tends not to hack up their editorial submissions to fit the amount of space that have. They care about content, not just butchering a letter to make it fit. Well written. Whatever side of the uranium mining in Virgina issue you're own, this is outstanding.

A Little Puff?' - a focus on the absurdity of uranium mining

Wednesday, November 26, 2008 10:08 AM EST

Patrick Wales, a Virginia Uranium Inc. geologist, has been often quoted in Virginia newspapers of late. Some of what he has said has been variations of the truth; some statements have been absolutely absurd.

Let's focus on the absurd, shall we?

Wales was quoted in the Danville Register & Bee (Report tackles lobbying efforts, J. R. Crane, November 24, 2008) as saying: "That's what we're up against as a small, locally-owned company... [VUI] has a very difficult, uphill battle."

Calling VUI a small, locally-owned company is laughable. Small in employee numbers, it may be, but it's a company incorporated in the Yukon Province of Canada that has millions of foreign-backed dollars to help achieve VUI's objective: overturn Virginia's moratorium on uranium mining and begin mining in Southside Virginia.

VUI's $100,000 payment to lobbyists was well within the company's financial means, and Wales knows this.

In fact, it paid off. Lobbyists were successful in getting the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission to go before the Richmond General Assembly (Nov. 6, 2008) and push through a uranium mining study for Southside Virginia - one that had died a legislative death in a House committee on March 3, 2008.

So much for "a very difficult uphill battle."

In the Martinsville Bulletin, an article ran following Wales' address to the Martinsville Rotary Club (Virginia Uranium geologist touts benefits of mining, K. Barto, Wednesday, November 19, 2008).

The article stated: "The Coles' property, which is a 'historic structure,' sits between the two uranium deposits, and the family plans to continue living there while mining goes on, Wales said."

I wonder if the Rotarians really believed Walter Coles (VUI's founder) and his family are going to live in a house between two operational uranium mines where there will be daily surface blasting of low-level radioactive bedrock.

Even if the miners bubble-wrapped the house and were able to save it from flying rock projectiles or, by some miracle, kept it standing post 30 years' endurance of surface-blast vibrations, it would still lose its allure when viewed through the chain-link fence which will one day surround the former Coles Hill homestead.

On the fence, the Department of Energy's radiation hazard signs will warn folks to stay away from this U.S. government-owned property. That's the only entity that will have any use for this land once all mining and milling of uranium ceases, and this is only because it will become a superfund site.

How can I make that assumption?

Wales spoke of the "worst-case scenario," the Canonsburg Mill site in Canonsburg, Pa.

Per the article: "In the mid-1980s, the Department of Energy cleaned up the site and contained the waste in a disposal area lined with soil and clay barriers. Since then, Wales said, 'Not one milling-related constituent has shown up in a nearby creek.'"

Now, this is the very same site that Walter Coles has previously touted to be a place where uranium was milled "successfully east of the Mississippi."

In reality, it's an 18.6 acre plat of acreage that is now a $48 million superfund site. Today, this site stores 376,000 cubic yards of contaminated material behind a fenced-in area. It will be monitored in perpetuity to protect Pennsylvanians from the radioactive wastes buried there.

Wales and VUI plans to mine uranium out of Walter Coles' 900-acre-property (plus annexing and mining additional acreage belonging to surrounding families) once the state's moratorium is lifted.

If it cost $48 million to remediate an 18.6-acre plat of land where uranium was milled, one has to wonder what the price tag will be for cleaning up over a thousand acres once uranium is both mined and milled at Coles Hill.

Big question: Who will pay the remediation costs?

Perhaps it's the "new technology" that gave Wales the confidence to make yet another absurd statement regarding mine tailings (the leftover mined rock that must be buried or submerged in holding ponds to try and contain its radioactivity.

Per the article: "He explained that tailings are contained in a pit underground, removing any interaction between the tailings and the atmosphere,' he said."

Well, isn't the low-level radioactive bedrock going to come in contact with the atmosphere when it is surface-blasted out of the ground over a period of 30 years? This is VUI's proposed timetable to mine at Coles Hill.

How about the milling process where mined rock will be ground into a fine powdery state for ore extraction?

Think it will all be done in a clean, sterile, indoor environment? No, open-pit/surface-blast mining implies just that.

The daily, successive explosive blasts and milling process will create a continuous low-level radioactive fallout which will be carried by the winds onto food and water sources and into the airways of man and all other animal life unfortunate enough to be downwind from the mine.

When asked in the article about how far dust would blow from the mining operations, Wales stated, "If you use underground mining, it's a moot point...even it other methods are used [surface-blast], there is very little dust. There may be a little puff when blasting."

A little puff?

Wales, VUI and anyone who believes surface-blast mining will create only "a little puff" should google and watch the Mountaintop Removal Movie (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPixjCneseE).

It's an eight-minute video with Woody Harrelson (sitcom actor of "Cheers") discussing the sad demise of 450 mountains along the Appalachian Mountain chain where surface-blast mining is being used for coal removal.

It clearly illustrates that surface-blast mining creates more than "a little puff" of dust. It also speaks of the enduring hardships of the people living adjacent to these mined areas.

Lastly, Wales stated: "We feel confident that there are many examples around the world of how it's [uranium mining] done safely."

Uranium mining opponents simply ask Wales and VUI to name five of these places where uranium mining and milling has not caused adverse effects to the surrounding people and environment.

Funny, Wales didn't offer up an example.

Stay tuned. Let's see him name even one.

Anne Cockrell,

Southside Concerned

Citizens member


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Did you know? Shift happens...

How bad is the economy? These guys say, not so good

As a matter of fact, they think it's really, really bad. Here's a video interview with The Black Swan author Nasim Nicholas Taleb and his mentor, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, who say the current economic situation could be worse than the great depression. From BoingBoing.com:

"The banking system, the way we have it, is a monstrous giant built on feet of clay. And if that topples, we're gone."

Maybe that's why the US Gov't has pledged $7.7 Trillion (half of America's annual GDP to fix this). I wonder if it'll work?

Do more than think of the troops this Christmas....

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001


Monday, November 24, 2008

Customer service

With the economy in the tank for many, businesses are wondering what to do to increase or even just maintain their sales. The number one thing you can do to retain customers? Be nice. Offer great customer service! It costs you NOTHING, yet reaps great rewards. Think about it. Do you enjoy shopping at a place where you feel welcomed and appreciated? You bet you do! You go back don't you? I do.

Given the choice between saving a few pennies most of us do pick a business, church or organization that cares, or at least seems to care, about our needs and wants as much as they do making money.

Here's a recent for instance:
Do you love those free business cards from VistaPrint? Yeah....Nice huh? NOT SO MUCH. Read the fine print. I'm still getting billed after canceling an account I had with them. They canceled the account, but kept billing me. After two weeks they've assured me they'll refund the money in the next couple of weeks. So, they hold onto my money and make money off of it...not much by itself, but when they do it with a thousand other customers, it adds up.

What makes it so difficult to cancel an account with VistaPrint is they don't let you cancel your own account online. You sign up by yourself online, but can't leave. You have to call during business hours, and talk to a representative and then cancel. Very inefficient. It also means you have to answer a lot of questions about WHY you want to cancel and gives them a chance to try to convince you to stay. Not fun. Not easy. And of course, the operation is overseas, so sometimes the accents and information are hard to get past as well.

I'm not the only one complaining about customer service. Marketing guru Seth Godin's blog today bemoaned the lack of customer service from KitchenAid! He writes:

How to answer the phone

The KitchenAid tea kettle (adorned in bright Squidoo orange, of course) in my office melted, leaving hot orange plastic on my thumb. Yes, it hurts as much as you probably imagine it does.

But that wasn't the worst part.

I called 1-800-334-6889 to whine a little bit and to hear why they made a meltable teapot. I counted how many prompts I had to press in order to talk to a human being. It was NINE.

Nine! Try it. I'll wait.

The last step was a recording that they were closed and I should call back after 10 am. Click.

I know you've heard this before, but it's really simple:

The only reason to answer the phone when a customer calls is to make the customer happy.

If you're not doing this or you are unable to do this, do not answer the phone. There is no middle ground on this discussion. There are no half measures. Saving 50 cents a call with a complicated phone tree is a false savings. Think of all the money you'll save if you just stop answering altogether. Think of all the money you'll make if you just make people happy.

Your choice.

Seth Godin


Okay, if the top marketers in the country are complaining about customer service, what do you think your customers are doing? They're complaining too - only not to you. They're complaining to their friends, who aren't buying from you, who - if you're a newspaper - aren't advertising with you.

What would it cost you to treat your employees right so they actually enjoy working for you? What would it cost you to smile, to act like you're glad to see a customer walk in the door? What would it cost you to treat people, your customers, the way you want to be treated?

If Steve Kaylor's wife had had her breasts videotaped so the newsroom could laugh at her and joke about his wife, would he have fired some people? (probably not, but we can hope). Would Bernard Baker's wife like to be on a computer monitor while all the men in the newsroom laughed. Would he have thought that as funny?

Customer service begins with treating your employees well, with respecting people, with saying "Thank you," with applying the golden rule. And if a business doesn't do that? You vote with your money. You spend it elsewhere. And if the business continues to treat people and employees like The Register & Bee does, eventually they go belly-up.

The economy is bad and only getting worse. You can change how well you do with a few simple things - happy employees, good customer service and truly caring about your customers.

Bagels and Republicans

I have a couple of comments re: two recent posts, one about the "bagel" shop...which the poster thinks is awesome! Well, the food IS awesome. The service is often very slow and the servers are rude. If you want the true New York experience, you get it there. Not just my opinion, but that of many who are in Danville. Several people I know have spoken with the owners, but that's what it is. If you like great bagels, pastries and food and don't mind bad service or rudeness - go for it. The owners know this. It's not the first time anyone has said anything to them. It's just the first time someone has said so publicly. I have a right to my opinion, you have a right to yours.

I was in there a couple months ago just to get a soda and see if things had changed...not so much. I agree. The food really is great. Love the sandwiches. But I like to think a business is happy to see me spend my money in their establishment. Food doesn't taste quite as good when the server is rude.

And the second issue - the Republicans aren't happy with the newspaper - which has become predominantly Democratic. The Republicans want a new newspaper and want to raise money for it - then it's a Republican paper. If people are asking me to start a new newspaper, and they're asking The Piedmont Shopper to do something and the Star Tribune, and the Register & Bee is losing advertisers, OBVIOUSLY something isn't working. Stock has dropped to a little over $2 a share....and even major investors are disgusted.

According to Reuters:

Media General Inc shares lost as much as 54 percent of their value last Thursday. The loss came after a disgruntled investor sold stock in the newspaper publisher. October classified advertising revenue fell 38 percent.

Reuters wrote:
"Hedge fund manager Philip Falcone cut Harbinger Capital Partners's stake in Media General to 16.67 percent from more than 18 percent, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Harbinger got directors elected to Media General and the New York Times (NYT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) earlier this year after criticizing the management at both companies on their Internet strategies and for not paying enough attention to non-family shareholders.

Media General, which publishes the Tampa Tribune and Richmond Times-Dispatch, along with other papers, has two classes of shares. The second, stronger class is held by the Bryan family. The Ochs-Sulzberger family holds a separate class of shares that give it control of the New York Times Co.

A spokesman for Harbinger had no immediate comment.

Media General's shares dipped as low as $1.36 from their close of $2.96 on Wednesday. They later recovered to $2.17, still down more than 26 percent."

Don't forget, in March, Harbinger nominated three contenders for the board to oppose those selected by Media General. Harbinger was tired of the "management" decisions (or LACK of management decisions) by the existing board and forced three new board members onto the board in hopes of fixing things before the whole organization went south.

Gee....They laid of 80 employees in Tampa - well, they offered buyouts - and other deals....to the paper that everyone else in Media General terms the "big sucking drain" on other revenues.

smells a rat. The advocacy blog notes that Media General was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the FCC’s decision to lift its 30-year-old ban on media cross-ownership. The layoffs are thus hitting geographies where readers already have little choice in media, meaning that Media General will simply hack away at quality in the name of profitability, the blogger alleges. It appears, though, that the FCC’s decision will be reversed by Congress.

Does Danville need another newspaper? You bet it does. Can the Republicans and conservatives in the area do a better job? We can hope. I don't think they'll tolerate the same sort of behavior that goes on at The Register & Bee. One would hope not. I'm not the only pointing fingers at the way they run things. Google Media General and see for yourself. StopBigMedia.com is all over them all the time.

Virgial Goode calls for recount


With only .23% dividing candidates, Congressman Virgil Goode will seek a recount.

November 24, 2008— Rocky Mount, VA— At 3:00 pm today, Congressman Goode held a Media Conference where he made the following statement.

"Over 316,000 votes were cast in this Election for U.S. Representative. The morning after the Election Night, with all precincts reporting, we were ahead by 446 votes. Since that time, over 3,200 votes have changed -- the largest changes coming from cities and counties that voted for my opponent. Now, we are trailing by 745 votes in the certified count.

Virginia law provides for a recount in any election where the vote difference between the candidates is one percent or less. Here, the difference between the candidates is 0.23 percent. In an election this close -- with less than one-quarter of one percent separating the two candidates, and with literally thousands of vote changes taking place during the post-election canvass process -- a recount is an important protection for voters. It ensures that each ballot that was lawfully cast in the Election is counted, and that the votes are accurately tallied. It also gives us a chance to ensure that each candidate's tally is comprised only of votes that were properly and lawfully cast.

Over the last few weeks, voters from across the Fifth District have encouraged me to seek a recount of the Election. Tomorrow, I will file the appropriate legal papers to request a recount of this Election."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just doing my job....

"Just doing my job"

What a bogus excuse.

If you take a job, you've bought into what the company does. You're responsible.

If you work for a company headed off a cliff, hey, you're going too. The fact that you're just doing your job doesn't make unemployment any better. And if the company is hurting people or the world you operate in, it doesn't matter who told you to do it, you still did it.

It's not just your job. It's a big part of your life. And you're way smarter than you're giving yourself credit for. Speak up, change things or get out. Whining later is a low-return strategy.

Sorry for the rant. Been getting a lot of email this week from people explaining why they work for companies doing dumb things.


This is not MY writing, but I concur with it totally. It's written by Seth Godin, marketing and business guru. I'm in Seth's social media network and five of my case studies on businesses are in the FREE ebook that accompanies his latest best-selling book, "Tribes." Seth's right. Speak up. Change things, or get out. Whining later is a low-return strategy. I'm in the speak up. Change things mode. I was smart enough enough to get out. Are you? Or will you be one of the people who goes off the cliff as well?

The problem with the Register and Bee and all the short-sighted people who attempt to manage it is, they don't care about people. They don't care about community. They don't care about Danville. They care about themselves. The problem with that is, the new marketing and business model demands businesses who care about others, who connect with community, who help others.

Forces are moving now to bring a newspaper to the area who will do just that. Who will it be? Hopefully it will be someone who is everything the Register and Bee is not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Media General stock still dropping...

Media General stock prices are dropping, but rumors about layoffs at the paper are on the rise. They're already running a skeleton crew - with most of the offices now crowded onto the main floor. Many of the vending machines have been removed and deliveries are down so much the machines are frequently empty. The bathrooms in the basement have been closed for quite awhile. The press is shut down and being disassembled.

Recognize the signs? A business struggling to survive. Who will be given a cardboard box and shown the door next? We all know loyalty counts for nothing. Even those who won awards this year weren't sent to pick them up - the paper couldn't afford it. Bet Steve Kaylor's paycheck didn't take a hit. He still has an expense account.

I made $28,000 a year, plus overtime. What are you making? More importantly, how much longer will you be making it? Layoffs always come around the holidays folks. Better be saving money, not spending it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Media General shares fall to $2.96!!!! WOW!!!

Glad I got out when they were at $14 a share.

The New York Times and Media General's shares have fallen to the lowest point in decades!!

The New York Times shares closed Wednesday at $6.35. Media General's shares fell to $2.96. Why? Harbinger Capital Partners, which holds seats on both companies' boards, limited its interest in the newspaper publishers...with good reason. Especially for Media General. Wonder if Harbinger reads my blog? ;-D

Those who invest good money hate to see it being pissed away on sexual harassment lawsuits and lawyers. They WANT good management who is making a difference as well as money in communities.

Read the entire article here.

Too bad Media General. Maybe if you weren't so busy being stupid, racist, sexist, inept and incompetent you'd fare better.

Why the Register & Bee will FAIL, how others can succeed

I read a marketing blog by David Scott called Web Ink Now. He posted this about marketing and politics and he's right. The Register & Bee is all about THEM THEM THEM...not their readers, not the community. Their main interest is in making money, not in caring about people. They have a policy about NOT running stories about people who are trying to raise money for a loved one who has cancer, or needs a kidney transplant...unless it's the friend of an employee of course. If they did that, they say, everyone would want a "free ad." Well - "everyone" means they fear unscrupulous people would SAY someone was sick and they'd abuse the system. Being the newspaper, people would give it credibility....and might get fleeced.

But I ask - how hard is it really to check out a story, to talk with a doctor (with the family's permission of course) or to make sure the story is legit? Not hard. Not hard at all...but then, that person wouldn't buy an ad then would they? They don't check out who buys their ads. They haven't really checked out some of the people who they've run stories on. I know of at least one story they featured where the guy was a con-man and a crook - but no one wanted to ask the hard questions.....now the business is gone, people are out of jobs and the guy bankrupted. But he knew someone at the Register & Bee...so we did a story. tsk, tsk, tsk..... so much to tell.... and they won't tell it. Anyway, here are:

Ten marketing lessons from the Barack Obama Presidential campaign
By Dave Scott

I wanted to make a few observations about why Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States.

This is a marketing blog, not a political blog. These are not political observations, but thoughts about marketing. It doesn't matter who I supported or voted for or who you supported or voted for us all to learn from Obama's victory.

1. Social media and the new rules of marketing are essential. The other campaigns seemed to be fighting using the playbooks of past campaigns. Hillary Clinton was relying on what worked to elect Bill Clinton. John McCain was relying on what worked to elect George W. Bush. Obama realized that to become president, he had to deliver information to people online as a primary tool, not an afterthought. In my opinion, Barack Obama is the most successful "new marketer" in history.

2. Embrace citizen journalists. My friend Steve Garfield is a well-known videoblogger. He's got tens of thousands of followers. During the primaries, Garfield attended several rallies held by various candidates. When he asked to go to the media section at a Hillary Clinton rally in Boston he was tuned away (because he was "not a real journalist") and had to cover it from the back of the crowd. However, Obama's campaign immediately brought him up to the media section where he was placed with print reporters from the major dailies and TV crews from the networks. The Obama campaign understood that citizen journalists have immense power.

3. Clearly and simply articulate what you want people to believe. From the beginning, Obama was about "change." The word "change" was everywhere in his campaign, so much that the entire world knew what Obama stood for. I asked a group of 300 people in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia what was the one word they think of when I say Barack Obama and all in the room said "CHANGE". Amazing. Quick: What do the following candidates stand for? John McCain, John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, or any others. Hard to say isn't it?

4. People don't care about products and services, instead they care about themselves and about solving their problems. Obama understood that his job was to solve the problems facing voters. He also knew that voters were buying into solutions, not just an individual. Did you notice in speeches how often Obama referred to his audience compared to how often he referred to himself? How about the other candidates in the primaries? How about John McCain? The other candidates talked about themselves a hell of a lot more than Obama did. Obama was the most Tuned In candidate.

5. Don't obsess over the competition. Did you notice that Obama rarely talked about his competition? Once in a while he would, but mainly he talked about the problems facing voters. McCain talked a lot about Obama. Interestingly, Clinton and McCain both tried to associate themselves with the "change" word (the competition's word) but both failed because people already associated it with Obama.

6. Put your fans first. Obama had many ways to make an inclusive campaign and alert fans about developments first. I found out on Twitter that Joe Biden was to be Obama's running mate. Amazing. Obama told his fans first BEFORE mainstream media. (Of course, smart reporters were following his Twitter feed).

7. People don't like tele-marketing. Do you like getting phone calls at dinnertime? McCain supporters seem to think so as they unleashed a barrage of so called robo-calls, which seemed to have backfired.

8. Negativity doesn't sell. Obama’s theme of hope and the idea that life can be better with change was uplifting to many people. The other campaigns of fear didn’t work this time around.

9. When someone becomes a customer, they want to talk about it. Obama tapped over 3 million donors who provided $640 million to the campaign. The majority contributed small amounts online. Once someone donates money, they have a vested interest in the candidate. So lots of small donors are better than a few fat cats.

10. Take time for your family. (Okay maybe this isn’t really a marketing observation). Obama took time to be with his wife and daughters when he could have done another rally somewhere. He took several days at the end of the race to spend time with his ailing grandmother. While he was pulled away from "work" I think people respected his devotion to family.

Anyone have any other observations?

Marketers can learn a great deal from political campaigns. I encourage you to take a look at these ten lessons and apply them to your business.

P.S. Steve Kaylor - EVERY time I get an email from your folks I add another post because obviously they enjoy responding to them and I like to keep them happy and writing ME FOR FREE on YOUR dime. The more they're thinking about this blog and writing me and spewing venom and hate, the more fodder I have! Have a nice life Steve.

Virginia may ban lap dogs for driver safety reasons

Virginia and New Hampshire have wrapped proposed lap-pet bans into driver safety legislation that would prohibit using hand-held cell phones while driving and require using headlights when it's raining.

Other states, including Arizona and Illinois, have covered the issue in more sweeping driver laws that say any driver who is distracted by anything could be ticketed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Store closings....Do you have a gift card? Better use it!

Many stores around the country and the region are closing or going bankrupt. If you have any "gift cards" for these stores, make sure you use them, or you will lose them! Watch those store money cards and gift cards.. and credit slips! Stores that informed the Security Exchange of closing plans between October> 2008 and January 2009. PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Circuit City stores... most recent closures
Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide are to be shuttered
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine's to close 150 store nationwide> > Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
Cache will close all stores
Talbots closing down all stores
J. Jill closing all stores
GAP closing 85 stores
Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
Wickes Furniture closing down
Levitz closing down remaining stores
Bombay closing remaining stores
Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January.
Whitehall closing all stores
Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ (New Brunswick)
Macys to close 9 stores after January
Linens and Things closing all stores
Movie Galley Closing all stores
Pacific Sunware closing stores
Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
Sprint/ Nextel closing 133 stores
JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
Ethan Allen closing down 12 stores.
Wilson Leather closing down all stores
Sharper Image closing down all stores
K B Toys closing 356 stores
Loews to close down some stores
Dillard's to close some stores.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chickens stop rabbit fighing

Thanks Secret Reader. You're right. Chickens are smarter than penguins. Got fighting rabbits? Put the chickens in with them. Readers send me the funniest stuff and every once in awhile I like to post it! You're right. At least someone HERE is managing the barnyard! lol!!!

Political retaliation?

Casewell County blog readers say that the Register & Bee's report on Hugh Webster's small claims court case is political retaliation. Webster, says one reader, has been a thorn in the side of liberals for years and the Register & Bee is playing up the story now that they have a Republican in their sights.

Having worked at The Register & Bee I can say that's possible, but more likely it was a slow news day and someone called to tell Bernard to show up for the story since he was seen hanging around the courthouse before the case was filed. Notice they used a FILE photo of Hugh Webster....not usually done since it's considered lazy and half-assed reporting...but, they do it.

Unfortunately, if it's a slow news day - meaning no one was stabbed, shot, their house set on fire or a store robbed, the next "newsworthy" item that takes little investigation, relies mostly on documents that can be quoted - like a court case, and involves someone in the public eye - unless it's a drunken sports reporter working at the Register & Bee - (historically the R&B keeps its own shortcomings out of the paper), they'll end up on the front page. Any lawsuits against the Register and Bee that involve an R&B reporter, are also kept out of the paper. So....

"Anti-Bullying Bill" passes in New York!!

Looks like my testimony before Congress next year may actually help! At least some of our legislators are getting the message - bullying is wrong!

Breaking news as of today.....

Big News in New York State!

S08793 The Senate companion bill to the Healthy Workplace Bill A10291 was just sponsored by Senator Thomas P. Morahan and Senator Dale M. Volker on November 14, 2008 as S08793.

With both of the New York State legislative houses on board, the New York Healthy Workplace Advocates will work to rally the legislative support necessary to transform the Healthy Workplace Bill into an actual law.

Please consider personally thanking Senator Morahan for signing on as the Primary Sponsor of S08793, and Senator Volker for signing on as the Co-Sponsor of the bill.

Their contact information is below:

Senator Thomas P. Morahan
Room 848 Legislative Office Building
Albany , NY 12247
(518) 455-3261

Senator Dale M. Volker
Room 427 Capitol Bldg.
Albany, New York 12247
(518) 455.3471

This is a very historic occasion for New York State and the nation! Take a moment to pause and fully experience the significance of this event. http://nyhwa.org/

Monday, November 17, 2008

From a reader!! Thanks for the humor!

This article was written by Susan Elzy of The Danville Register & Bee, last year. A reader who really loved it sent it in. It is NOT making fun of Danville, it is celebrating the quirks and personality of a small town that so many people love. If this upsets you, you haven't read the Register and Bee much...or this blog much.

You know you're from Danville when...

- You have driven for nearly 15 minutes, have made a series of left and right turns and are still on Main Street.

- You've been asked by the last three people you met where you go to church.

- When you drive to South Boston to get an elegant dinner.

-You think Shag dancing should be the national sport.

-You go to Myrtle Beach in August to get away from town and meet the rest of the city there!

-You are merging impaired.

-You're still not sure what The Institute does!

-You think eating out is a form of recreation.

-You think Mount Hermon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

-The sun shining off the car roofs at Wal-Mart blinds you as you cruise in.

-There's an herb shop named "Bubba's"

-You open conversations with, "Hey, How Y'all been doing?"

-You think a Target store is going to save the town.

- You know it's there, but you've never toured the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History.

-When the Taco Bell closes before midnight.

-When people bring their 3-year old with them to Buffalo Wild Wings on a Saturday night.

-When a diner conversation can continue for 30 minutes debating where the best biscuits are found.

-The Smurf Bridge (once blue) is now painted black, but still called the Smurf Bridge.

-When no matter where you turn, you're only a stone's throw from water, historic buildings or victorian homes.

-You give, "used to be" directions to people: "turn at what used to be the King of the Sea," or down by what used to be the boat dock, and turn on the street by the place that used to be Wimpy's. If you remember all of those you really are a Danvillian!

-A night out with the wife is a trip to Lowe's and an ice cream cone at Bubba's (Not the herb shop).

-You choose to shop at Wal-Mart on Wednesday nights when everyone else is at church.

-Rush hour is from 5 to 5:15 on Piney Forest Road.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


To the reader who wanted me to comment on local businesses - a local bagel shop in particular. Yes - it does take a LOOOOONNNGGGGG time to get your order there. That's why I don't eat there. I have other places I can waste an hour or two.

The food is great - but you're so starved by the time it arrives - why wouldn't it taste good? I agree! But customer service and wait times are things you need to address with the owner. Sorry. Or start your own blog with restaurant reviews and I'd be happy to link to it!

What will it cost to start a new newspaper?

In 2001 I started a newspaper with $250 raised by citizens who held a yard sale for me. For six months I did the layout, writing, photos and distribution by myself. I didn't have to sell ads. Advertisers came to me. Why? Because I produced a conservative newspaper that told the truth, didn't shy away from controversy and produced both sides of the news - not just the Democrats, or the environmentalists, or the Republicans. People could make up their own minds. It became the first paper in 20 years in Washington State to become a paper of legal record. Not bad for a one-woman band. I had a volunteer manage the finances and billings and later added a couple of salespeople. It does not cost a million dollars to start a newspaper.

It does take committed readers - and advertisers. It takes a commitment from readers to buy the paper and advertisers to agree to advertise for at least two years so that the business owner(s) have some guaranteed income to pay for the printing, the distribution and the expenses. A million dollars would be nice, but great things start small. There are many excellent writers, photographers and desire for a newspaper with LOCAL NEWS about LOCAL businesses. Do we need a 40 page, all color slick publication? No. That just costs more money. My paper was all black and white - and was still well read. When your content is GOOD, and fair, and balanced and true....people will support it.

I suggest organizers begin by looking at the resources that already exist here - The Piedmont Shopper or The Star Tribune. They're already doing well. They're set up to handle advertising. The Piedmont Shopper simply needs to start adding editorial and photos. The Star Tribune could simply add a reporter devoted to Danville. Continue to use Richard Davis for photos - he's a great photographer and knows his way around the county. The Register & Bee LIED to get rid of him. But we know that about the R&B....they lie...a LOT.

Nothing changes until you, the readers and advertisers, take action. Contact The Piedmont Shopper. Talk to The Star Tribune. Others are and have. If you want a real newspaper, you have to support it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ready for a change?

Are you ready for a change? Ready for a newspaper OTHER THAN the Danville Register & Bee? Ready to have a paper FREE of mistakes, poor editing and biased writing? In the next few months area organizers will be contacting advertisers and citizens asking for your support to bring a new newspaper to Danville. If you'd be willing to subscribe to or advertise in a local weekly in Danville, please email RepublicanPaper@yahoo.com with your name and contact information. A representative will verify your name and contact information and call you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Republicans fighting back-starting own newspaper

Pittslyvania County Virginia, the largest county in the state and home to Danville, is predominantly conservative. And they're pissed. The local newspaper, The Danville Register & Bee, backed Democrat Tom Perriello over incumbent Virgil Goode and Goode lost - by a few hundred votes.

Major advertisers have already begun to pull their ads in protest and Republican "old money" has started seriously shopping for a new newspaper. Other advertisers in Danville are being approached by citizen groups carrying petitions and are being asked not to advertise with the Register & Bee. It's not a boycott, just readers voting with their wallets.

Rumors that local real estate agents will be next to pull their ads have circulated for months, but the recent action by the area's largest auto dealership - Woodall's, has seemed to push a few more folks off of the fence.

"We (Republicans) raised a million dollars for Danny (Marshall)," one potential investor said. "I don't see why the Republicans can't raise that much to start a new newspaper."

According to those close to the efforts, anger over the editing of anti-Perriello comments were edited OUT of their letters to the editor and many letters to the editor have also been edited in such a way as to change the intent and message in the letter.

"I want a paper that reports both sides fairly, not just the democrat's viewpoint," another investor said. "I can make up my own mind if I hear both sides, but The Register & Bee doesn't give you that option."

Angry subscribers cancelled their subscriptions after the election and also began calling and contacting advertisers or pulling their own ads. The Register & Bee has suffered under the weak management of Publisher Steve Kaylor and Managing Editor Arnold Hendrix. Advertisers and readers pulled ads and canceled subscriptions and protested in the last year over the newspaper's Sunday feature story in which reporter Mac McLean described a local drink as a "real panty dropper"....McLean also filmed the breasts of a local advertiser and business woman and showed the video of her and another business woman around the newsroom while giggling like a little girl and saying, "I can see her nipples." MacLean was NOT disciplined, but those who objected to the video were fired or later forced out for protesting a "hostile workplace."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

No car ads???

Gee....economic downturn? or advertisers beginning to show the Register & Bee they're serious about how upset they are with the newspaper's bias and treatment of readers, employees and Virgil Goode?

Except for a couple of Barkhouser car ads on Sunday - there was a conspicuous absence of car ads from Woodalls Automotives in Sunday's paper. Hmmmmm....

Will the real estate folks be next? What will it take to make the Register & Bee realize that readers and advertisers are tired of being treated like they are? The Register & Bee's management obviously believes that they can print whatever they want, be as offensive, sexist and arrogant as they want....and remain the only game in town.

Is it time to let Publisher Steve Kaylor know his arrogance and mismanagement style isn't working? Not like he cares or anything. Remember....he LIED to the woman his reporter abused - claimed he knew nothing about the incident - although emails I posted here show differently. Will he LIE to you? How can you trust a manager who is supposed to represent what is honorable when he takes the side of managers who laugh at women, and a reporter who thought it was funny to humiliate and degrade women, who will keep on an EDITOR who had 13 police charges, including three DUI's and an evading police charge....while keeping all that out of the paper.... THAT is "leadership"?

Danville needs a NEW newspaper, new leadership and a new vision. Danville needs change. Who will step up to the plate? Is there anyone? Anyone at all?? Maybe the Star Tribune needs to hire a few folks and expand THEIR coverage into Danville. From what real estate and car dealers have told me - they'd love to put their ads into a new venture - one that covered local news. The opportunity is out there. Who's going to invest in Danville?


Ah....threats from the Register & Bee.....how sad. How pathetic. Media General cowards have taken to anonymous email in an attempt to harass, intimidate and threaten me. tsk tsk tsk....it's not nice to threaten people.

While your anonymous emailer SEEMS anonymous, it seems you have violated the TERMS of SERVICE and attorneys have contacted hushmail already. You are trackable! ;-)

Have a nice life. Get some help. According to Brandi, there are a couple of folks at the Register & Bee on medication. Maybe one of them will give you the name of their doctor. You might consider prayer. Come to Jesus. Stay away from the porn, the adultery and infidelity, the lies and Satan worshipping going on down there....Get a life. Stop eating so much. Stress is bad for you!

p.s. not everyone who seems to be your friend is...

More bad news for newspapers

Greensboro's News & Record has offered all of its employees a voluntary buyout. The newspaper is trying to reduce its work force by up to 10 percent.
Declining revenue and the cost of distributing the paper are among the reasons the publisher said the company is reducing its force. If not enough people take the buyout, layoffs will begin.

Like the Register & Bee's readers in Danville, Greensboro's residents are most likely to see the newspaper's quality decline and mistakes and errors increase. And - with that - ad revenues are even MORE likely to drop.Gannett Co., one of the nation's largest newspapers, eliminated more than 1,000 positions earlier this year. McClatchy Co. announced its second major round of job cuts in September. The Register & Bee has also cut its force dramatically - and sent its advertising layout jobs to Lynchburg to be done by temps, who, according to readers and many of the Register & Bee's own sales staff, "continue to keep screwing things up."

The Register & Bee hasn't experienced all bad news however. Like Virgil Goode's office THEY were also thanked in the making of the GAY movie they hammered Virgil over. At least someone is glad for their support....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

When people matter...

Con-Way Freight is closing its Goodyear Boulevard location. They're moving to a new location in Winston-Salem this month. That's about a little further than Lynchburg - quite a commute, but still a job if the 17 employees who work there want it. At least Con-Way Freight DID THE RIGHT THING and offered its employees a chance to follow the company. Their loyalty was rewarded. They are valued. The Danville Register and Bee walked in to the employees they laid off, gave them no prior hint by the way, handed them some ratty old cardboard boxes and said, "You have 15 minutes to get out of the building." Some of those folks worked there 30 plus years. They weren't given the option of commuting to Lynchburg or staying with the company. They were treated like dogs. WORSE than dogs.

Steve Kaylor, the seagull manager he is (flies in, shits on everyone and everything then flies away and leaves it to someone else to clean up the mess) didn't give anyone a chance to stay or move. They didn't care. Just bodies to them. But then again....this is a company who won't let its newspaper carriers use the bathroom facilities and forces them to pee in the parking lot.....eeeewwwww.....remember that if you think you want a job delivering papers for them. You buy your own plastic bags and rubber bands, your own gas, wear and tear and on your car, you get fined/docked for late papers or papers the subscriber said they didn't receive....and paid crap to do it...and you have to sit in your car waiting for the papers to arrive....and it's dark, cold and no bathroom and in a bad neighborhood to boot.

Yeah....some job....

4th Circuit rules AGAINST Media General

Inconsistent Enforcement of Email Policies: the Employer's Hobgoblin?

Consistency is a good idea when it comes to enforcement of email use policies. Too bad Media General hasn't figured that out. Maybe a recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit will help.

In Media General Operations, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, the Fourth Circuit upheld the NLRB's finding that the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a newspaper owned by Media General, had wrongly interfered with employees' union communications. Although Media General had a policy prohibiting personal use of the company email system, the court noted that the company's enforcement of the policy was uneven, allowing a "wide variety of messages unrelated to company business" while prohibiting "union messages."

Although this decision dealt with the narrow issue of labor relations, its reasoning could affect how courts treat claims by or against employees where employer monitoring of employees' communications or workers' violations of company computer policies are at issue. The lesson for employers: without uniform enforcement, an email use policy might not be very useful.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is the rumor true?

Word on the street is, Robert Woodall is so upset with the Danville Register and Bee's decision to oppose Virgil and back Tom, that he's cancelling his car ads. Since car and real estate ads are the bread and butter of any newspaper, this could signal a big financial hit for the paper and start an avalanche of businesses pulling their ads. Will it? Is this the decision that could turn the Piedmont Shopper into a viable weekly in Danville? All Alan needs is editorial content. He has the ad market.

If realtors pull out next, things could get even more interesting. Perhaps Obama will infuse the paper with some campaign ad funds.....

The FACT is, petitions are circulating, advertisers are upset, and readers expect the Register and Bee to back Virgil. It's time to vote with your wallet. Who will follow Robert or not?

Get Medication

"Sarah Arkin is not a Democrat. We've probed. Let it go. Get medication." If you check the comment boxes you'll see that's the message Kang has left. (see post below too). Thank you Kang. Kang also told me, "You realize you are totally insane."

That's so sad!!! How dare you talk about mental illness in such a demeaning and negative way when there are people at The Danville Register and Bee on "TERMINAL" doses of Prozac, clinging to life and happiness and bringing smiles and giggles to their co-workers through the sheer miracle of modern medicine. The Register and Bee wouldn't get produced every day if not for serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. Play nice now. If the Register and Bee had "done the right thing" and apologized to its readers for allowing reporter Mac McLean to film the breasts of a local businesswoman (and advertiser - yes, see how they treat you for spending money there) without her consent and flashing the video around the newsroom for managing editor Arnold Hendrix, Bernard Baker and Robert Benson to laugh at....and for publisher Steve Kaylor to deny it....well....maybe things would be different. But they're not....

Do check out Mac's website. He has a pretty photo of a sunflower. Guess that was in the days before he was taking photos of women's breasts.

Ah.....then half of Danville must be insane too, because I have so many readers who consistently tell me how glad they are to have this blog and how much they wish someone would start another newspaper. The Piedmont Shopper seems to be doing very, very, very well. And Danville Business, the FREE online news and info site for local businesses, is certainly picking up steam.

Sara Arkin has been probed

Danville Register and Bee Reporter Sara Arkin has been probed. At least that's what a reader (probably someone from the Register and Bee, who knows. The coward won't sign his name) claims. The probe has determined that she is NOT a democrat. I know. She's a socialist who supports democrats.

Sara Arkin made her politics pretty clear when I worked at The Register and Bee. She's a major Obama supporter, bragged about knowing him and growing up in the same neighborhood as Obama etc. And I think everyone is well aware of her bias against Virgil Goode. And, for the first time since Virgil's been in office the newspaper has decided to oppose Virgil Goode. But not being one to censor news, as The Register and Bee has been known to do, I thought it important to make sure that my readers know that "KANG, not from the Simpons" (as his email says), assures me that "Sara Arkin has been probed. She is not a Democrat." Just so you know. I doubt Virgil Goode would agree, and I know from her comment to me about wanting America to be more socialist, that the probe probably didn't go very deep. But then again, considering the extent of adultery, cheating husbands and general morals at The Register and Bee, probing seems to be a popular thing. A reader sent in this photo of Sara with a Virgil Goode sticker on her back. A good Republican or not?

Friday, October 31, 2008

oooohhhh!! ANOTHER LAWSUIT!!!!

Discrimination lawsuit award reduced by $1.8 million

Source: Melanie Bennett, Ledger-Enquirer
Date: March 23, 2005

A U.S. District Court jury on Friday awarded a former Columbus [Georgia] television reporter/producer $2.1 million, finding that her employer discriminated against her because she was pregnant. On Monday, however, U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land reduced the award to $300,000, a move required by a federal cap on punitive awards. The jury found that Melissa Schultz Miller should get $100,000 in compensatory damages for emotional pain and mental anguish, and punitive damages of $2 million from Media General Operations Inc., owner of WRBL. Federal law allows her to collect all of the compensatory damages, but only 10 percent of the punitive damages. Land also ruled that Media General would have to pay court costs and fees for Miller's attorneys.

Media General loses again...2007

And the HITS just keep on coming!!!

For immediate release:
Pamela DiSalvo Lepley
VCU Communications and Public Relations
(804) 828-6057
Public Statement: Settlement Reached in Urban Journalism Workshop Lawsuit

Virginia Commonwealth University confirms that a settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit against VCU and several faculty members and other sponsors of the VCU Urban Journalism Workshop, including Media General Inc., parent company of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, and several individuals associated with the sponsors.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Individual Rights on behalf of Emily Smith, a Caucasian high school student, who sought enrollment in the summer journalism workshop, traditionally described as an outreach program to interest minority students in journalism as a career.

Under the settlement, VCU, while not admitting any wrongdoing, and consistent with its long standing race-neutral admissions policies, will continue to operate the workshop and will offer Smith admission to the 2007 summer program. VCU also will pay $25,000 to Ms. Smith and her attorneys in exchange for their agreement to dismiss the lawsuit.

VCU currently expects to be able to continue the workshop beyond 2007. As one of the most diverse institutions in Virginia, VCU remains committed to inclusiveness in all of its programs.

Ah.....the woes, the woes, the woes

Gee....nine years and they STILL have not learned their lesson....

Friday, April 9, 1999
Legal woes plague CBS42
Potential racial discrimination suit at Media General looms

Beset by legal problems with former employees, CBS42 WIAT and its owner, Media General Broadcasting, now face a potential racial discrimination lawsuit by seven former employees.

Calling themselves the Birmingham Seven, the group of former CBS42 African-American employees is in the process of filing a suit alleging racial discrimination and other charges, according to two of the former employees.

Channel 42 general manager Eric Land and Barry Frederick, Media General's local attorney, would not comment on any litigation involving the station.

The seven were fired afterMedia General bought the station from Park Communications in January 1997, the two group members said, asking not to be identified.

All have filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), asking for "right-to-sue" approval, which is a prerequisite for filing a racial discrimination lawsuit.

An EEOC spokesman in Washington said the agency couldn't comment.

Some of the seven will file lawsuits for breach of contract, fraud and defamation of character, according to one of the former employees.

Meanwhile, a May 3 federal court date has been set for a breach-of-contract case against Media General by Hoyle Broome, 42's longtime, former general manager.

Also, former sports director Doug Bell last month settled his breach-of-contract lawsuit against the station, Tampa-based Media General and Land. Bell was fired by Land along with most of the Channel 42 on-air personalities in December 1997 in the wake of Media General's purchase of CBS42 (then WBMG).

In court documents, Bell said he repeatedly asked Media General if he would be retained as sports director and offered a contract renewal in light of the ownership change. Bell said Land told him he was "his man" and would soon be offered a new contract.

Bell charged that "the defendants knew at all times ... that the plaintiff (Bell) would not be asked to continue his duties as sports director as before the ownership change; that the plaintiff would not be offered a new contract ...; that the plaintiff was not Land's `man'; that the plaintiff, along with other on-air news anchors, would be terminated."

Bell claimed the alleged misrepresentations constituted fraud, "and the defendant, Land, has a practice and pattern of such conduct with prior employees."

In addition, Bell described coming to work Dec. 15, 1997, not knowing he had been fired, finding that his security pass and keys wouldn't work.

He alleged he wasn't allowed to retrieve his personal belongings from the station.

In response, Media General said in court documents that Bell breached his employment agreement "by engaging in insubordination, dishonesty or deceit, on-air improprieties, unauthorized removal of property of the television station, repeated failure to perform assigned work in the manner required by his employment agreement, and on-air broadcasts in violation of exclusivity obligations."

Bell charged the defendants with wrongfully breaching his employment contract, for which he was asking compensatory damages, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for "intentional misrepresentations, fraud and other wrongful and malicious conduct of the defendants."

Bell's attorney, Bill Lewis, would not discuss terms of the agreement. Bell did not return phone calls. He continues to do sports-related television and radio work in Birmingham. His wife, Brenda Ladun, is a news anchor for ABC 33/40.

Meanwhile, Broome, Land's predecessor, was Channel 42's general manager for 20 years until he was fired by Media General shortly after the company's purchase of the station in January 1997.

In court documents, Broome leveled a host of charges at Media General involving his dismissal, including breach of his employment contract, fraud, racial discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract for severance pay. He also charged the company with racial discrimination under the Civil Rights Act for prohibiting him from firing then-news director Willie Walker, who is African-American, for fear she would charge the station with racial discrimination.

Federal District Court Judge Inge Johnson last month granted a summary judgment in favor of Media General, throwing out all of Broome's charges except for the breach of contract for severance pay allegation. That goes to trial May 3.

The judge, however, granted Broome's request for a reconsideration hearing on the other charges. It will be held at the same time as the pre-trial conference for the severance pay case, on April 21, in federal court in Birmingham.

Land, the CBS42 general manager, fired most of the on-air personalities, both African-American and white, at the same time of Bell's dismissal.

Danville Register and Bee promotes Homosexuality

Mollie Halpern, an "investigative reporter" for The Daily Progress, a Media General paper, "INVESTIGATED" Virgil Goode's connection with a movie, "Eden's Curve." The movie "EXPLORES" homosexuality, Mollie writes. OOOOOOoooo...Mollie doesn't mention that Media General, the company she works for, has a PRO-HOMOSEXUAL stance and offers health benefits for its MANY Gay and Lesbian employees, including those at The Danville Register and Bee. Goode said he opposes Gay Marriage. Media General SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE because they provide health benefits to gays, a benefit only available usually to MARRIED couples. So WHY is the Register and Bee and The Daily Progress and Media General trashing Goode for:

(1) His CONSTITUTIONAL right to have an opinion - EVEN if it conflicts with those of the newspaper...
(2) His honesty about his personal and religious beliefs. Where the heck is the "TOLERANCE" the liberals at The Register and Bee are screaming about now?
(3) The fact that Virgil IS expressing "tolerance" because his press secretary appeared in the movie. Virgil was upset more about someone using a taxpayer funded line to send and receive faxes than the gay issues.

So WHY WHY WHY is The Danville Register and Bee so upset about Goode's "CONNECTION" to a gay movie (which seems to signal tolerance) yet Media and General not only PROMOTE, ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT GAY and LESBIANS, they SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE!!? Why is it wrong for Goode to be "CONNECTED" to tolerance but NOT wrong for The Danville Register and Bee to be CONNECTED AND 100% SUPPORTIVE of Gay marriages???

That doesn't make sense. Can someone explain it to me? The Daily Progress writes an article that says it's HORRIBLE that the congressman's name is on a gay movie. But The Danville Register and Bee pays health care benefits and OPENLY supports gays.

Once again, this is Media General's attempt to smear Virgil and get him out of office and has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality. This is a sick, stupid game - one that will backfire on The Danville Register and Bee. If you're going to trash and denigrate a Congressman for having "LINKS" to homosexuals, you need to explain to your readers that MEDIA GENERAL AS A COMPANY OPENLY SUPPORTS GAY MARRIAGE, have numerous Gays and Lesbians on staff, and pay health benefits to Gay and Lesbian couples. You need to explain advertising dollars and the money that Danvillians pay for subscriptions and ads, supports Gay Marriage and Homosexuality. If Mollie is SO opposed to homosexuality that she feels a need to investigate it...she needs to start at her own front door...her parent media company.

But then again - it's hard, if not impossible for The Register and Bee to be honest in their dealings and deals.

P.S. The Danville Register and Bee endorses Obama - who says he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but who would NOT oppose gay marriage.

Media General's HISTORY of Sexual/racial Discrimination

Media General has been sued more than once over sexual and racial discrimination.

A 2003 lawsuit PROVES I'm not the first to raise the issue. No matter the issue or problem, DYSFUNCTIONAL MEDIA GENERAL refuses to take any action and just allows bullying, harassment and attacks to continue. White on black or black on white....Media General tolerates racism, bullying and sexual harassment. Their newsrooms are not, in many instances, healthy places to be. In Reidsville staffers quit and took other jobs, tired of hearing F**K and G**D*** and vile sexual jokes. Parents, don't let your children work there. Journalists, unless you thrive in an environment like this, steer clear of Media General Newsrooms.....

Lawsuit accuses Progress parent

Published November 20, 2003, in issue #0246 of The Hook

By BRUCE SCHREINER Associated Press Writer

A former Lexington, Kentucky, television news producer has sued the parent company of the Daily Progress, claiming she was fired for standing up to reverse discrimination in a newsroom rife with racial tension.

Audrey Port also claimed she was a victim of libel, slander, and harassment in her suit, filed Friday, November 14, against Media General Inc. and several former co-workers at WTVQ-TV in Lexington. Richmond-based Media General owns the station.

Port was fired last April after less than a year as executive producer at the station. Her ouster coincided with the dismissal of top station executives William Stanley and David Foky, also named as defendants.

Her suit, filed in Fayette County Circuit Court in Lexington, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. It also asks that the defendants retract "false statements'' about Port and her termination.

Port's attorney, Jeffrey Smith, said she endured a backlash of hostility and harassment from three black co-workers because she wanted to enforce the station's anti-discrimination policies. Port is white.

The station newsroom during Port's tenure was "almost paralyzed with fear'' as white employees worried that any actions or comments might be considered racist and spur a discrimination lawsuit, Smith said.

Media General said in a statement that Port was fired for "legitimate business reasons in compliance with her contract.'' The station's management "stands by the decision'' to fire her and will "vigorously defend'' itself, the statement said.

Foky, WTVQ's former news director, said he had not seen the suit.

"My position throughout this whole process has been to act with class and dignity,'' Foky said in a phone interview from Charlottesville, where he moved after his dismissal from WTVQ. "If I started talking about the details, personalities and problems now, it wouldn't be fitting with the position I've taken.''

Stanley did not return a call seeking comment.

The suit said racial tension at the station was simmering before Port's arrival. It cited an incident in which a rope knotted in the shape of a noose was left on the desk of a black producer, Celeste Ward. Foky told Port that Ward was upset about the incident, had hired a lawyer and was demanding $300,000 from Media General, the suit said.

Foky told Port to be his "eyes and ears'' in the newsroom and not to provoke Ward and employees Kristi Runyon and Tiani Jones, who also are black, the suit said. All three were named as defendants.

Reached at the station, Runyon also said the suit was "completely without merit,'' and declined further comment. Jones, who was a reporter at the station, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Ward could not be reached.

The suit said that Ward and Runyon-- a news anchor and reporter-- allegedly harassed Port, were insubordinate, and accused Port of racism.

Port asked Foky and Stanley, the general manager, to discipline them, but no action was taken, the suit said.

The suit said other staffers became angered by the "double standard of treatment'' regarding, among other things, punctuality at staff meetings and staff productivity. According to the suit, Foky admitted to the double standard, but said higher executives had told him not to deal with it.

The suit said the newsroom began to "fester with racial tension and toxic feelings.'' It accused Media General and WTVQ of violating their anti-harassment policies by not taking action.

In April 2003, Port openly discussed the newsroom's problems with corporate human resources employees, the suit said. Port, who was under contract at WTVQ until 2005, was fired "without cause'' a few days later, the suit said.

The suit said the defendants created a work environment filled with "discriminatory intimidation, ridicule and insult.'' The suit also said that Media General and WTVQ "recklessly made false statements'' about Port's professional ability.

Port now works at a television station in Denver, her attorney said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Bolofeesh is a new cartoon series being drawn by a good friend of mine. He'll be syndicating it the end of the month but is a free agent right now if you're interested. This one panel cartoon is about life in a fishbowl - thus the name, "Bolofeesh" or (Bowl of Fish). To see more in the series click here.

If you love or even like what you see, write Paul and let him know! He offers affordable syndicated rates for newsletters, magazines and newspapers. If you want clean, funny humor - hard to beat bolofeesh! His email is: pdurban(at)neb.rr.com. Please type in the @ symbol instead of (at) of course!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Obama's hypnotizing America

The lawsuit is in Federal court but the media won't write about it. According to the life long Democrat who filed the suit Obama's grandmother said she distinctly remembers Obama being born in Kenya. He's not an American. All he has to do is produce the birth certificate. Why won't the press report on that? He also wont' release his school records. Why? Maybe because his loans will show he got loans as a "foreign" student? Democrat attorney Philip J. Berg, former deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, was interviewed by Michael Savage about his lawsuit demanding Barack Obama present his original birth certificate to prove he was born in the United States and qualified to serve as president. See the video below.

Obama - master of NLP - Neurolinguistic Programming - a mind control technique that utilizes words, gestures and voice cadence to hypnotize people, is using his techniques to do just that - hypnotize America.

Of all the candidates running for office - Sarah Palin is the only person who has actually owned and run a business and held office where she was required to actually make decisions and be accountable.

From a reader of mine who is a hypnotherapist and who is certified in NLP techniques although he refuses to use them because without a person's permission, NLP is mind control at its darkest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Congratulate Amie Teague!

DANVILLE, VA, October 5, 2008 /Cambridge Who's Who/ -- Amie M. Teague, Owner and Speech-Language Pathologist at Piedmont Regional Feeding & Oral-Motor Clinic, LLC, has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for showing dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of speech-language pathology.

Piedmont Regional Feeding & Oral-Motor Clinic, LLC is a facility that provides specialized treatment for dysphagia and other oral difficulties among adults and children. As owner and speech-language pathologist, Ms. Teague oversees administrative duties and is responsible for evaluating and treating patients with oral-motor and feeding problems. She also instructs her clients with speech-language disorders on the use of communication devices.

Prior to starting her own clinic, Ms. Teague served in various nursing homes and rehabilitation clinics. Starting her own successful clinic and being able to serve people have been the highlights of her career. Some of her work has been published in Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists and in local newspapers. In the future, she hopes to mentor students and continue performing evidence-based research.

Ms. Teague is a certified provider of the following treatment protocols: Neonatal Oral-motor Assessment Scale (NOMAS), Beckman Oral Motor Protocol, Fast-forward, and VitalStim. She earned her Master of Science in Communication Science and Disorders in 2001 and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science and Disorders in 1998 from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Ms. Teague is affiliated with the Speech-Language Hearing Association of Virginia and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She stays current with the trends in her profession by enrolling in continuing education courses.

An authority on speech-language pathology, Ms. Teague is available to speak with the media and may be reached via email at ateague@prfeedingclinic.com.

About Cambridge Who's Who
Cambridge Who's Who is an exclusive membership organization that recognizes and empowers executives, professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the world. From healthcare to law, engineering to finance, manufacturing to education, every major industry is represented by its 250,000 active members.

Cambridge Who's Who membership provides individuals with a valuable third party endorsement of their accomplishments and gives them the tools needed to brand themselves and their businesses effectively. In addition to publishing biographies in print and electronic form, Cambridge Who's Who offers an online networking platform where members can establish new business relationships and achieve career advancement within their company, industry or profession.

For more information, please see www.cambridgewhoswho.com.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Quick answers to readers questions

To my readers who asked:


Blogger, this site, is free. Easy to set up and you don't have to be an expert on a computer to do it. NO...do NOT use Vistaprint for a website. You cannot cancel your website account online and must go through a salesperson who will make it difficult if not impossible to cancel your account - all the while charging your credit card. Use www.weebly.com. If you are going to set up a blog, use blogger.com or wordpress.com.. Yes Vista offers free business cards, but trust me....the website is NOT a good deal. You can get better and for free at www.weebly.com.

Point and click cameras are fine for 90% of the photos you'll be taking at indoor events. You can download them and upload them to your blog fairly easily. You don't need an $1,800 camera but if you can afford it and want it - get it. Canon or Nikon are both great cameras. Canon has a new camera out that shoots incredible video as well as stills. Well worth the $1,800 price. Sony, Epson and Canon all make good point and click cameras.

I use a "Flip" camera ($100-$150) for video. Easy to use, excellent resolution and fits in a shirt pocket. That's the name of it - "Flip"....available at Best Buy and you get a free $49 memory card for your camera with it...online offer - but tell the clerks at the counter. I paid $150 for the camera...but got the 4 gig memory card free.

Yes, Danville does have a new business site....danvillebusiness.ning.com. It is by invitation only, but contact Diane Arnold at the Small Business Development Center for an invite. Free. But you must go through her or receive invites from other members.

Hope this helps! Happy blogging to all who asked!!