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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


 

Another year.....Well, we’ve made it through another year, and what a year it’s been. The recession finally came to Houston and even Fort Bend County. It may have been here all along and we just didn’t realize it, but this year it finally hit home. Thankfully, indictors are that it is almost over. I’m glad we were oblivious for most of it.

But Fort Bend County is a wonderful place. Many of the charities reported contributions down a little, but most of them pulled through, tightened their belts, worked harder and were able to keep up almost the same level of service.

I think “worked harder” are the two operative words in the paragraph above. We at the Star have been hit by a double whammy--the general malaise in the newspaper industry and the slowdown in business as a whole.

But because our employees “worked harder,” we have been able to continue to put out a newspaper every week.

The Star doesn’t just get published only by me, or Michael, or Millie. Nor only by editor Jean or our reporters or graphic designers or ad sales specialists. The Star gets published week after week by the dedicated endeavors of all 15 hard working employees and 15 hard working contract carriers. I’m not speaking for Michael, but I’m about the least important cog in this information wheel. I think this is a good time to thank them for their teamwork and the hard work they do all year to put out a quality product. Thanks guys!

As I mentioned earlier, there is a general malaise in the newspaper industry, but that has had little effect on local neighborhood newspapers. After all, neighborhood newspapers print the news that no one else prints. And local businesses recognize that fact.

Local businesses want to do business right in their own community and what better way do they have of informing their neighbors about what they do, what they can do, and when, where, and how they do it--all the things a local newspaper can tell them in their ad.

I get upset when I see local businesses persuaded to buy advertising in types of publications which do not do them one bit of good--mostly because they just don’t get circulated.

For example, I recently received an offer from the Fort Bend Chamber to buy a page in one of their publications for $2550. How it will be circulated is anyone’s guess, although they claim to have a circulation plan. By the way, the Chamber is not producing this book. They are simply lending their name to the endeavor for a cut of the profits.

So, yes, it ticks me off that we work so hard each week year after year providing a real service to the community and genuine advertising value, then our carriers work so hard to deliver it to yards all over Fort Bend County, and we have to beg, plead, and cajole for advertising that we know will do the participating businesses good.

Then someone like an out-of-town concern waltzes in and gets a local group to lends its name for money and the business community is sucked dry of ad dollars THAT DIDN’T DO ANYONE ANY GOOD. And yes, I’m shouting.

They should be ashamed.

To rub salt in the wound, local politicians who want me to run their announcements for office, FOR FREE, turn around and write letters that give this NON-local company glowing recommendations.

I know, I know. Peace on Earth and Good Will and all that.

What recession?..... During Christmas, the stores were full and the malls were crowded. Even the parking lots were almost full. It’s hard for me to believe that no one had any money.

Then the Monday after Christmas, I took our exchange student Kathi to the Space Center. I had been feeling guilty that I hadn’t shown her more sights around Houston. She has seen more of Ballinger and New Bruanfels than Houston and the Gulf Coast. So I decided to show her Houston during the Christmas holidays.

Not having had a student for mumble years, I didn’t realize that every other parent in Texas had the same thought. The Space Center, which is admittedly inexpensive, was packed! There was a two hour wait for one tour and we waited in line for 45 minutes for $10 hamburger lunches (including chips and drink). This was at 2:00 in the afternoon. I don’t know if anyone makes any money from the concessions at the Space Center, but they need to turn the food court over to the professionals, like McDonald and Jack in the Box.

We’ve made it!.....Check out our pages this week of the Business Honor Roll. Talk about local businesses and how long they’ve made it. Next time you are in their store or run into one of the principals of the business, congratulate them on their HARD WORK (see above)!

Happy New Year!!

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Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:
December 30, 2009