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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."


 

Unless you’ve been on another planet with no newspapers or television or brain-dead for the past three months, you are aware of the dire economic discussions going on around the world.

We thought we were pretty safe in the Houston area because of the oil business when lo and behold, gasoline prices dropped by 50 percent, hailing a slowdown in the energy business. We don’t know yet if it is so much an actual slowdown, but it still makes us nervous.

And then we read about the cutbacks that each family is going to experience this Christmas.

So I had an idea. When you go out to do your Christmas shopping, why not do it in Fort Bend? And why not spend your hard-earned money with hard-working small businesses who depend on the holiday season to break even for the year.

And on a related subject, one newspaper customer called me this week and said she was so tired of local charities and non-profits coming to her when they wanted a donation, yet when it was time to spend money, they either went to Houston or Wal-mart. She said the local small businesses struggle so to stay in business, and they are asked every week to make some sort of donation to local charities. “We like to do it,” she said, “but it breaks my heart to see them go to Houston or Wal-mart to buy things. They want us to give it away free, but they spend elsewhere for their own needs.”

This also reminds me of something else. I hate malls. I don’t care if they are in Fort Bend or not. I want to be able to shop where I can pull my car up and walk directly into the store I am seeking. I never remember which store is located at which end of the mall. I can’t ever remember any business located in the mall advertising to reach local customers either. Heck, I can’t remember the mall themselves advertising to get local customers for the past year. They send us press releases they want us to run for free all the time. Why should we do that when the businesses that advertise with us are in direct competition with many of the mall stores?

I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors that First Colony Mall is close to filing Chapter 13. The mall, which is owned by the same company that owns several malls in the Houston area and is the second largest mall owner in the U.S., is having trouble restructuring financing in this tight money market.

Speaking of shopping locally... Even Fort Bend County itself seems on the verge of naming the “India Herald” as its official newspaper. While nothing is wrong with the India Herald, nobody has ever heard of it, and its publication address isn’t even in Fort Bend County.

One of the first requirements of an official newspaper, according to the bid documents that each newspaper had to fill out, is to be a newspaper of general circulation. And according to the Texas attorney general, commissioners can decide what is “general circulation.” I don’t know where the “India Herald” by any stretch of the imagination is a newspaper of general circulation. Another example of not shopping local. Commissioners are supposed to vote today. We’ll see how it goes. Of course you will be hearing more about it in future weeks.

Remember, spend your money wisely, but spend it in Fort Bend.

 

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:  November 26, 2008