Nasdaq, only an economic skeleton of what it was a year ago, shows
that faith in high-tech stocks has eroded to the point of many
companies falling off the exchange and folding their tent. A huge
retailer like Montgomery Ward going out of business after a century
tells us the market is either diluted or too weak to sustain all the
players interested in the major retailer game. Lucent Technologies
dropping upwards of 10,000 jobs shows that even successful businesses
are finding the need to cut employees. Motorola closes a five-year-old
plant in Illinois and gives pink slips to 2,500 employees. Heck,
thatís enough of this already.
we have had our share of economic bad news. Staples closing as well as
Stage on Woodlawn will leave a huge retail location vacant. MII
literally chopping their workforce down to nothing means area workers
face an unknown job future. Eaton has stated that voluntary cutbacks
for at least six weeks are now part of their economic plan. It looks
like Lincoln/Logan County is not immune to the whims of a national
economy. It also tells us that an economic window of opportunity this
past decade ó
a window that this area failed to become a major participant in ó
has perhaps closed. Economic slowdowns, of
course, carry universal repercussions. Just because we didnít take
much of a part in the ďboomĒ period does not mean we wonít be
unwilling participants in a slowdown or possible recession.
what do we locally to make ourselves ďrecession proofĒ? That is an
easy question to answer. All we need do is direct our efforts to the
strengths we already have in this community. They are, in no special
order, as follows:
need to seek out small factories and make sure the ones we already
have are receiving all the support we can give. Small factories are
better for our economy than huge corporate giants. MII is cutting 80
percent of their workforce, and the effect on those people laid off
will be telling. Imagine what would happen to a city like Peoria if
Caterpillar would cut 80 percent of their workforce. You might as well
bring a shovel up to the Peoria area, because such a catastrophe would
bury that areaís economy.
lived in Pekin in the late 1970s, and the near-year-long Caterpillar
employee strike had a disastrous effect on every business in the
valley. Peoria and East Peoria learned their lesson well. There are
now hundreds of little widget factories in the area, making the
economy sound by its diversity.
No. 1: Many
small factories are better than one or two large ones. Seek out new
ones. Support the ones we already have.
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
need to recognize recession-proof entities and help them to grow. The
headlines have been filled with the fact that both Lincoln Christian
College and Lincoln College are growing. Education is not subject to
the whims of the stock market. Education, especially specialized
courses and college degrees, are growing in importance regardless of
whether the economy is positive or negative We need to do all we can
to make sure these colleges as well as Heartland continue to be
positive about investing in growth in our community. Donít think
that Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal donít realize how
important their schools of higher learning have been to their
stability and economic growth.
No. 2: Educational
entities are solid economic opportunities. They deserve our maximum
and perhaps most importantly, we need to recognize and support the
small businesses in our area. You know the ones I am talking about.
They are the ones who buy your organization's pizzas and candy bars.
They are the ones who buy an ad in your pamphlets and on your
calendars. They are the ones who sell your raffle tickets and
contribute to the many charitable events we have in this community.
They are the businesses that donít tell you to write to the
corporate office about being a school booster. They are the ones
who say sure, put me down as a supporter.
small businesses are owned by individuals you know personally. Their
little stores and shops dot our economic landscape and cause jobs and
taxes to flow into our economy. They are the same as us ó
little guys trying to make a living. They base their decisions on
being in business on one simple business tenet. They will stay here
and remain in business if they can make enough money to earn a living.
a corporate giant like Staples, small businesses fight off slow times
as long as they can. They donít make their decisions to close up or
leave Logan County because their profit doesnít meet national
guidelines. They decide to remain our merchants as long as they can
afford to stay. Look at the small businesses in Lincoln that have
closed. Every one of them hung on as long as they could. Most stayed
in business until there was no possibility of viability. Ask a Penneys
or a Sears or even a Wal-Mart if they will do that. I promise you
their answer is no.
Support small business. Without small business, a community is subject
to the whims of giant corporate America.
could turn this article into a short story or probably even a book,
but this is the crux of my feelings on the economy in Logan County.
Sometimes when problems in our personal lives look the bleakest, we
find the solutions are right in front of us. Look at the end of your
nose this week. There are many good things, special things right down
the block from where you live. Iím talking about the businesses we
already have. Support them. Itís our turn to help. In effect we will
be helping ourselves.
here to comment on this article.
Lincoln Daily News is 1 year old. I would like to congratulate
all the people involved with bringing us a community-responsive venue
that is quite different from any other known to Logan County
residents. The LDN is a source of news about community activities and
events that, quite frankly, are not covered as heavily, if at all, in
other area newspapers. That isn't to say LDN is correct in their
approach to community news or that others are wrong. It simply means
LDN is different in its approach to local news, and that is what has
caused readership to grow. You see, being different isn't good or bad.
Being different is just being different.
a day and age when national stories are being covered by thousands of
papers and hundreds of radio and television stations, the LDN finds no
need to be redundant with such information. In a day and age when
tragedy, scandal and hype make headlines in the news, the LDN decides
to tell us what events have occurred or will occur that are of
importance to local residents, without any need to make us feel they
need to create a shock value to their stories.
personally, with the assistance of the Internet, read about 20
different newspapers a day. I find little need to continually be
deluged with a sad tale regarding the failings of humanity. I have
often found the positive stories offered by the Lincoln Daily News as
a mental bandage to remind me that everything in the world isnít as
screwed up as we think it is.
thing I really appreciate is that stories that carry two sides are
presented to us only when both sides have an opportunity to respond to
the issue. I have yet to read a story in this newspaper that states,
"So-and-so could not be reached for comment." I like that
omission a great deal. The LDN does not feel any need to break a story
before someone else does. They seem more interested in finding out
what happened and what everyone thinks happened before they post.
Television especially could learn a lesson from this good habit the Lincoln
Daily News seems to have.
[to top of second
column in this commentary]
isnít to say LDN doesnít tell the tale of important events in our
area. There were some great pictures of the Scully Building fire, as
well as information on the blaze and its aftermath. You may have
noticed that the information concerning possible arson on the fire was
stated and then left for another day. It seems, at least to me, that
the Lincoln Daily News is waiting for information to become
available before they print the story. I like that. The problem I have
noticed with many news articles is that they are too often filled with
conjecture and innuendoes that by their nature may end up not being as
factual as one would hope. The LDN seems more pressed for accuracy
than they are for time.
Lincoln Daily News is by no means perfect. Just like you and
me, they have a ways to go before obtaining perfection. In the event
you read the LDN on a regular basis, you may have noticed that they
are continually evolving, and that is a good thing in my mind. They
need to develop a classified section, and they need to expand their
local story base. These events will occur with your continued support
as well as the continued increase in businesses willing to advertise
with the Lincoln Daily News. You see, a newspaper that is free
to its subscribers relies totally on community support. With this
support, the sky is the limit for this truly hometown newspaper.
hope at least a few of you think that the addition of myself to their
stable of writers is a positive aspect to the growth of this paper. I
hope I will bring a little edge to this tabloid that will promote
thought and correspondence with you, the readership. That may be
important to this newspaper, because they have been doing such a good
job of trying to be objective and honest and positive in their stories
that an old curmudgeon like myself in the opinion age might be a good
change of pace. If you canít get mad at the reporters because they
are being factual and objective, you still will have Mike Fak to chew
on a little bit.
ought to be fun.
here to comment on this article.