Helping the local economy: Here’s how

Here's a pitch for one way in which all of us can help our local economy. It's not exactly new, but if more of us did this more consistently, local business would be healthier, and with it the employment picture.

From Shawn Dawson: Thanks for the (item) on the No-D-Lay shoe store.  They offer good service, and I have had my shoes resoled at the business just next door to them as well.  As you likely recall, there was a nearby shoe store which used to sell Red Wing shoes, but they went out of business a decade or so ago, there is a ceramic craft store in this old shoe store today.  I was glad to see No-D-Lay pick up the Red Wing brand.

However, when buying my latest shoes, I searched out for a different brand of U.S. made work shoes and found them at Footwear Express (next to Bi-Mart) in Albany, the brand was SAS (San Antonio Shoes) and their web site says they make their shoes by hand in their factory in San Antonio.  They are a quality pair of shoes and are very comfortable and wide (which I need).  My point of this is that while they were not the cheapest (they cost about $170), based on my past experience, they will easily last 10 or more years, so they are worth the money rather than buying cheaper shoes.

My point is that it is important to 1) support local business and 2) buy local or at least U.S or North American made as much as possible.  This is how we keep our economy going and support our friends, family, and neighbors. -- Shawn Dawson

A sunny start to 2013

Thinking about the start of the new year: May it be as sunny as Day 1.

For better bus service

At the Greyhound depot in Corvallis. Albany has not had one since August 2004.

At the Greyhound depot in Corvallis. Albany has not had one since August 2004.

The point today: Better interstate bus service for Albany. According to what I read in the paper, the Albany police on Saturday, Dec. 29, gave a woman a ride to Corvallis so she could buy a bus ticket. She was described as a social worker on crutches, from California, and she was on her way back home after Christmas when, for some reason, an Amtrak conductor called the cops to remove her from the train at Albany Station.

The police were kind enough to take her to Corvallis so she could get a hotel room and buy a bus ticket to continue her trip the following day. She could not do that from Albany. You may remember that Greyhound dropped Albany, along with some 30 other Oregon towns, from its schedule in August 2004. But its buses still run past Albany on their way up and down I-5.

In 2004 the company had a compelling reason for its decision to reduce service: It was not getting enough passengers. So it bypassed Albany but continued its service at Corvallis, where it has a regular depot and students at Oregon State University provide a steadier flow of riders.

Since then, though, Albany has completed its transit center at Albany Station. It ought to be time for the city to make another attempt to have Greyhound add the station as a regular stop where tickets are on sale. Now that the city staffs the transit center during working hours, could it not contract with the bus line to provide that ticket service?

Eight years ago, one of the likely reasons why the stop was discontinued was competition from the state-supported "Throughway" bus service that supplements the Amtrak train schedule. The state ought to take another look at this situation to see if cooperation with Greyhound -- instead of competition with it -- can be achieved. (hh)

Happy new year: Here’s how

Mrs. Goethe had a sunny disposition and once wrote that she liked people very much, no matter who they were.

Mrs. Goethe had a sunny disposition and once wrote that she liked people very much, no matter who they were.

A friend emailed me a text that that may be helpful as 2012 comes to an end and we are forced, whether we like it or not, to start 2013. She quoted the "Recipe for a Happy Year" by Katharina Elisabeth Goethe. Here's my attempt at a translation of these particular instructions:

Take 12 months, thoroughly scrub them of bitterness and envy, pedantry and fear. Divide each month into 30 or 31 parts, so that the supply suffices for one year. Each day will be made up of one part work and two parts cheerfulness and humor. Add three rounded tablespoons of optimism, along with a teaspoon of tolerance and a grain of irony, plus a pinch of tact. Then, pour an ample amount of love over the whole thing. The finished dish may be garnished with small sprigs of attentiveness, then cheerfully served every day along with a refreshing cup of tea.

The girl who became Mrs. Goethe was born in 1731 in Frankfurt on Main. She lived for 77 years and died in 1808. In between, she had four children including a son who became a world famous author. Now she's been dead for more than 200 years. Her recipe is often ignored, just as she ignored February in her description of the months. But it still sounds like a pretty good way to live. Happy new year. (hh)

From Nancy Sturm: She was obviously a wise woman.  Not only is her recipe for a successful year spot on, she has left February off the calendar.  If only that had caught on.

 

Corvallis bag ban: Bossing shoppers around

Some people may have saved up lots of plastic bags of the type Corvallis is about to ban.

Some people may have saved up lots of plastic bags of the type Corvallis is about to ban.

As of the first of the year, Corvallis is joining the cities that don't trust their residents to use their best judgment when shopping. A few months ago, the city council voted to ban plastic shopping bags. Now the first part of the ban is taking effect at stores with more than 50 employees. Smaller stores are affected in six months. (Just what the size of a store has to do with the bag ban was never clear, and it still is not.)

The main thing is that in Corvallis, the city government wants to punish people who don't plan ahead and bring a shopping bag when they go to the store. From now on, if shoppers need a bag, they'll have to buy one of paper, and pay at least a nickel per bag. The whole thing may strike you, as it does me, as an exercise in bossing people around for no reason other than that's what the bosses think they can do.

Some Corvallis residents want to repeal the ban. We'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, people who normally shop in Corvallis have choices. They can submit and go along with this authoritarian scheme.Or they can mount a little passive resistance in the cause of consumer freedom and choice. They might, for instance, have a pretty good supply of plastic bags at home, having saved them up in anticipation of the ban. Wadded up, these plastic sacks take up hardly any space at all. So you could always have two or three in your coat pocket, and at the check-out you could whip them out and ask the checker to put your stuff in there. It will slow things down, sure, but whose fault is that? If the people in line behind you complain, tell them to complain to city hall.

And if you don't want to create a scene by staging that or some other stunt, you have another choice. As you commute around the valley, you can buy whatever you need somewhere else. (hh)

From Monique Lloyd: I don't live in Corvallis, but I work there and often do my shopping before or after work.  I have a nice big supply of plastic bags which I will use. When I run out I'll just have the checker place my items in my cart and then load them in plastic containers in my car. I refuse to pay for paper bags and I don't think fabric ones are sanitary.  Why don't grocery stores do what Costco does and put items in boxes? Thanks for your column.-- Monique Lloyd, Halsey.

From Lisa: By all means let's suggest to people to slow things up in line to make a statement. WHAT!!! Have you forgotten about the people who work there? That is not fair to the employees to slow things up to send a message. Who will get the message? The poor employees who have to now deal with bags that do not stand up to bag. Bags that smell like cat urine and cat/dog hair and cigarette smoke. By all means let's make things worse for them, Mr. Hering. It is not like they do not get to hear how angry everyone is about the ban, as if the employees at the stores have created this just to make a nickel. If you want to make a statement, then go down and hold up a sign or talk to the councill. Leave the innocent people alone and stop directing the sheep of society to direct their anger at the wrong people.

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