How Dollar General became rural America’s store

Editor’s note: “Dollar General is expanding because Rural America is struggling.”

“The local Dollar General store, built on a rural highway and surrounded by farmland, sells no fresh meat, greens or fruit. Yet the 7,400-square-foot steel-sided store has most of what Eddie Watson needs,” The Wall Street Journal is reporting in a major feature article.

“The selection echoes a suburban drugstore chain, from shower curtains to breakfast cereal, toilet paper, plastic toys and camouflage-pattern socks. Refrigerators and freezers on one wall hold milk, eggs and frozen pizza.

“Many items are sold in mini bottles or small bags, keeping costs lower than a trip to the Wal-Mart Supercenter down the road. The two registers are staffed by one cashier, except during rush hours after school and after work.

“‘It’s just closer,’ said Mr. Watson, a 53-year-old construction worker who filled his cart with cans of chicken soup, crackers, cold cuts and toilet paper. ‘We call this the Evensville Wal-Mart.’

“The store, 10 miles from the nearest small town, is one of three locations in Rhea County where Dollar General plans to open stores by next year. More than one in five people there receive government food assistance, higher than the U.S. average, and the county has Tennessee’s highest unemployment rate.

“Dollar General is expanding because rural America is struggling. With its convenient locations for frugal shoppers, it has become one of the most profitable retailers in the U.S. and a lifeline for lower-income customers bypassed by other major chains.

“Dollar General Corp.’s 14,000 stores yielded more than double the profit of Macy’s Inc. on less revenue during its most recent fiscal year. And its $22 billion market value eclipses the largest U.S. grocery chain, Kroger Co., which has five times the revenue.

“The retailer relies on rapid store growth to keep revenue climbing and investors happy; 2016 marked its 27th consecutive year of sales growth in stores open at least a year.

“While many large retailers are closing locations, Dollar General executives said they planned to build thousands more stores, mostly in small communities that have otherwise shown few signs of the U.S. economic recovery.

“The more the rural U.S. struggles, company officials said, the more places Dollar General has found to prosper. ‘The economy is continuing to create more of our core customer,’ Chief Executive Todd Vasos said in an interview at the company’s Goodlettsville, Tenn., headquarters.

The rest of the article is here.

FOI request for police report of alleged “roofie” incident in Nevada City

Editor’s note: This blog is requesting the Nevada City police report on the alleged “roofie” incident reported on the front page of The Union newspaper. Let’s see what the investigation entailed and what turned up — if anything. We all have a right to know.

December 1, 2017

Nevada City Police Department
317 Broad St.
Nevada City, CA 95959


Dear Police Chief Foley:

Pursuant to the state open records act, I request access to and copies of the police report related to this alleged incident:

I agree to pay reasonable duplication fees for the processing of this request.

Thank you for your assistance.


Jeff Pelline, Sierra Foothills Report

It started as a tax cut. Now it could change American life.

“The tax plan has been marketed by President Trump and Republican leaders as a straightforward if enormous rebate for the masses, a $1.5 trillion package of cuts to spur hiring and economic growth,” the New York Times is reporting. “But as the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.

“Some of this re-engineering is straight out of the traditional Republican playbook. Corporate taxes, along with those on wealthy Americans, would be slashed on the presumption that when people in penthouses get relief, the benefits flow down to basement tenements.

“Some measures are barely connected to the realm of taxation, such as the lifting of a 1954 ban on political activism by churches and the conferring of a new legal right for fetuses in the House bill — both on the wish list of the evangelical right.

“With a potentially far-reaching dimension, elements in both the House and Senate bills could constrain the ability of states and local governments to levy their own taxes, pressuring them to limit spending on health care, education, public transportation and social services. In their longstanding battle to shrink government, Republicans have found in the tax bill a vehicle to broaden the fight beyond Washington.

“The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic.”

The rest of the article is here.

Carpenters musical tribute helps raise $9,400 for Hospitality House

From left: Jane Sinclair​, Jeff Olson  (Hospitality House culinary school manager); Debbie McDonald (development director); Chip Wilder,  and Nancy Baglietto (executive director) Photo credit: Joe Anderson

A musical tribute to the Carpenters has raised $9,400 for Hospitality House, a highlight of “Giving Tuesday,” according to organizers.

Earlier this month, a group of local musicians and singers performed “Simple Offering: A Tribute to the Carpenters” at the Nevada Theater in Nevada City.

Proceeds from the sold-out show totaling $4,700 were donated to Hospitality House, and the amount grew to $9,400 thanks to the “Week of Giving,” organizers said.

The show’s cast included lead singer Jane Sinclair and other local musicians. Banner Mountain resident Chip Wilder was the liaison between the musicians and Hospitality House.

Wilder has a history of working with Hospitality House. In 2015, he produced a CD of holiday songs recorded by local musicians called “A Gift of Song,” and the proceeds were donated to Hospitality House.

The genesis of the Carpenters show was a video of the brother-and-sister duo that Sinclair posted on her Facebook page earlier this year. “I have never received so many likes, comments and shares as I did for that video,” Sinclair recalled. “That led me to think there might be an interest in doing a live show of their amazing music.”

Once the show began to take shape, Wilder met with Hospitality House staff, coordinating promotion and other tasks. “Hospitality House is a crown jewel for Nevada County,” he said. “It provides so many needed services.”

“The entire staff at Hospitality House has just been thrilled about the Carpenters show and the follow-up impact,” said Debbie McDonald, development director. “There were not a lot of dry eyes during that performance. It was so heartwarming.”

—Chip Wilder

More irresponsible “roofie” reporting in The Union

The Union has become a locals’ version of the National Enquirer, reporting that “dozens of locals say they’ve been ‘roofied’ at Nevada County bars.”

Yet its reporting does not back up the claims except for quoting people anonymously who “suspect” they’ve been slipped a spiked drink “in a variety of establishments in Grass Valley and Nevada City.” (There is no mention of the bar scene in Truckee, also located in “Nevada County.”)

The Union cannot cite a single example of a toxicology report confirming this supposedly “rampant” trend. It also cannot cite a single example of a video capturing someone spiking a drink. And the police said they have received only a “handful” of reports of people being roofied.

The Union also does not examine that many bars have video cameras that could identify any would-be perpetrators. Those videos are examined regularly.

To be sure, it’s an important issue. But the reporting is incomplete. The Union needs to “dig deeper.”

It’s astounding that an editor would let such shallow reporting pass for a front-page article. It is totally irresponsible. And podunk.

Northstar plans to open Dec. 1 — despite what has been claiming

“With this weekend’s natural snowfall, coupled with optimal snowmaking conditions over the next few days, we are delighted to announce Northstar is looking to open Dec. 1, weather permitting,” according to Northstar’s website.

Meanwhile, the County’s tourism website that The Union “manages” — — still has a stale post from Nov. 21 at 4:27 p.m. (the Facebook time stamp) reading: “Northstar California (is) slated to open on Thanksgiving Day.” Huh? The post hasn’t been updated since, so it’s been wrong for five days and counting.

BTW, Northstar is in Placer County, not Nevada County.

Podunk. And what a waste of our “TOT” dollars.