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Friday, February 28, 2014

An Addendum to Reality

I appreciated this awesome e-mail response to Land of the Greed and the Home of the Slaves - I will keep the author Anonymous, but I agree with what was stated and wanted to share it. There is a lot of thought and intellect put into this response and it will fly over 90%+ of this community's heads.

Dear Thom,

It’s always darkest before the dawn. No more posting in the middle of the night!

I think you might be getting off on the wrong track when you say that “working class” people are at the mercy of the “white collar” people. This divisionary tactic is one we must not fall for. We are all in this together and we have to be careful that we do not encourage division between classes, races, religions, age groups, etc. We need to recognize the real enemy: the international cabal of the corrupt banksters, the corporatocracy, the oligarchy, whatever name you want to use. No matter how you name them, they are still corrupt gangsters outside of the law who do whatever they like and whose power needs to be utterly broken.

This relatively small group of people intends to destroy the world country by country by gaining total control of the populations and then remaking the world according to their own plans and they have been stealthily working at it for many years. Remember that these people are not Americans, no matter what their passport might say. They are motivated only by power and control. Their immediate concern is to crush all competition and they have no moral compass to distinguish right and wrong. Their goal is a “new world order,” which they intend to control for their own benefit. The people will truly be slaves, as you said.

All media is controlled by them through just a handful of corporations: television, radio, print, and film. Through the media they have been able to brainwash Americans with their propaganda and through poisoning our water, food and environment they have made us weaker and less able to resist. But something has blossomed fairly recently that has caused them concern and slowed their plans: the Internet. The internet gave rise to the alternative media and people can learn the truth for the first time. The global cabal want to control the internet too and will do everything in their power to obtain this control. This is where we must stop them and this is where you have been playing an important part, Thom.

I know your focus is local, right here in Hickory and that is what we need; but Hickory’s economic problems can be traced back to these people and you must never let your readers forget this. Their jobs were destroyed by a combination of technology and NAFTA.

Several experts say that today we have the technology to give every person in the world the basic things they need to live a decent life. The global elite is controlling the technology and they intend to use it for themselves and to their benefit only. We have the technology to enable people to work only a few days a week if it were allowed to flower. They want one world government controlled by them and a max of 2 million people on the planet.

What can we do? Keep exposing the FED cartel and boycott their banks. Boycott the news networks and do everything we can to use and protect the Internet and keep it free. Support a strong military for defense only and speak out when you see it used aggressively abroad to destabilize nations. Make your home and car as self-sustainable as possible. Put no faith in the political system as we know both sides of the aisle, all branches and all levels have been co-opted by the global elite. When you keep it real (as you said), you will know that you can’t believe anything they tell you and you will have to do your own research.

Here in Hickory we need information about what’s really going on and I depend on the Hickory Hound to supply the information. I want to see the maps, drawings, renderings of Inspiring Spaces as well as information about the costs. Your recording of the Council meetings got things started, but now you can scale back and just make comments on parts that concern you. It looks like a lot of work and you could use your energy elsewhere. I’m really pleased to see the changes in the HDR now that we have a new editor and he has hired two new reporters. He promised more election coverage and it seems he is trying to carry through. Considering who owns the paper, he probably has to walk a fine line, but he wants to do a good job.

What we need is a critical mass of people who understand what’s going on behind the scenes and simply don’t fall for the standard explanations they are given. You have played an important part in waking me up. Primary elections are coming up soon and we need more information about who is running. Greg Brannon was a Constitutionalist who recently was brought to court on corruption charges from an incident in the past. No matter what they say, I feel he was deliberately knocked out of the race by the powers that be. They are very much afraid of the “Tea Party” and continue to seek to destroy it. It’s things like this we need to expose.

Have a good week and get some sleep!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Land of the Greed and the Home of the Slaves

The every man for themselves economy created has been fomented by the Merkin Oligarchy. Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street said that "Greed is Good" and I swear to God that this is a Creed that many of the people at the top in this country have chosen to live by.

I guess if you're driving a luxury car, living in a luxury house, and have a detached white collar job with some security and decision making authority, then you think everything is hunky-dory and what is everyone complaining about. There are a lot of us out here that have been on a steady economic slide downwards with stagnant incomes and ever increasing expenses who are at the mercy of you white collar folks... and you folks never seem to suffer the consequences of your bad decisions like the rest of us do. If you think I'm lazy come say it to my face. If you think I've caused my problems, then please come say it to my face. Whomever you believe is not worthy, say it to their face. If you don't really want to know how I am, then don't ask.

I've still got to put together my State of Hickory 2014 and it has been hard to put together, because it isn't fun to talk about. My lone surviving grandparent had a stroke back in January and she isn't getting better. To be honest, I haven't gotten used to my other grandmother not being around, because she was basically my lifeline basically up until she died. My mother isn't in great shape and she has been helping my grandmother, which isn't easy on her... and no, we don't want anyone's help, because we know they want a ton of money. They basically want to take what little we have left.

I'm sick of it all to be frank and I've decided that besides work, I don't want much of anything to do with anyone in this community. I'll take care of my house, the best I can, and get by the best I can, but I expect every year from here on out to be worse than the last, not because I want it to be, but because of the way this place is. I have a cloud that hangs over me that makes me wonder at what point I lose everything.

I'm up here at 4am thinking about life. I'm not up because of some physical or mental disorder. I'm up because I can't get thoughts out of my mind -- all of the bad. And you will be happy to know that the stress exudes from my soul. How does someone who never wins and never gets what they want enjoy life?

We have people at the top of this community that want to tell us that our message isn't positive enough. I think we have too many sales people running this community. When they tell me this story about how great things are, they don't come off as convincing... they come off as full of it -- and I think the more vulgar term is more appropriate. I don't have confidence in these people. Sales people are only interested in selling things... making commissions... a quick fix... junkies. I'm not a junky - The Greed.

I want to see us build an economy here. I want to see some stability... security... ecosystem... progress... quality of life. I wish I could be a leader, a crusader, but this area doesn't create leaders. It chews those kinds of people up and spits them out. No one wants cutting edge, pioneer types of people here. Control freaks want people they can control, don't allow competition, and repress everything around them including themselves. If you step out, they will try to cage you. - The Slaves.

Personally, I'm going to tell it like I see it. If you don't like it, then go get blitzed or whatever you need to do to escape reality, because keeping it Real is the only thing helping me to survive at this point. So you have two options. Come cuss me out or leave me alone, because I'm not you. I'm me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Lessons Never Learned

I looked at the Hickory Daily Record poll related to the Glorified Sidewalk along Main Avenue and the Railroad track that they are proposing to spend $27.5 million on. I told you during the election that Hickory Inc. is going to raise your taxes. They said so on May 21, 2013 at the Hickory City Council meeting..

Here are some points:

1) Remember that the Mayor said that the number being talked about was $80 million for beautification -- He said it at a Democrat meeting. I think he thought they would be receptive, because that's how the Fox News disciples think. Republicans automatically against spending money. Democrats automatically for spending money.

2) Look at the chart above. Former Alder Sally Fox said let's raise taxes now and let's fund Inspiring Spaces now. I appreciated her courage and her honesty. The others hemmed and hawed, because they were running for re-election. I think Sally knew she wasn't going to run. Those that were going to run knew that in Hickory, NC that they could not run on a tax increase. They wanted to keep it as hush-hush as possible. They should have been pushed on their obvious scheme. I tried. Oh well!

On that night, City Manager Mick Berry is saying they will need 1.5 cents for expected losses of Revenue and Operational Increases. They need at least 1-cent to repave the roads. And he talks about a three-pronged Economic Competitiveness plan and proposes that they need 4-cents for Hickory's portion of Innovate Catawba's Sites and Building plan plus Redevelopment plus Inspiring Spaces.

Here's the kicker. Mr. Berry lowballed his estimates. Look at those numbers:

4-cents for Hickory's portion of Innovate Catawba's Sites and Building plan plus Redevelopment plus Inspiring Spaces. He proposes $20 million for all of that. Now Hickory Inc. has come forward and they are asking for $27.5 million for just one project of one portion of their Economic Competitiveness plan. Do you see that this doesn't add up?

So, how much does that increase that "necessary" property tax increase? Absolutely more than 4-cents. And please remember that on their last project, they said that the Structure on Union Square was going to cost $285,000 and it ended up costing (what they will admit to) nearly $500,000. If they say this project is going to cost $27.5 million, then how much is it really going to cost?

You can see that to do what is proposed, your property tax is going up by at least 10-cents per $100.

3) Andrea Surratt, who has been in charge of this process, initially said that this plan was about jobs and population growth, but the only things we have heard mentioned are revitalized infrastructure.  I have been told that the Inspiring Spaces Advisory Committee had no input on this Main Street Project and they were surprised when City Staff came forward with it and yet we are told back on July 9, 2013 that the advisory committee is prioritizing the projects.

I am going through my files to pinpoint the remark. At one point, during the beginning of this process and along the time the structure on Union Square was being completed, Ms. Surratt said that this (Inspiring Spaces Project)  wasn't about Downtown; that Downtown had just been focused on with "the Sails" project. They were looking to redevelop and uplift other areas of the city -- this link points to where she said something along those lines - Highland Recreation Center meeting about Inspiring Spaces - November 13, 2012. 

What do you call this project? It is yet another focus on Downtown. I will be magnanimous by saying this was disingenuous.

The Hound:  Most of the RINOs, the DINOs, and the TPINOs all got together and re-elected the Status Quo back in November. These people don't understand the constructs and principles of their parties. It's just about a convenience and the contest. Everyone forgets about the governance part. 

I've heard people grousing and grumbling around here for years about the lack of direction, but they don't do anything to change their circumstances. Frankly, I'm tired of it. I've spent a lot of time over the years pointing out pure and simple reality. The bottom line is there is no accountability around here and there is a lot of nasty, lowball, petty politics. It sure isn't the stomping grounds of intellectuals, that's for sure.

It doesn't matter if 80% of the people are against it, these people, as far as I can tell, are going to build this sidewalk no matter what; just like they did their "Sails on the Square". Whether they pass the bond referendum or not, they are going to build this $27.5 million sidewalk. If the referendum does not pass, then they will have to do it piece meal. That means a little bit at a time for you devout worshipers of party politics. Taxes are going up no matter what.

If changing the way things are is Liberal, then I am guilty. If maintaining the Status Quo and doing the same things over and over again and hoping for a better result is Conservative, then I want nothing to do with it. We gave you a platform to get this whole community moving and it was rejected. You voted for "We're gonna do whatever we want and if you don't like it tough." Enjoy.

P.S. And I don't hate Hickory. The things I love are my family, God, loyal friends, freshness, fresh food, the ocean, mountain streams, underdogs, selflessness, hardworking ordinary people, justice, honor, integrity, intellectuality...

And I hate everything that is the opposite of that.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- February 23, 2014

X22 Report - Current Economic Collapse News Brief – Episode 297 - February 22, 2014

The Hickory Daily Record - February 22, 2014
What do you think about the city of Hickory’s $27.5 million proposal to build a park / walking trail on Main Avenue as part of its Inspiring Spaces project?

Is the housing recovery losing steam? - Fortune/ - By Christopher Matthews - February 19, 2014 - The latest data suggest that the promised construction boom may not materialize...                    But Wednesday morning the Census Bureau released data showing that, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, only 880,000 new homes had begun construction in January, 16% below the revised December estimate of 1,048,000 and 2% below the January 2013 rate of 898,000...

Expert Warns of Hyperinflation: “The American Way Of Life Will Be Destroyed” - - Mac Slavo - February 17th, 2014 -If there’s one thing that’s certain about what’s happening in the world right now  it’s that uncertainty is pervading every aspect of the global economy. From fabricated employment statistics and consumer spending reports to obscene levels of debt and a failing domestic monetary policy, the writing is on the wall.                According to top Casey Research analyst Marin Katusa, who has met with energy ministers and business leaders in over 100 countries, it’s only a matter of time before the world’s reserve currency goes the way of the German Reichsmark and Zimbabwe Dollar.                 What we’re talking about here is nothing short of an outright collapse of our banking system, hyperinflation of the US dollar, and a complete destruction of the world as we have come to know it. This is a must-watch for those trying to understand what’s happening with the economic landscape, how to position yourself for an unprecedented paradigm shift in how Americans live their lives, what to expect as this crisis unfolds, and how to find opportunities when everyone else is in panic mode.

29 Percent Of All U.S. Adults Under The Age Of 35 Are Living With Their Parents - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - February 19th, 2014 - Why are so many young adults in America living with their parents?  According to a stunning Gallup survey that was recently released, nearly three out of every ten adults in the United States under the age of 35 are still living at home with Mom and Dad.  This closely lines up with a Pew Research Center analysis of Census data that looked at a younger sample of Americans which found that 36 percent of Americans 18 to 31 years old were still living with their parents.  That was the highest level that had ever been recorded.  Overall, approximately 25 million U.S. adults are currently living at home with their parents according to Time Magazine.  So what is causing all of this?  Well, there are certainly a lot of factors.  Overwhelming student loan debt, a depressing lack of jobs and the high cost of living are all definitely playing a role.  But many would argue that what we are witnessing goes far beyond temporary economic conditions.  There are many that believe that we have fundamentally failed our young people and have neglected to equip them with the skills and values that they need to be successful in the real world.                  More Americans than ever before seem to be living in a state of "perpetual adolescence".  As Gallup noted, one of the keys to adulthood is to be able to establish independence from your parents...

Gold Even More Bullish Under Yellen Than Bernanke or Greenspan! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- February 16, 2014

Poll: Americans have little faith in government - Associated Press - CHARLES BABINGTON and JENNIFER AGIESTA — January 2, 2014 - Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation's biggest problems, a new poll finds.                          Half say America's system of democracy needs either "a lot of changes" or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes.                   Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington.                        The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn't topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government's ability "to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014."...                   On the economy, an area historically driven by the private sector, the poll finds a clear public desire for active government. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say "we need a strong government to handle today's complex economic problems."
Even among those who say "the less government the better," 31 percent feel the nation needs a strong government to handle those complex problems.                      Americans don't feel terribly optimistic about their own economic opportunities. Although 49 percent say their standard of living surpasses their parents', most are broadly pessimistic about the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. And they are mixed on whether people like them have a good chance to improve their standard of living.                          Few are hopeful that the pieces are in place for the government to improve. About half are pessimistic about the country's ability to produce strong leaders generally. And 61 percent are pessimistic about the system of government overall and the way leaders are chosen...

The Return of Mercantilism - Azizonomics - John Aziz - January 10, 2013

David Stockman - King World News Interview - February 13, 2014 - David Stockman was the head of the Office of Management and Budget during the Reagan Administration. In this interview he addresses the manipulation of the Money Markets by the Fed and how these artificial manipulations, such as Quantitative Easing, are going to have and will continue to have a resoundingly bad effect on World Money Markets. (King World News Interview)

Factory Production in U.S. Falls by Most Since 2009 - Bloomberg - Jeanna Smialek - February 14, 2014 - Factory production in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in January by the most since May 2009, adding to evidence severe winter weather weighed on the economy.                       The 0.8 percent decrease at manufacturers followed a revised 0.3 percent gain the prior month that was weaker than initially reported, figures from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 0.1 percent advance. Total industrial production dropped 0.3 percent even as utility output climbed the most in almost a year.
Assembly lines slowed last month as colder weather tempered production, the Fed said, showing a pause in the momentum of an industry that’s helped bolster the economy. A pickup in capital spending and faster hiring that drives consumer purchases will be needed to spur production gains.

No Janet Yellen, The Economy Is NOT “Getting Better” - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - February 11th, 2014 - On Tuesday, new Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen went before Congress and confidently declared that "the economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year" and that "substantial progress has been made in restoring the economy to health".  This resulted in glowing headlines throughout the mainstream media such as this one from USA Today: "Yellen: Economy is improving at moderate pace".  Sadly, tens of millions of Americans are going to believe what the mainstream media is telling them.  But it isn't the truth.  As you will see below, there are all sorts of signs that the economy is taking a turn for the worse.  And when the next great economic crisis does strike, most Americans will be completely and totally unprepared because they trusted our "leaders" when they told us that everything would be just fine...
-Prominent retailers are closing hundreds of stores all over the United States.  Things have gotten so bad that some are calling this a "retail apocalypse"...
  • JC Penney, which lost $586 million in three months in 2013, is planning to close 33 stores in 19 states and lay off 2,000 people. JC Penney’s stock has lost 84 percent of its value since February 2012.
  • Sears has decided to shut down its flagship store in Downtown Chicago, and it has closed 300 stores in the United States since 2010. Stock analyst Brian Sozzi noted that Sear’s inventory levels have fallen by 23.7 percent since 2006. He also noted that Sears had $4.4 billion in cash and equivalents in 2005 but $609 million in cash and equivalents in 2012. Sozzi, who calls himself a guerrilla analyst, has a blog full of disturbing pictures of empty Sears stores.
  • Macy’s, one of the few retail success stories, is planning to close five stores and eliminate 2,500 jobs.
  • Radio Shack is preparing to close 500 stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Best Buy recently closed 50 stores and eliminated 950 jobs at stores in Canada.
  • Target announced plans to eliminate 475 jobs and not fill 700 empty positions to reduce costs.
  • Aeropostale is planning to close 175 stores.
  • Blockbuster has closed down all of its stores.

The US Participation Rate Is At A 35 Year Low: This Is How It Looks Broken Down By State - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - February 14, 2014 - After years of being roundly ignored by the mainstream media, and certainly by self-important economists, the issue of labor force participation is suddenly up front and center, especially now that the Fed itself finds itself scrambling to explain the humiliation of hitting its 6.5% unemployment "forward guidance" threshold without proceeding to tighten as it said it would initially when it launched QEternity in December 2012.                    Incidentally, we predicted precisely this when we said in December 2012 that "using a simple forecast, based on LTM trends across all key employment metrics reveals something very troubling, for the Fed and stocks that is: the 6.5% unemployment rate will be breached in July 2013! Now granted that is simply idiotic, and there is no way that the US economy could possibly recover that fast, but that is precisely what is implied based on the ongoing collapse in the Labor Force Participation, and the concurrent plunge in the Labor Force Participation rate, which has been the biggest marginal driver for the unemployment rate, far more than the number of people who have jobs, or are unemployed (readers can recreate our calculation on their own in 10 minutes with excel)."
Granted, we were off by six months, but we were spot on about the reason why the unemployment threshold number was hit so quickly, instead of as the Fed has originally predicted, some time in 2015/2016.

We will see more Layoffs - X22 Report - Hickory Hound - February 13, 2014
X22 Report - Episode 289 - February 13, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of February 18, 2014

This Agenda is about the Hickory City Council meeting that took place on the date listed above. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date. You can also look in the upper right hand corner of the front page of the Hickory Hound and (will soon) find the link to the past history of Hickory City Newsletters.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.

City Website has changed - Here is a link to the City of Hickory Document Center

  City Council Agenda - February 18, 2014

Invocation By Rev. David Roberts, Morning Star First Baptist Church

Special Presentations
A. Jeff Neuville, Business Development Committee – Presentation of Business Well Crafted Award to Mark Brown, Territory Sales Manager, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated

B. Presentation by Community Groups Requesting Appropriations from the City Council during the Next Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2014. The Council will not take action tonight. Action will be taken when the Council considers the City’s annual budget in May or June. These presentations are made so Council Members can ask questions or make comments about the requests. Presenters will be allotted no more than five (5) minutes to make their presentations to Council. Organization Presentation - By - Amount Requested
Catawba County Economic Development Corporation - Scott Millar  - $149,919.71
Catawba County Economic Development Corporation – Greater Hickory Classic  - Scott Millar -  $75,000
Children’s Advocacy & Protection Center - Deborah Johnson - $10,000
Habitat for Humanity - Mitzi Gellman - $7,816
Hickory Downtown Development Association - Margaret Huss Jackson - $65,000
Hickory Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau - Bebe Leitch - $25,000
SALT Block Foundation - Mark Sinclair - $100,000
United Arts Council of Catawba County - Alan Jackson - $40,010

Consent Agenda:
A. Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Crawdads. - Mark Seaman, General Manager of the Hickory Crawdads has submitted a request to obtain permission to have a public fireworks display on the following 2014 dates: April 11; May 23; June 6, 17, 27; July 4, 25; and August 8, 15, 22. The following would be rain out dates: April 12; May 24; June 7, 28; July 5, 26; and August 9, 16, 23. The North Carolina Fire Code requires a mandatory operational permit for the use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material. The Fire Prevention Bureau shall review all required documentation. The Fire Prevention Bureau will also inspect the pyrotechnics display area prior to the event to ensure compliance with all guidelines and codes.

B. Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Motor Speedway. - Kevin Piercy, General Manager of the Hickory Motor Speedway has submitted a request to obtain permission to conduct public fireworks displays on the following 2014 dates: June 28; July 5, 26; and September 13. The following would be rain out dates: July 12 or 19; July 27 or August 2; and September 14, 27 or October 25. The North Carolina Fire Code requires a mandatory operational permit for the use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material. The Fire Prevention Bureau shall review all required documentation. The Fire Prevention Bureau will also inspect the pyrotechnics display area prior to the event to ensure compliance with all guidelines and codes.

C. Approval of First Amendment to an Agreement between the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and the City of Hickory for Assistance in Supporting the Western Piedmont Stormwater Partnership. - Staff requests approval of the First Contract Amendment to revise the “Time of Performance” schedule in the current agreement between the City of Hickory and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) to implement the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Public Education program through the Western Piedmont Stormwater Partnership. The Time of Performance schedule would be revised such that all work would be completed during the period of January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014.

D. Approval of Annual Auditing Contract with Martin Starnes & Associates in the Amount of $51,500. - The City of Hickory has utilized the services of Martin Starnes & Associates for the past five years with excellent results. The North Carolina Local Government Commission (LGC) does not require formal bid for auditing services due to the professional relationship formed between auditors and clients over an extended work history. The Secretary of the Local Government Commission approves all local government contracts and invoices for audit or audit-related work. The LGC requires approval of the auditing contract on an annual basis. Last year the City of Hickory approved a three year renewal contract with Martin Starnes & Associates. The annual renewal ending June 30, 2014 will be the second year of this contract. Staff requests approval to accept the renewal of the annual contract for auditing services with Martin Starnes & Associates for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 in the amount of $51,500.

E. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs. - The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on February 6, 2014:
 Tillis and Lucille Rendleman, 131 5th Avenue SW, Hickory, were awarded a City of Hickory’s 
Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $10,000.00 for repairs to their house. Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 10 year period.

Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2012 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program.

Each of the following applicants is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2013 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency-related repairs not to exceed $5,400.
 Susan Nelson, 531 21st Avenue NE, Hickory,
 Mildred Williams, 29 7th Avenue SE, Hickory,

F. Special Event/Activities Application for Charity Chase Half Marathon, Bruce Felkins/Charity Chase President and Mandy Pitts/Charity Chase Vice President, Sunday, June 1, 2014 from 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 13.1 miles in NE/NW Hickory with start on Main Avenue near Elk’s Lodge and finish in Union Square.

G. Special Event/Activities Application for National Day of Reason 2014 (Hickory, NC Rally), Gene Elliott, President, Hickory Humanist Alliance, Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Union Square Common.

H. Special Event/Activities Application for Taste of Hickory, Kirby Dodd, Gary Young, Mandy Pitts, Tri Chairs of local event to promote Taste. Well Crafted.; Lady Elks/Hickory Elks Club #1654 and City of Hickory, Life. Well Crafted. Brand. Sunday, May 18, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at L.P. Frans Stadium concourse at Winkler Park.

I. Special Event/Activities Application for Corporate Challenge, Angela Smith, Senior Recreation Programmer, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Union Square.

J. Approval of Resolution of Tentative Award for Eastwood Subdivision Sanitary Sewer Lines. - The Public Utilities Department and Catawba County Environmental Health identified three areas as areas of concern in 1998 as a part of the future service areas for the City of Hickory Sanitary Sewer System. Staff originally applied for State Revolving Grant funds for completion of this project April 1, 1999. After a number of years, NCDENR Division of Water Quality and NC Construction Grants and Loans issued final approval of the Preliminary Engineers Report on May 10, 2010 and approved the project for funding through State Revolving Grant Funds in the amount of $2,946,042.99. The project consists of three identified concentrations of residential housing that have historical problematic septic systems within the existing City of Hickory ETJ and accessible to existing City of Hickory sanitary sewer lines. Eastwood Subdivision is the first component of the overall project to be bid and ready for award. This Resolution of Tentative Award is a required step for NCDENR-DWR Infrastructure Finance Section funded projects. Upon approval of the project bids by NCDENR- DWRIFS after receipt of this Resolution of Tentative Award and Engineer’s Bid Certification, a request for Bid Acceptance and Award will be sent to City Council for further action. Staff recommends City Council approval of this Resolution of Tentative Award for Eastwood Subdivision Sanitary Sewer Lines Project to Neill Grading and Construction, Inc.

K. Approval of Change Order Three to Jimmy R. Lynch & Sons for the Hickory-Catawba
Wastewater Treatment Plant (HCWWTP) Upgrade Project. - The City of Hickory Public Utilities Department initiated the HCWWTP Upgrade Project in February 2013. The current contract amount is $10,292,237.19 which includes previously approved Change Order 2. The project was established with a contingency fund in order to address unforeseen expenses that may arise. Change Order 3 consists of six (6) items with one (1) item being a deductive change from the project and five (5) items being added due to permitting or unforeseen construction issues. The single largest item that is included in this change order is $6,918.71 for payment of undercut of poor soils and replacement with stone in the area of the waste loading station. The only material change is for $940.50 for galvanizing the hoist rail to prevent dis-similar metal corrosion. The deductive item totals $1,485.00 for substitution of a NEMA 3R rated Switchgear in-lieu of the NEMA 12 Switchgear that was intended in the design. Contract Change Order 2 was previously approved for $11,532.76. Contract Change Order total to date would be $83,563.08, including Change Order 1, 2 and 3 or 0.82% of
the original project contract. Revised contract total to date will be $10,303,220.08. The City of Hickory and Catawba County will split all expense equally at 50% each according to the Contract. Staff requests Council approval of Change Order 3 to Jimmy  R. Lynch & Sons, Inc. in the amount of $10,982.89 for the Hickory-Catawba Wastewater Treatment Plant (HCWWTP) Upgrade Project.

L. Budget Ordinance Amendment Number 15.
1. To budget $3,000 from the Friends of the Library in the Departmental Supplies line item for the new teen area.

2. To appropriate $4,530 of General Fund Balance (Funds reserved from the State of North Carolina Un-Authorized Substance Tax revenue) and budget in the Police Department's Departmental Supplies line item. This amendment is necessary to purchase DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) workbooks, shirts for graduation and other items needed for graduation. Funds are made available to the Police Department from the State and remain in General Fund Balance until appropriated.

3. To budget a $4,951 insurance claim payment in the Traffic Division M&R Traffic Signals line item. This insurance claim payment is for damage to a utility pole and traffic light signal that occurred on 01-13-14.

Informational Item
A. Special Meeting of the City Council which was scheduled and posted for February 11th
was cancelled due to weather and rescheduled to Friday, February 28, 2014.

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessments Along a portion of 10th Avenue NE – Petition No. 02-12 - The City Clerk received a petition from the owners of the properties along 10th Avenue NE to install curb and gutter along a portion of their street per Section 29-2 of the Hickory Code of Ordinances. The City Council adopted a Resolution Directing the Street Improvement Project be Undertaken on December 18, 2012 and the work was completed on June 24, 2013. The Preliminary Assessment Roll for Petition 02-12 has been prepared based on the curb and gutter constructed along 10th Avenue NE. Staff recommends that the Resolution Confirming and Levying Assessment be approved. Advertised  February 7, 2014.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Approval of a Resolution of Support for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments’ Investing in Manufacturing Communities Program Application and Presentation by Andrea Surratt on the IMCP Grant Investigation Manufacturing Community Partnership. - The Western Piedmont Council of Governments is leading the application process for the IMCP (Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership). It is a federal initiative designed to accelerate the resurgence of  manufacturing. It is a partnership of various federal cabinet departments/agencies. Through this challenge, 12 communities will be designated “Manufacturing Communities”. This designation provides:
 Preferred consideration for $1.3 billion in federal dollars and assistance
 A cabinet department/agency point of contact to help access federal economic development funding
 Branding and promotion under the “Manufacturing Community” designation
 Additional possible consideration for EDA Challenge Grants
The deadline for the application is March 14, 2014.

Friday, February 14, 2014

We will see more Layoffs - X22 Report

X22 Report - Episode 289 - February 13, 2014

National Debt leading to and endless cycle of negative growth. Mortgage companies are laying people off and closing. Mortgage applications, sales, and housing prices are in freefall. It is here. Young people can't find jobsThe US unemployment rate has been manipulated and the unemployment rate, including long term unemployed and the birth-death ratio, is around 30% and massive layoffs are accelerating in all industry.

Companies are cutting costs. People don't have disposable income so sells are down. Companies are trimming the workforce. Sales just aren't there, because of the negative cycle. Retail Sales are down. 100+ days of cars are sitting on American Car lots. There is no way for these companies to sell their way out of the mess. Retail Stores are closing. Revenues aren't coming in, so taxes aren't paid by companies or employees. Governments can't service their debt.

The Fed needs to taper (raise interest rates - cut the cheap money, low interest rates), but they can't; because each time they start to the economy immediately begins to falter. The government has tried everything, but nothing has worked. We will have to see a reset of the system like we did with the Bretton-Woods agreement after World War II.

The Debt Limit has been suspended. As more debt is incurred, revenues will continue to falter. It will be an inverse relationship.

Governments are beginning to look at the confiscation of pensions. They have already stolen your Social Security money. They will do the same with you pension.

20 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Starting To Catch Fire - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder, on February 13th, 2014 

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blizzard - Hickory, North Carolina - February 12, 2014

Hound: Accumulating Snow began at 1pm. It began  snowing before that. Major snow has begun and is expected to intensify until 7pm. About 2 inches here so far. Should see close to 10 inches before it is all said and done. Wise people will stay in and stay safe unless it is their job or an emergency.

Local Weather Alert
Winter Storm Warning for Catawba, NC
until 6:00 PM EST, Thu., Feb 13, 2014
Other affected areas:

Iredell, NC; Davie, NC; Catawba, NC; Rowan, NC; Cleveland, NC; Lincoln, NC; Gaston, NC; Mecklenburg, NC; Cabarrus, NC
Issued by The National Weather Service
Greenville-Spartanburg, SC
Wed, Feb 12, 2014, 12:17 PM EST
Local Radar Map
Updated Feb 12, 2014, 5:40pm EST
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The other side of the Duck Hunting Issue brought before Hickory City Council?

I frequently check out my Weblog stats related to this site and I came across some very interesting chatter related to the City Council meeting that occurred on January 21, 2014. At that meeting during Citizens Requesting to be Heard:

Ms. Catherine Scott, Regarding Hunting in between Geitner and Glenn Hilton Parks - Ms. Scott is worried about Domesticated Ducks being hunted in this area and asks that ordinances be established to stop this from an area apparently not covered by the city's codes and ordinances. (Click on the Link to listen to her presentation).

Hound Comment:
Mrs. Scott's presentation about the ducks along Lake Hickory was interesting. I don't think it is a safety issue as Mr. Guess believes, but Ms. Scott has a valid point about the ducks basically being baited and domesticated at this point, because people are hand feeding them. They are basically pets and deserve sanctuary in this particular area.

The Other Side From the Refuge Forum - Lake Hickory Duck Hunters

You folks that hunt up that way need to be aware of the effort underway to possibly establish more stringent duck hunting regulations than those currently on the books. I suspect a public hearing might be the next step in this process, but there is clearly a faction up there that has gotten their feathers ruffled during this recent hunting season. There is a mention of visitors to a "park", but not sure what park they're talking about.

City Officials in Hickory eye regulations for hunting.

Tsmart, perhaps you can dig into this a little deeper and let us know what's behind the anti-duck hunting sentiment up there.

Already got the scoop. It's been going on a few years now - just got worse this past season.

Hatley, and Tucker, and Bell has gotten calls in the past. Lake is building up, home owners don't like being woke up at 7:30 on Sat.

Mostly happening on Catawba side.

The issue is:
There is a group (or two), that likes to set up at the mouth of Geitner park (or Glenn Hilton Park). They use 10 ga shot guns, and float hunt from a boat (close to residences). They are "technically" legal, being they float hunt.

Problem is, people don't like to be woke up at 7:00-7:30 on Saturdays to the sound of a 10 ga cannon.... and some of those people live in multi million dollar houses.

They call the Green Jeans, and the local PD - and of course they come and investigate. I know they were called 3 times this past season, and several the season before, and several the season before.

These rich home owners have pull.... and have brought the issue up at the Lake Hickory Home Owners Association meetings. And they have pull, and are now talking to the City Council...

So, it's just a matter of time, before money talks - and hunting is closed on Lake Hickory, and those fellas won't be able to kill park ducks flying into Geitner and Hilton park.

Sad thing is... there is some back water, and huntable spots others of us hunts. And this issue will probably close the whole place, and we'll all get the shaft.

Officer Tucker has kept me up to date (as much as he could) over the past couple years. He's checked the guys too, and they were legal... and they had a deaf ear to the warning about hunting so close to these houses.

So... here we are.

This is what public duck hunting is coming to. More people in the sport and fewer and fewer places to hunt every year. And when you put people like Ms. Scott (see video) in front of uninformed council members that are sympathetic to her cause, the next thing you know
the place will be shut down for all duck hunting purposes.

I don't and never will hunt there but if I did, I'd have an army of support at the next meeting letting them know the "other" side of things. The main concern of council was for the "safety" of the residents and where the "BULLETS" were going . . . . This are the type of decision makers we're dealing with now and unless we hunters fight back, well, you all know what the end result will be.

T, you and some of the other guys that hunt there might want to get your mess together on this one.

 My guess is the City and its attorney will quickly find out that the legislature currently have all environmental related ( includes wildlife resources) local ordinances under review in regards to being stricter than a state law/rule (where one exists) as well as a moratorium on any new ordinance while the existing are under review.

Many residents and local govts around the state are possibly in for a rude awakening when ordinances start going away rather than enacting new ones.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- February 9, 2014

42.3% of the people in Catawba County have a job - Hickory Hound - February 6, 2014

About Those 2.9 Million Jobs Lost In January... - Tyler Durden - February 9, 2014 - ...Of course, in keeping with the above "seasonal" transformation, what this means is that instead of having added a total of 3.290 million "statistical" jobs, the Bureau simply had to bump up the "fudge factor" to 3.357K or over, to match or beat the expectations. The difference between the 3.290MM and 3.357MM numbers? 2%.                    Which begs the question: why did whatever prompted the BLS to add just under 3.3 million "excel" jobs, not also prompt them to add another 57K jobs to the final adjustment number which was a minute fraction of the total fudge factor, and beat Wall Street estimates, reincarnating the narrative that the US economy is now back in "escape velocity" mode, it is "self-sustaining" and all those other spins and stories serious economists tell themselves to justify that QE has worked? Unless, it was specifically the intention of the BLS to not give such an impression.                        Whether the reason was precisely to give the Fed the loophole it needs to taper the taper in a few weeks time when the latest "economic recovery" thesis crashes and burns, will be uncovered over the next several months.                     Finally, for all those same very serious economists who lament the impact of the weather on the Establishment survey, and yet point to the surge in the Household Survey which "added" 638K seasonally-adjusted jobs, the unadjusted change there was a drop of 403K jobs. So there's that.

What Happened The Last Time The Unemployment Rate Dropped This Much - Tyler Durden- February 9, 2014 - ... Alas, that is the real reason why the labor force collapse continues and will continue even as America enters its next recession. Or depression.                  So what happens when one renormalizes the unemployment rate calculation and uses a 30 year average labor force participation rate as a constant instead of a variable to be plugged by the BLS to goalseek a desired result? This happens:

What the chart above shows is that the "real" unemployment rate in October 2009 was 11.2%. Where is it now? 11.1%.                 And there is your "Obama Recovery", when stripped of all the fancy veneer and TOTUSed propaganda, right there.

Low-Wage Hours At New Low As ObamaCare Fines Loom - Investor's Business Daily = Jed Graham - February 7, 2014 - Low-wage workers clocked the shortest workweek on record in December — even shorter than at the depth of the recession, new Labor Department data showed Friday.                        The figures underscore concerns about the ObamaCare employer insurance mandate's impact on the work hours and incomes of low-wage earners.                          It's impossible to know how much of the drop relates to ObamaCare, but there's good reason to suspect a strong connection. The workweek has been getting shorter in many of the same industries where anecdotes have piled up about employers cutting hours to evade the law's penalties.

» Obamacare: The Final Payment–Raiding the Assets of Low-Income and Poor Americans - Paul Craig Roberts - February 8, 2014 - The anonymous Obamacare expert, who provided us a year ago with the most complete account of Obamacare available, has returned with an explanation of estate recovery. Obamacare herds the poor into Medicaid which requires some enrollees to forfeit homes and other assets they might have to the state to cover the cost of their medical care. The research article below is meticulous and demonstrates that Obamacare was not enacted to serve the people...

Top Adviser To The Chinese Government Calls For A “Global Currency” To Replace The U.S. Dollar - End of the American Dream - Michael Snyder - February 6, 2014 - The former chief economist at the World Bank, Justin Yifu Lin, is advising the Chinese government that the time has come for a single global currency.  Lin, who is also a professor at Peking University, says that the U.S. dollar “is the root cause of global financial and economic crises” and that moving to a “global super-currency” will bring much needed stability to the global financial system.  And considering how recklessly the Federal Reserve has been pumping money into the global financial system and how recklessly the U.S. government has been going into debt, it is hard to argue with his logic.  Why would anyone want to trust the United States to continue to run things after how badly we have abused our position?  The United States has greatly benefited from having the de facto reserve currency of the planet for the past several decades, but now that era is coming to an end.  In fact, the central bank of China has already announced that it will no longer be stockpiling more U.S. dollars.  The rest of the world is getting tired of playing our game.  Our debt is wildly out of control and we are creating money as if there was no tomorrow.  As the rest of the world starts moving away from the U.S. dollar, global power is going to shift even more to the East, and that is going to have very serious consequences for ordinary Americans.           Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize what is happening.  These comments by a top adviser to the Chinese government should have made front page news all over the nation.  I had to go to China Daily to find the following excerpt…

Saturday, February 8, 2014

42.3% of the people in Catawba County have a job

42.3% of the people in Catawba County have a job. That is an approximate number based upon the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The spreadsheet is in the link below.

Spreadsheet of Catawba County Employment numbers January 1990 to December 2013

In 1990, when these official statistics began, over 58% of the people in Catawba County had a job. The current actual participation rate (Total Workforce/Population) is 45.6%. It has fallen from over 61% of Catawba County's residents being in the workforce in 1990 and 1991.

Look below at the past year and see how drastically the Labor Pool (Workforce) has fallen. At the same time, the officially unemployed has fallen from 8,584 to 5,141. With both falling, one can see how the conclusion is reached that those 3,400+ people are permanently unemployed and we are not seeing an employment recovery. We see 490 fewer people actually employed since July. Look at the two spreadsheets below. At the end of 2009, the number of employed in Catawba County settled around 65,000 and has stayed there ever since. And yet, the corrupted Unemployment Rate number has fallen from 15.1% in January 2010 to the current reported rate of 7.3%. This shows the U-3 unemployment rate statistic is irrelevant.

2013 Employment Numbers

September 2007 to July 2010 - When the downturn began, from the beginning to the end of this period, we see a workforce that begins at 75,900 and ends at 75,600 -- relatively the same. The number of employed falls by 6,714 people between July 2008 and July 2010. The employed percentage falls, while the participation rate remains virtually the same during the period. The unemployment rate rises drastically from 5.3% to a peak of 15.1% before settling in the high 13% range.


There is no employment recovery and we may head down in the near future. I am almost certain that Catawba County lost population last year. Most people are not going to move here to do absolutely nothing, even people of retirement age. If they were working at all, they would be considered employed. All factors point to economic shrinkage in the area.

You are not going to get this information from the Politicians and Bureaucrats in the government. You are not going to get this information from the Social Workers at the Employment Security Commission. You aren't going to get this information from the Lit Majors at the newspaper. You'll have to come here. I might not be perfect, but I will lay the numbers out there for you. I'm not here to give you a feel good message. I'm here to prepare you for the road ahead.

The bottom line is that the number one priority needs to be fixing the dynamics of our local economy. I don't see that we are doing enough about rectifying that and the things that have been bandied about are not going to do that.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of February 4, 2014

I began video recording the City Council in 2012, because of my desire that the City do it on their own as any modern 21st century community began doing long ago. I had people tell me that they couldn't make it to the meetings, but they would like to see what is going on. I was also told by some council members that my summaries did not truly reflect the record, so having a video/audio recording cannot be misinterpreted.

So below is the City Council meeting. With each agenda item, you can click on the links and it will take you to that specific point in the meeting. You can always drag the marker on the video display to the point in the broadcast that you are interested in seeing.

Agenda about the City Council meeting of February 4, 2014

Consent Agenda Unanimously Approved

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Resolution and Order for Petition of Moretz Mills, LLC to Close a Portion of E Avenue SE. - On December 6, 2013, Patrick, Harper & Dixon, Attorneys at Law, presented a petition on behalf of Moretz Mills LLC, one of the property owners of property abutting a portion of E Avenue SE, requested the City to abandon a portion of this right-of-way.

Hound: This Public Hearing was postponed til a later date to allow the parties involved in the agreement to come to a compromise. Time certain for the hearing will be March 4, 2014. The hearing was opened and closed and continued.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (a) Request to Amend the Parking Ordinance for the Farmer’s Market to Include Last Year’s Ordinance #13-06, with a Time Change and Day. Change the Farmer’s Market No Parking hours from the current ordinance language which calls for Wednesdays from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM and Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. to the new hours for 2014 which includes Wednesdays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays 6:20 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. from April 16, 2014 through November 29, 2014 (excluding Saturday, October 11, 2014 which is Oktoberfest weekend) for the spaces south of Union Square on the north side of the parking lot road connecting the east and west parking lots as well as along the west parking lot to include the first three (3) angled parking spaces. Also, change the parking ordinance from the previous year from Monday from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., May 6, 2013 through October 7, 2013 to now include the new Thursday market evening covered by no parking hours of Thursdays 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. from June 5, 2014 through August 28, 2014 in the west parking lot specifically to include the first three (3) angled parking spaces only. Previously, all of the west lot spaces were included for the Monday

2013 Market Hours 2014 Market Hours Dates
Monday 4-7pm Thursday 5-8pm June 5 through August 28, 2014
Wednesday 10am-3pm Wed 10am-3pm April 16 through November 29, 2014
Saturday 8am-1pm Sat 8am-1pm April 16 through November 29, 2014

** Time change has been moved back to help with set up.

1. (b) Special Event/Activities Application for Downtown Hickory Farmers’ Market.

2. (a) Approval of an Agreement for Professional Services with HDR Engineering, Inc. of the Carolinas in the amount of $288,000. - Staff requests approval of this agreement for Engineering Services with HDR Engineering, Inc. of the Carolinas to perform professional engineering services related to design on sanitary sewer infrastructure

2. (b) Capital Project Ordinance Number 2. - To budget a $288,000 transfer from the Water and Sewer Capital – Sewer Lines account to the Murray Basin Capital Project.

General Comments
(From Hickory Inc. Action Agenda)
Alderman Guess commented that recently Chief of Police Tom Adkins was named as the President of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police. Not only is that an extinctive honor, but it helps the City of Hickory in a lot of different ways. He wanted to make that public announcement and congratulate Chief Adkins on that appointment.
Alderman Seaver commented now he is the Chief, Chief.
Mayor Wright commented that we are very fortunate. We have Mack McLeod who served as President of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and a lot of people who are very involved in leadership positions with the trade Associations for municipal staff. He commented that is quite a bit of benefit to the City. Some of that knowledge rubs off.
Alderman Seaver commented that is not counting some of the other cities that come and rob us of some of our folks.

Mayor Wright stated that on Friday the City unveiled proposals for Inspiring Spaces. We need to turn our population growth into a positive direction. We need to turn our job growth into a positive direction, and we have to grow one to grow the other. We called it, at that point, a start of dialogue. No decisions were made, no votes were taken. The dialogue has started. If his emails are an example we are going to have a vigorous dialogue, and that is good, because it is for the people, it is going to be paid for by the people, so we need to talk about it. We have had some conversations with some people across the State who have done similar things, and what we hear is positive. That upon embarking on these kind of ventures, the people started feeling better about themselves, and they get enthusiastic and good things happen. He commented that they solicit citizens input, the dialogue is open, and they welcome comments. He asked what we have on the City’s website. We have everything that has been presented to the public. Actually everything that has been presented to the public, is everything that has been presented to the Council too. If you want to learn more go to the City’s website. More information will be released there. It is a new day. We have hunkered down as long as we can, and now we have to start investing and make some good things happen.
Mayor Wright commented that the paper gave the City good coverage. That headline of what might cost the taxpayers $4,006 per foot was not the finest moment for the paper. However, the way that he answers that is this; you build a 5,000 square foot house that is 100 x 50, on average that is $500,000 dollars. You stand at the corner of that house and you look one way, and say, that cost $5,000 a foot. You look the other way, and say, that cost $10,000 a foot, and neither number means a thing. He hopes that we don’t hear too much about $4,006 a foot, unless someone will break it down by square foot, and even that is only meaningful if you understand what you are building.

Alderman Seaver commented that Hickory High was hosting St. Stephens in basketball tonight, so if you would like some further excitement go over to Hickory High.
Mayor Wright stated that they were not endorsing either team.
Alderman Seaver stated no, that is a good game.
Mayor Wright asked if there were any other comments, or if any one wanted to say anything further about Inspiring Spaces?
Alderman Seaver commented that we should aspire to inspire before we expire.

The Hound's Comment - Pretty sad that the Mayor still disrespects the HDR to the extent that he fusses about their headline of $4,000+ per square foot. The HDR did everything in their power to get him and the others re-elected. Where's the love? 

The headline does make a valid point, but in the end they'll do everything they can to help push this through too. Anyone that makes an investment looks at area costs. And please come out of your attention span stupor long enough to remember that the structure on Union Square was supposed to cost $285,000 and the amount they will admit to is right at $500,000.

$27 million for a beautification project focused once again on Downtown, which with the overruns we have seen in the current past could equal $50 million easily, after they told everyone that Inspiring Spaces wouldn't be focused on Downtown, certainly seems exorbitant for a city that has constantly told and shown through actions an unwillingness to invest in other parts of the city.  Lot of splainin to do here folks, but I'm sure they'll come up with somethin'. Won't they?

We aren't prescient folks. It has all been so transparent. We told you what was going to happen last year and now the chickens are ready to roost.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The reality of our current Unemployment Numbers - with factual statistics - Hickory, Catawba County, North Carolina

The Hound:  The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor through the Federal Reserve. The U-3 unemployment rate has fallen to 7.3% for the month of December from 7.8% in November, but the workforce continued a steep decline to 70,419 from 71,484. That means that Catawba County lost 1,065 workers in the month of December. In January 1990, when these official statistics began, our labor force was 70,308 and the resident population was 118,945. That means in 1990, 59.1% of the people here were in the workforce... today, based on the latest statistics, less than 46% of our resident population is in the workforce.

From year to year Catawba County lost 3,079 workers (73,498 - 12/2012) and 6,268 workers since the Economic Downturn began in January 2008 (76,687 - 1/2008). We have lost 11,826 workers since our peak Labor Force occurred in February 2001 (82,245 - 2/2001). 

I will be surprised if the Catawba County Population has not fallen over the year 2013. It did increase by 381 residents in 2012 (154,339 - 2012 from 153,958 - 2011), but since 2009 we have lost 4,614 (158,953 - 2009) residents. The shrinking labor force, 3,079 workers in 2013, makes me think that we will see a corollary loss of population over the previous year.

What you see through these numbers is that there is no recovery. It very much seems that we have seen an increased rapidity of a permanent shrinkage of jobs in our Labor Market. The drop in the Unemployment rate is a cementing of the job losses that have occurred. Those that have been considered long term unemployed have now been relegated to a status of Permanently Unemployed. 

Check it out for yourself below.


Catawba County, NC

Civilian Labor Force in Catawba County, NC    
Thousands of Persons, Monthly, Not Seasonally Adjusted1990-01 to 2013-12 (9 hours ago)

Unemployment Rate in Catawba County, NC    
Percent, Monthly, Not Seasonally Adjusted1990-01 to 2013-12 (9 hours ago)

Resident Population in Catawba County, NC    
Thousands of Persons, Annual, Not Seasonally Adjusted1970 to 2012 (2013-03-19)

  Selected Series: