Google Groups
Join To Get Blog Update Notices
Visit the Hickory Hound Group

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- April 27, 2014

Bad Government and Central Bank Policy Are the MAIN CAUSE of Runaway Inequality - Washington's Blog - April 27, 2014 - Thomas Piketty:  “Rock Star Economist” Pushes Inequality to the Forefront of Economic Discussion - French economist Thomas Piketty’s book on inequality – Capital in the Twenty-First Century – has gone completely viral...                      We noted in 2010 that extreme inequality helped cause the Great Depression … and the 2008 financial crisis.  We noted in 2011 that inequality helped cause the fall of the Roman Empire.                       In a few short years, mainstream economists have gone from assuming that inequality doesn’t matter, to realizing that runaway inequality cripples the economy.

Exactly Like 7 Years Ago? 2014 Is Turning Out To Be Eerily Similar To 2007 - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder, - April 23rd, 2014 - The similarities between 2007 and 2014 continue to pile up.  As you are about to see, U.S. home sales fell dramatically throughout 2007 even as the mainstream media, our politicians and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke promised us that everything was going to be just fine and that we definitely were not going to experience a recession.  Of course we remember precisely what followed.  It was the worst economic crisis since the days of the Great Depression.  And you know what they say - if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.  Just like seven years ago, the stock market has soared to all-time high after all-time high.  Just like seven years ago, the authorities are telling us that there is nothing to worry about.  Unfortunately, just like seven years ago, a housing bubble is imploding and another great economic crisis is rapidly approaching...

Home loans hit 14-year low as rates rise - Los Angeles Times -April 25, 2014 - The mortgage industry's output of new loans is at the lowest point in 14 years, according to estimates from a trade publication.                     Inside Mortgage Finance said Thursday that even in the depths of the financial crisis, mortgage lenders were busier than during the first quarter of 2014.                    One factor is the end of a refinance boom as interest rates have risen well off their record lows. But though the rates are still great by historical measures, mortgages written for home purchases have been weak as well, as sales of new and previously owned homes have slowed.                          QUIZ: Test your knowledge of home loans                                  About $235 billion in new home loans were made last quarter, Inside Mortgage Finance said, off 23% from the fourth quarter’s estimated $305 billion and 58% lower than in the first quarter of 2013.                 It was the lowest output since the first quarter of 2000, when new originations totaled $215 billion. At the height of the financial crisis, in the fourth quarter of 2008, lenders still managed to originate $260 billion in home loans.

25 million middle-class Americans live hand-to-mouth - CBS Moneywatch - Aimee Picchi - April 25, 2014 - If asked to describe the typical American who lives paycheck-to-paycheck, you might conjure up the image of a minimum-wage worker struggling to make rent each month.                      But a new study out of the Brookings Institution finds that two-thirds of U.S. households living "hand-to-mouth" are actually middle class, with homes and retirement assets. Only about one-third of those just getting by financially are what most would consider poor, with median incomes of about $20,000.                       Overall, about 38 million American families live hand-to-mouth, or about one-third of all U.S. households.                     So why do families with decent incomes and assets have to live "hand-to-mouth," spending all their cash with each paycheck? The reason may be that such middle-class consumers are opting to put money into illiquid investments with better rates of return than a savings account, such as real estate or a retirement portfolio, Greg Kaplan, assistant professor of economics at Princeton University, told CBS MoneyWatch...

It All Begins With This: U.S. Middle Class Is No Longer The World’s Richest Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - April 25, 2014 - Over five years ago, when we first dared to make the "bold" claim (a tangent of which now serves as the basis for bestselling books that paraphrase Karl Marx) that all Bernanke's idiotic assault on the average American, known as Quantitative Easing, would achieve, would be to crush the US middle class, it was ridiculed - perhaps we too should have charged a perfectly capitalist $23.97 for this profound assessment to be taken seriously. Still, we are gratified to learn, some five years later, that indeed, the US middle class, well on its way to extinction, just took out the first and most critical  milestone, to wit - the US middle class is no longer the world's richest. And yes, "it's all downhill from here."                        Sadly, mostly for America's chauvinism, the distinction of the world's richest middle class now goes to Canada, while the poor in much of Europe now earn more than poor Americans...

North Dakota wants you: Seeks to fill 20,000 jobs
- CNN Money - Blake Ellis -March 19, 2014
In a new recruiting campaign to be rolled out in May, the North Dakota Economic Development Foundation is aiming to fill more than 20,000 jobs -- ranging from truck drivers and oilfield workers to receptionists and food servers.            North Dakota's huge oil boom has spurred thousands of job seekers to flock to the state for years now. In some cities, the population has quadrupled.              Yet, the growth continues and companies are still so desperate for workers that the state is teaming up with oil giant Hess Corp. (HES, Fortune 500) to launch an $800,000 campaign to attract new talent.

The Vicious Cycle of Apathy Towards Tyranny in Amerika - SGT Report - Mark S. Mann - April 26, 2014 -...
1.) The level of crony capitalism and financial crimes that have been committed in recent years including the blatant rigging and manipulation of every possible financial market. Even though this has been greatly exposed and accepted as truth, few individuals have been prosecuted or jailed as a result.
2.) The last 4 Presidents of the United States have shown complete and total disregard for the American Constitution and the American legislative process by abusing the Executive Signing Order powers usurped by their offices in order to subjugate the citizenry of this country.
3.) The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been turned into a financial assassination squad used to destroy individuals, organizations, and corporations who have become political enemies of the State.
4.) Eric Holder, the head of the Department of Justice and chief law enforcement officer of the Federal Government is a criminal who is blatantly guilty of Perjury and Contempt of Congress, and many other crimes too numerous to list here, crimes that would otherwise land your average citizen in a federal prison for many years.
5.) The NSA/ FBI / CIA and God knows who else have engaged in massive unconstitutional / illegal surveillance and data collection operations against millions of Americans under the guise of “National Security”.
 6.) The level of extreme brutality by the police in America, and the formation of a totally militarized police state across the United States. Here we see Chief Ken Geddes posing with the Preston, Idaho PD’s shiny new MRAP.
7.) The deliberate destruction by government of any means for individuals to be self-sustaining or self-sufficient, including the excessive over regulation and interference of independently owned farms or ranches. Laws as ridiculous as criminalizing the collection of rain water on your own property.
 8.) Our government using the label of potential “Domestic Terrorists” in reference towards groups of American Veterans, Christians, Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Gun Owners, and “Sovereign Citizens”..

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Lessons from an Actual Working Chef

I  am reposting the following article about Life Lessons. I discovered it on facebook posted by one of my mentors, a Culinary Instructor at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, Chef Bill Lassiter. Many of you know about the Johnson and Wales Program, but the CPCC program has been around longer and has won many national awards and you have former alumni of the program that work in the Hospitality Industry all over this country.

I've had some of the Hickree Hillbillies put me down for being a chef. It's pretty stupid and ignorant to not realize the talent it takes to cook professionally. Think about cooking, putting your best foot forward, for 200 to 500 people a day for 250+ days a year. Most people can't even do it for a few people once a year.

Well, this was the industry I chose and I am proud of my abilities and I am more than confident that I am as good, or better, at doing what I do than you are at doing what you do. I am not stroking my self esteem here, because I don't ruminate over the opinions of ignorant people. This town doesn't appreciate culinary talent. That is pretty much a fact. There are exceptions to the rule, but as an actual working chef, not a BSer, for the most part my observations are and the reality is, it's how cheap can I fill my belly and how can I get more than what I pay for with an occasional dash of hype, pop, propaganda, and mislabeling thrown in. 

The following article is from the blog Harvest America Ventures and posted by culinarycuesblog


By culinarycuesblog2 weeks ago ( 5 )


I may be a showing a bit of bias, but I do believe that there are many lessons that anyone can learn from observing the daily activities and mindset of a typical restaurant line cook. These seasoned disciples of the range, maniac adrenaline junkies, talented players in the kitchen orchestra and salty dogs sailing pans across the flat top range are models to be followed through life. Here are some examples of the line cook curriculum for an organized life:

In life, as in the kitchen – those who anticipate, run through potential scenarios, methodically build the skills and aptitudes necessary for success are the ones who do, in fact, succeed.

In a foodservice operation we refer to this as “mise en place”. It is a focus on all of the minute details that go into the make up of a plate of food and establishing the precise location for those details (ingredients) so that they can be imbedded in memory. This can also apply to playing a musical instrument, flying an airplane, driving a car or functioning effectively in an office cubicle.

Once a line cook has determined the precise set-up of his or her station and has designed a process by which he or she cooks and assembles plates – any disruption to the “plan” will result in chaos. If another cook steps into a line cooks domain he or she must respect the established mise en place. This is why many line cooks do not appreciate it when the chef steps in thinking that he or she is helping out. As in the previous statement about mise en place, this need for organizational respect applies to all other trades or professional work environments.

Maintaining a clean kitchen is only difficult when line cooks do not stay on top of cleaning constantly – even when they are busy. This trait, maybe above all others, is applicable in any person’s everyday life.

Line cooks realize that they are never paid to stand around. There is always something to clean in a kitchen. Once again, it is easy to see how this lesson can be applied elsewhere.

What goes around comes around. If you ignore the needs of others, fail to jump in when someone else is having a difficult time, choose to constantly focus on yourself, then you (line cooks in this case) will eventually face a time when your needs will be ignored by others. If you are disrespectful, insubordinate or condescending – then you should be prepared for payback. This is not exclusive to kitchen life.

On the line it becomes essential to keep the communication focused and relevant. “Yes, chef” says it all. To divert attention to trivial chatter is to disrupt the concentration and problem solving abilities of those who are under the gun.. Line cooks cannot afford distractions.

Once that first ticket arrives in the kitchen, all attention must be on the process that a line cook has prepared him or herself for. Nothing else is important during the time of service. Apply this, as you desire to anything and everything. Focus is critical in life.

Macho and smart do not always coexist. Smart people lift with their knees, not their backs. An interesting statistic points to a reality that the majority of all workmen’s compensation claims are for back injuries.

Everyone needs those 15 minutes to make sure that they are properly dressed, groomed and mentally focused to start work. Restaurants do not pay people for this adjustment time, nor should any other employer.

You body does not warn you of hydration needs until it is often too late – especially in a kitchen where cooks may be working with ambient temperatures well over 100 degrees, staying hydrated is essential. Line cooks (most of them) also realize that the best source of hydration is water.

No one in a kitchen is above doing what dishwashers do day in and day out. You have a minute – jump in and help the dishwasher. Apply this to any position, in any business: help those who help you – we are all equal in life.

No excuses. Better planning = fewer problems, happier employees and better results.

The kiss of death on a kitchen line. Run out of mise en place and it is all down hill from there.

In life, always follow the steps that you know are important to success. Do not compromise or take short cuts when you know that the results will not be acceptable. On the line a hot pan will allow that fish to slide smoothly during sauté or the meat to properly caramelize and add wonderful color and flavor to the dish.

Respect your tools! A sharp knife will slice cleanly and effortlessly through a product. If it is dull you will need to apply more pressure, the product may slip from a solid position on the cutting board and find one of your fingers as a target. Additionally, that dull knife will bruise the food unnecessarily.

Many of the kitchen injuries on the line are burns. Hot oil will push water away and spit in all directions. Whether it is in a saut̩ pan or friolater Рcooks need to pay attention to and respect this rule. In cold cooking we also realize that many liquids and oil will not stay in suspension without the addition of an emulsifying agent to bind the liquid and the oil.

Fish that smells fishy is not fresh, meat that smells off – usually is, vegetables that have the offensive odor of rot cannot be brought back to life. There are far more olfactory senses that taste buds – respect what your nose is telling you.

Your feet are the most important part of your body if you are a line cook. Sneakers may seem comfortable but they do not provide enough support or protection in a kitchen. Pick the right shoes for the job.

Wet towels (in a sanitizing solution) are for cleaning, not for holding hot pans. Enough said.

My friend Chef Michel LeBorgne held this close to his heart as the mantra for all cooks. Know where the flavor is, adjust it and taste again before it winds up on a guests plate.

Before it leaves the kitchen it must be right. Plan and take the time to do it right the first time. There is no room for beta testing with your restaurant guests or for that matter with any product that consumers choose to purchase. The customer is no longer as forgiving as they may have been in the past – they are not interested in downloading “fixes” simply to allow the manufacturer the privilege of getting it out to market quicker.

The next time you are looking for worldly advice, check in with your favorite restaurant and watch how line cooks treat their jobs, their responsibilities and their peers.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- April 20, 2014

Are You Ready For The Price Of Food To More Than Double By The End Of This Decade? - The Economic Collapse Blog - Michael Snyder - April 18th, 2014 - Do you think that the price of food is high now?  Just wait.  If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade.  Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet.  You see, it isn't just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices.  Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year.  And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply.  A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigs.  Even if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future.  But what if something does happen?  In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly.
A professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University named Timothy Richards has calculated what the drought in California is going to do to produce prices at our supermarkets in the near future.  His projections are quite sobering...
  • Avocados likely to go up 17  to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
  • Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
  • Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
  • Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
  • Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
  • Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
  • Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
  • Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

Behind the cornucopia of higher food prices - CNBC - John W. Schoen - April 19, 2014 - Alert shoppers are accustomed to watching food prices go up and down. But a string of forces—from droughts to diseases—is raising the cost of a trip to the grocery store at a rapid clip.                        And it looks like it will be a while before the price pressure eases.                         Some of that pressure is coming from California—the source of roughly half the nation's fruits and vegetables—where a long-running drought is forcing farmers and ranchers to cut production. After the driest year on record, large sections of farmland are expected to lay fallow this year as the Golden State copes with an ongoing water crisis...                       Smaller cattle herds have forced meat prices higher in March—up more than 5 percent from a year ago, as demand remained strong despite tightener supplies. Ranchers are getting higher prices for cattle and food companies are able to pass them along..                             Pork prices also have been rising after higher feed costs last year forced hog farmers to cut production. The upward price pressure on pork intensified this winter when a deadly virus thinned pig herds. That's expected to bring even higher prices for this summer's grilling season, when demand typically picks up...                         "I think consumer should expect record high meat prices his year," Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith told CNBC last month. "You should expect to see very high prices for your ground beef, your other meat cuts, all the pork cuts will be higher this year."   (Check out the maps of interest at the link provided).

Soaring Food Inflation Full Frontal: Beef, Pork And Shrimp Prices Soar To Record Highs - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - April 15, 2014 - We previously noted that both beef and pork (courtesy of the affectionately named Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) prices have been reaching new all time highs on an almost daily basis. It is time to update the chart. Below we show what a world in which the Fed is constantly lamenting the lack of inflation looks like for beef prices...

... pork

... shrimp

18 Stats That Prove That Government Dependence Has Reached Epidemic Levels - The End of the American Dream - Michael Snyder - April 17th, 2014 - Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million?  In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system.  And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs?  When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government.  Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people.  In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government.                     Just check out the chart below.  It comes from the Heritage Foundation, and it shows that 69 percent of all federal money is spent either on entitlements or on welfare programs…

Why Jesus Was REALLY Killed: Challenging the Money Changers - WashingtonsBlog - - Preface: If you are an atheist and believe that religion is crazy, please remember that some 85% of the American population identifies itself as Christian and millions more identify themselves as Jewish. Very few Americans are atheists … and the majority don’t trust atheists. Therefore, knowing a few bible verses might be helpful for atheists speaking to people of faith...

The big banks have engaged in systemic, continuous ongoing criminal fraud.                Allowing the banks to commit crime with impunity is not what Jesus would do. What would Jesus do? Turn over the tables of the money-changers. (economists agree.)                 Moreover, the giant banks manipulate currency through the use of schemes such as manipulating interest rates (gaming interest rates in different regions – Libor, Eurobor, etc. – can in turn drive their currencies up or down), high frequency trading and artificially suppressing gold prices (which artificially inflates the value of fiat money) ...                            The Bible condemns oppression of the poor for the benefit of the affluent: He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want. (Proverbs 22:16)                       To the extent that the giant banks have oppressed the poor to increase their riches, they are violating scripture.                          Due to their looting, inequality is now worse in American than in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, most Latin American banana republics … and ancient Rome...

How The Recession Changed America's Car-Buying Attitudes  - Forbes - Micheline Maynard - April 17, 2014 - EDITOR’S NOTE: Forbes has just published Curbing Cars: America’s Independence From The Auto Industry, an eBook investigating why a growing number of Americans are giving up their cars. Written by Forbes contributor and former New York Times Detroit bureau chief Micheline Maynard, this illuminating account of our changing automotive habits is available for download now. Here’s an excerpt looking at the impact of the recession on attitudes towards automobiles.                             It’s easy to blame the economy as a reason why some people have declared their independence from their automobiles. Six years after the worst times in recent memory, a good share of the people hit by the recession still have not recovered, and as with their parents and grandparents, may never recover from the psychic impact of what roiled the country.                     The changes these consumers made during the worst of the recession have become permanent parts of their lives. Even as the stock market soared in 2013 and 2014, and as some economists declared that America had recovered (statistically at least), the feeling that all could be lost at any moment still resounds in a number of corners.                         Plenty of evidence supports that feeling, and the economy provides a major reason why people have cut back on driving, looking instead at other types of transportation. But when I say the economy, I don’t simply mean macroeconomic indicators.                 If the economy alone explained the drop in vehicle miles traveled, the number by now would have rebounded to pre-recession levels. But annual sales have not yet reached their previous highs, and in fact, the percentage of working adults buying new cars is also below where it stood 10 years ago. (See the statistics in the Curbing Cars ebook.)                                  Automobiles, which have never been higher quality, were an easy place to cut back. For those whose pride depended on owning the latest model, such economizing might have stung. But for families who needed to count every penny, they could stretch the life of a dependable car for another year, or two, or three, or indefinitely.                          The average price of a new vehicle now hovers around $33,000, which can easily mean payments of $500 or more a month, without some kind of subsidized deal.

La-Z-Boy cutting 100 jobs in North Carolina - AP through Detroit Free Press - April 17, 2014 -
MONROE — La-Z-Boy Inc. is closing two facilities and eliminating 100 jobs in North Carolina as part of a larger restructuring of its business.                  The Monroe-based furniture maker said Wednesday that it will idle two North Wilkesboro facilities and put them up for sale. It will move warehouse and repair functions from those sites to another North Carolina plant, in Hudson.                 La-Z-Boy is ending production of some of its bedroom furniture at the Hudson facility in the quarter that ends in October in 2014, as it shifts to importing all of its wood furniture.                      The company said that its North Carolina facility was too big given the level of demand in the U.S.
It also plans to exit a division that sells furniture to hotels and will put its youth furniture business up for sale.                       As a result of these changes, the company expects to take $13 million to $15 million in pre-tax charges, or 15 to 17 cents per share after tax, over the fourth quarter and first half of its next fiscal year.

Are more job cuts coming at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center? - Triad Business Journal - Amy Dominello Braun - April 14, 2014 - More cuts — including layoffs — could be announced at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as early as this week, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
Sources tell the newspaper that between several hundred to 1,000 positions could be eliminated.
In late 2012, the Winston-Salem medical center began trimming 950 jobs, about half of them filled, a move that played out through the first half of 2013.                        The medical center has 13,000 full- and part-time employees and is the largest employer in Forsyth County.                      A statement issued to the newspaper said the medical center was in the midst of its budgeting process and it would be premature for officials to comment.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of April 15, 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 April 15, 2014
- Go to this link if you would like more information about the Agenda items.

Thoughts about last night's Hickory City Council meeting - April 15, 2014

Highlighted Links below take you straight to that point in the video.

Mark Andrews, St.Luke's United Methodist Church

Special Presentations
A. Proclamation for National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

Consent Agenda:

New Business - Public Hearings
1. Consideration of Economic Development Agreement with OHM Holdings LLC. - This public hearing was advertised in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area on April 4, 2014.

*** Transportation Insight and The Olde Mill (Lyerly Building) - Official Press Release

2. Consideration of the Community Development Block Grant 2014 Annual Action Plan. - In April of each year staff prepares an Annual Action Plan for its Community Development Block Grant allocation from the federal government.

Speaking For
Paula Atwood - Green Park Neighborhood Association
The Dickinson Family - Green Park Neighborhood Association
Austin Pearce - Hickory Soup Kitchen
Angela Hurd - City of Refuge - Children's after school program

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Quarterly Financial Report - Presentation by Assistant City Manager Warren Wood

2. Proposed Changes to the City’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program.

General Comments
Alderwoman Patton commented that the Farmer’s Market starts tomorrow.
Mayor Wright announced that a Legislative reception would be held on Tuesday, April 29, 2014 in the lobby from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. A chance to meet and greet our delegates who are heading to Raleigh.
Mayor Wright advised that swimming lessons are starting again. If you know of someone who needs to learn to swim, the City’s program will pay for that without regard to need, although it is preferred that people that can pay the YMCA for the lessons, pay them.
Alderman Seaver commented about the program that had taken place last Wednesday at the Zahra Baker Playground for the Child Abuse Prevention Month in the City and the County. To see 2,000 pinwheels out there on a very breezy day, a very beautiful day, there were approximately a couple hundred people there. A beautiful place honoring a little girl, and hoping for a future of no child abuse.
Mayor Wright commented that the Food Channel had done a segment on Hickory.
Alderman Lail commented that the Crawdads are playing.
Mayor Wright stated that if you haven’t seen the new stadium, the renovated stadium, you need to get out and see it. It really looks nice and enhances the experience.


Hound's Notes: As this Newsletter has evolved, you see that I have taken steps to make the information more accessible and user friendly. You get the Agenda as soon as possible and commentary involving the meeting as soon as possible. Please use these tools to inform yourself as much as possible. 

What I got from this meeting? The people of this community, who choose to be involved, are making a difference. The theme of the people who spoke during this meeting is that they truly care about the community. Paul Thompson, Paula Atwood, Austin Pearce, Angela Hurd... all of these people are taking actions to make a day-to-day difference in the community.  To take a giant leap forward, we are going to have to see more people like this step forward and express the reality of the community.

These people didn't paint a totally rosy scenario, but they expressed ways that positive actions in a negative environment can move the community forward. Let's not lie to ourselves about the challenges we face. They are real. These people weren't in denial. Let's accept the reality and take the necessary steps to improve the situation.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Transportation Insight and The Olde Mill (Lyerly Building) - Official Press Release

Transportation Insight 
Announces Plans to Triple Size of Business in Six Years

Top 10 Global Logistics Provider Unveils Growth Strategy with Launch of New Corporate Campus

HICKORY, NC (April 17, 2014) – Nationally-acclaimed Enterprise Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Provider Transportation Insight announces its plan to triple the size of its business over the next six years. Recognized as a Top 10 3PL for best range of logistics services by Global Trade magazine and an Inc. 5000 honor roll recipient for six years straight, the supply chain management firm says it plans to capitalize on the substantial investments it has made in talent and technology to position the company as the North American market leader in Enterprise Logistics. In its growth strategy branded “Vision 20/20,” Transportation Insight presented a six-year financial plan to become a $3.5 to $5 billion company by January 1, 2020. Transportation Insight shared its vision for growth with area government officials Tuesday evening, as it unveiled plans to move its headquarters to a new corporate campus. The complex will provide lifestyle business facilities to accommodate more than three times the 3PL’s current Hickory workforce.

 Mill Model revised

Transportation Insight President and CEO Chris Baltz says the announcement signals another season of rapid growth for the supply chain solutions provider. “Since our founding in 1999, we have been 
committed to accelerated growth and continuous improvement for both our clients and for our company,” says Baltz. “Now having over 400 enterprise clients across North America, we can leverage our investments in technology, supply chain analytics, network optimization and business intelligence to provide a market leading platform of continuous improvement across over 400,000 shipping and receiving locations.”

Baltz adds, “Given the competitiveness of our global marketplace, now more than ever manufacturers, distributors and retailers are turning to 3PLs to provide the expertise, processes and systems necessary to compete across worldwide supply chains. A differentiator for Transportation Insight, and the key to our success, is our relentless commitment to helping our clients prosper in their marketplace. By designing efficient supply chain networks powered by technology-enabled systems our clients have a competitive advantage. In many cases, global businesses are transformed from surviving to thriving.”

Vision 20/20 roadmaps the strategy for both organic and acquisition-related growth. One of the first initiatives in Vision 20/20 is the development of a new corporate campus created to provide the quality of workplace life that Transportation Insight desires for its associates. The $8 million hosiery mill renovation, located in downtown Hickory, NC, also supports the city’s desire to revitalize its downtown corridor. When complete, the campus will encompass 11 acres with 70,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of indoor exercise/athletic facilities. The complex will also feature athletic fields, outdoor basketball courts, significant green space and a full service cafeteria with a chef specializing in healthy cuisine.

View 3 revised

Transportation Insight’s Chairman and Founder Paul Thompson, a nationally-recognized supporter of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, says the corporate campus will foster a vibrant lifestyle which active professionals are seeking today. “Transportation Insight remains committed to the well-being of all of its associates by facilitating the opportunity for physical activity and healthy lifestyles. Transportation Insight also recognizes many young adults today value an urban work/life environment within a livable community where they can experience daily outdoor living and recreation activities. Transportation Insight is committed to investing in a lifestyle business that promotes physical activity and a better overall quality of life for its associates,” says Thompson.

Transportation Insight will begin construction on the new campus facility immediately. The development is being handled by affiliate OHM Holdings, LLC for the benefit of Transportation Insight, led by Toby Tate, Managing Partner of OHM Holdings.

View 1 revised

The mill building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places dating to 1930 and will be restored to its original state with hardwood floors and ceilings, walls of windows and an Art Moderne style. The project is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

“We are very excited to see a thriving company like Transportation Insight take steps to put deep roots in downtown Hickory,” says North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory of the site renovation. “We believe that Transportation Insight’s efforts at the Lyerly Mill will encourage more businesses to consider embracing, preserving and energizing the great historical downtowns across North Carolina.”

Thompson says the new campus development underscores Transportation Insight’s long-term dedication to growth and commitment to the communities where the company has a presence. “Transportation Insight remains committed to our clients, our people and our community,” says Thompson. “By developing this campus as a foundation for our Vision 20/20 growth plan, we hope to leave a legacy in both our community and our industry.”

About Transportation Insight, LLC
Transportation Insight is a global lead logistics provider with more than $1.6 billion in supply chain spend under management. For over a decade, the 3PL has partnered with hundreds of manufacturers, distributors and retailers to achieve significant cost savings, reduce cycle times and improve customer satisfaction rates by providing customized supply chain solutions. Transportation Insight offers a Co-managed Logistics® form of 3PL, carrier sourcing, freight bill audit and payment services, state-of-the-art transportation management system (TMS) applications, and business intelligence. Its logistics services include domestic transportation, supply chain analytics, international transportation, warehouse sourcing, LEAN consulting and supply chain sourcing of indirect materials.

Headquartered in Hickory, NC, Transportation Insight has secondary operating centers in Charlotte, NC, Bentonville, AR and Atlanta, GA, as well as more than 40 client support offices across North America. Transportation Insight has been named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately-held companies in North America for six consecutive years, is listed at #17 on the 2013 Business North Carolina list of privately held companies, and is ranked #1 in total revenue growth on the 2013 Charlotte Business Journal Fast 50 list of fastest-growing privately-held companies in the Charlotte metropolitan area. The 3PL has been recognized by Inbound Logistics as a Top 100 3PL for two consecutive years, and appears on the list of Top 10 3PLs with Best Range of Services by Global Trade magazine. For more about Transportation Insight, visit

To view the original release on PRNewswire Click Here

Copyright © 2014 Transportation Insight. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy
328 1st Avenue NW, Hickory, NC 28601



 en·dure [en-door, -dyoor]  

1. to hold out against; sustain without impairment or yielding; undergo: to endure great financial pressures with equanimity.
2. to bear without resistance or with patience; tolerate: I cannot endure your insults any longer.
3. to admit of; allow; bear: His poetry is such that it will not endure a superficial reading.
verb (used without object), en·dured, en·dur·ing.
4. to continue to exist; last: These words will endure as long as people live who love freedom.
5. to support adverse force or influence of any kind; suffer without yielding; suffer patiently: Even in the darkest ages humanity has endured.
6. to have or gain continued or lasting acknowledgment or recognition, as of worth, merit or greatness: His plays have endured for more than three centuries.

Batman at 75: The Psychology of Why the Dark Knight Endures - Why does the Caped Crusader still intrigue us on the hero's 75th anniversary? - Psychology Today - March 30, 2014 - Travis Langley, Ph.D. in Beyond Heroes and Villains

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thoughts about last night's Hickory City Council meeting - April 15, 2014

Agenda about the City Council meeting of April 15, 2014

1) Public Hearing #1. Consideration of Economic Development Agreement with OHM Holdings LLC - This plan was unveiled and it certainly looks solid. Company chairman Paul Thompson spoke before the council and talked about the difficult choice that the company hadin deciding whether to remain in Hickory, where it was founded, or to move to Charlotte. 17th largest privately held company in North Carolina.  Company has 151 associates in North Carolina. Company wants to triple their business over the next six years. Company's growth necessitates a corporate campus.

Mr. Thompson was very forward in relating his personal thoughts to the council. Company recruits a very vibrant, 4-yr. degree, kids out of school and professionals from around the country. Since 2011, they have hired 57 college graduates. These people want a more vibrant lifestyle. They want to walk to lunch and have outside activities. The company has had difficulty in deciding whether they wanted to stay in Hickory or move their headquarters to Charlotte. Company decided that they wanted to stay in Hickory.

Mr. Thompson went into the restoration of the Lyerly Mill and its surrounding properties to include athletic facilities and green space. They are looking to create a lifestyle business. They will even have an in-house Chef with indoor and outdoor dining facilities.

Mr. Thompson and his wife enjoy the farmer's market, outdoor activities,  and riding bicycles and to paraphrase, 'they take their lives in their hands riding bikes from Catawba Country Club to Hwy 127 and around Hickory. Hickory is not Bike friendly.' He talked about successful communities. He went into talking about the young workforce and what they demand. They want activities daily. 'The taxpayer paying our bills 15 years from now, doesn't have the same motivation as the taxpayer of today.' They aren't bound by houses in suburbs and possessions. The highest turnover they have is younger people who say there is nothing to do here.

Scott Millar of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation went into the details of the contractual agreement with the city. He talked about this area being a jobs corridor with opportunities... The company will receive a $280,000 tax break based upon $8 million in assessed value x $.50 x 7 years with a $40,000 cap in any given year.

The Hound's Note: We have gone over this for the past couple weeks since it arrived on the Consent Agenda on April 1, 2014.

2) Community Development Block Grants - Total Budget of $536,142

Paula Atwood lives in the Green Park area and thanked the city and spoke about the renovations to the Optimist Park on 2nd Avenue SW. She talked about safe access and would like to see an entrance point into the park from the surrounding neighborhoods. She talked about the positive health aspects of renovating the park and connecting it to other Green Spaces in the community. Ms. Atwood introduced the Dickinson family that lives in the Green park neighborhood and spoke in favor of the renovations to the Optimist Park.

The Hound's Note: To Ms. Atwood and all of these agencies, but especially the Neighborhood Associations... empower yourselves...
Platform for a 21st Century Hickory - "Empowering Neighborhood Associations to create Leadership"

Austin Pearce of the Hickory Soup Kitchen spoke about serving 80,819 plates to the hungry in the community. They have been in existence for 31 years. In 2010, when Mr. Pearce took over operations, they served 41,432 plates.  They have done surveys to find out where the people are coming from and what their needs are. 55% of the people served are not homeless -- 45% are. 35% of the people served were working in 2008. Most of which, 80% were working full time. Most of these people have lived here for generations. That is the upsurge. Their mission is food. They supplemented food for everyone on the board (shown above). They move $1 million worth of in-kind food contributions through the program.

He spoke about the "Furniture Fundamentals" program taught at CVCC that is helping people get hired in the furniture industry and move through the pipeline. They supported 150 families through the supplemental food pantry program.

Angela Hurd spoke about the City of Refuge after school program in its 10th year. They had 21 attendees last year and 22 this year. They had 30 academic and perfect attendance awards for program participants. 

3) Warren Wood went over the Quarterly Financial Report. The General Fund and Water and Dewer Funds are pretty much on target when compared to the 5 year average.

He went over the Wells Fargo Economic Analysis for North Carolina - Month of April - Western North Carolina - Metro areas...

Comparing Western North Carolina, excluding Asheville,  to the rest of the State's employment growth...

Share of Employment Gains in NC compared to the metros of Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham... 70% of the jobs in NC have been created in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Durham over the past 4 years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

20140407 - Monday Morning Meeting with the Mayor

The following is the interview of Mayor Rudy Wright on 1290 WHKYam Radio's First talk program with Hal Row.

WHKY does not archive these programs and make them available to the public, so I am putting this important public interview up under Fair Use guidelines.

The Mayor is asked about the Officer who has been charged with assault stemming from an incident back in November. The Mayor is asked about the proposed grocery store to be located at Cloninger Mill Road at the site of the proposed public park. The Mayor talks about the "Inspiring Spaces" initiative.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- April 13, 2014

Beef prices climb to highest in 25 years - AP through CNBC - April 12, 2014 - The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn't likely anytime soon.                  A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.               Everything that's produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based information group. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will get enough rain to replenish pastures.

Showdown on the range: Nevada rancher, feds face off over cattle grazing rights - CNN - Michael Martinez - April 12, 2014 - A 20-year dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. "tyranny."                       What began as a legal fight between longtime rancher Cliven Bundy and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has escalated as Bundy kept his cattle on the federal land, and the government has responded by beginning roundups of the livestock.                           A confrontation teetered on violence Wednesday when Bundy family members and dozens of supporters angrily confronted a group of rangers holding Tasers and barking dogs on leashes near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Harry Reid and his long dirty fingers in the Bunkerville, NV range dispute - Before It's News - April 12, 2014 - It has been reported that there were over 50 ranchers in the Bunkerville area. Now down to one. The story to be told has yet to be revealed. What is clear, that this story is more than a rancher not paying the BLM grazing fees. What we do know is that Harry Reid has his long dirty fingerprints in this story. While the Bundy family may not be the most articulate, soon we hear from others what the BLM has been doing to ranchers. You betcha. Here we go:
The son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Rory Reid, is the primary representative for ENN Energy Group, a Chinese energy company seeking to build a $5 billion solar panel plant on a 9,000-acre Clark County desert plot in Laughlin, Nevada.                       ENN scored big when Clark County commissioners unanimously voted to sell the Chinese company the public land for just $4.5 million, despite the fact that it was appraised at $38.6 million.                      Sen. Reid has been one of ENN’s biggest supporters, having recruited the company during a 2011 trip to China. According to Reuters, last month Sen. Reid tried to “pressure Nevada’s largest power company, NV Energy, to sign up as ENN’s first customer.”                            This isn’t the first time the Reids have come under fire for alleged cronyism. In 2003, allegations emerged that Nevada industries frequently lobbied Sen. Reid through his well-connected relatives.                        (Excerpt) Read more at …
 Reid’s son, a lawyer with a prominent Las Vegas firm that is representing ENN, helped it locate a 9,000-acre (3,600-hectare) desert site that it is buying well below appraised value from Clark County, where Rory Reid formerly chaired the county commission.                          To advance the Nevada project, ENN retained the state’s largest and most prestigious law firm – Lionel Sawyer & Collins, where Rory Reid works. It is headed by Richard Bryan, a former Nevada attorney general, governor and member of the U.S. Senate

Corporatocracy: How the Corporate Welfare State Divides and Conquers - Against Fascism: Towards the Separation of Business and State - The Corbett Report - James Corbett - February 11, 2014 - Since 1996, the United States Department of Defense has accumulated an $8.5 trillion black hole in its budget. The number is so staggering that it is quite literally inconceivable. Several times larger than the annual budget for the entire federal government, it is equivalent to half of the entire fraudulent debt of the United States government itself. Aside from a recent report by Reuters or the occasional back-of-the-paper mention in one of the dinosaur media outlets, however, you’d have to turn to Russian state-sponsored media to discover this fact.

Paul Craig Roberts Interview on King World News - April 13, 2014 - Listen Here
The Beginning of the End of the Dollar. 2014 will be the year of reckoning for the United States. The threat of sanctions against Russia has brought on actions that will unhinge the Dollar as the World Reserve Currency... Russians are saying they won't take Dollars for Russian Oil... Must purchase Rubles to purchase their Oil.... Corruption is rampant in U.S. regulatory agencies..  Foreign policy Propaganda against Ukraine and others is backfiring on U.S.... String of Lies to go to war... Prestige and Dollar are taking hits... Domestic U.S. economy is turning down - actual numbers support it... People are having a hard time making ends meet... House of cards and markets manipulated can only be kept together as long as the Dollar remains the World Reserve Currency... U.S. can only survive these crises with the help of Russia and China.

Gerald Celente Interview on King World News - April 11, 2014 - Listen Here
Markets are in a downtrend... Negative sensitivity and Emotions... Cheap money into the system has caused the market to go higher through propping up the Banks... seeing more consolidation... cheap money building deals and thus a bubble... there is going to be a Lehman Brothers moment... Federal Reserve has given banks two more years to get rid of troubled loans... they are just shifting the risk from one group to another... gambling has heated up and wrong house is going to make the wrong bet and it is going to take down a lot of people... It's a House of Cards built on paper/digital money... The problem is systemic and it has grown in size and intensity... It is a bubble built on rigged games, inside deals, outright lies... We have never seen gambling at a level like this... It is even more unregulated by the latest moves signaled by the Fed... they will do unprecedented money world wide... they will blame it on the House of Cards... a cover up to justify more money printing... Interest rates will have to eventually rise and this will send the global economies into cardiac arrest. Then they will have to create more cheap money to keep the Ponzi scheme going.


Zero Prosecutions of Elites for Most Destructive Frauds in World History - William Black - - March 31, 2014 - Greg Hunter - Fraud expert and former regulator Professor William Black says, "Even today, we are well into 2014, and the Department of Justice record is intact. There have been zero prosecutions of the elite officers who led the epic epidemic of fraud. It was the most destructive in world history, zero of them even unsuccessfully prosecuted, much less prosecuted."                  What is the result of massive rampant unprosecuted fraud? Professor Black says, "If you don't have any accountability, you not only make certain that there is going to be a next blow-up, but it will be worse. . . . We have effectively removed the criminal laws for a particular elite class of frauds."                  Join Greg Hunter of as he goes One-on-One with Professor William Black of University of Missouri Kansas City.