Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday round up...

Okay, so I've had a few stories in the pantry for a bit now, and they have not fallen into any themes, so I figured I'd just post 'em all today since I don't want them to go stale.

Back in the middle of October, the New York Times published a story on small town recession angels in Greenlawn, N.Y. Junior Silverio owned a Mom-and-Pop video store for 16 years, but the recession and resulting slowing of business forced him to consider closing down. However, the town rallied around him, his landlord eased up and Silverio decided to stay open. He seems to be the epitome of a small town business owner, knowing his customers' lives and connecting with the businesses in his area. He won't take outright donations, so his customers and neighbors were considering various financing options to help him and other area business owners who are suffering the same plight.

Workers who are not quite as down as Silverio often sit at their desks and dream about long weekends. I should know; I'm one of them. The state of Utah has made the four-day workweek happen, according to Yahoo! News, with state employees working 10-hour days. The state envisioned savings in energy costs, but what the officials did not see coming was a savings in overtime pay. As any minion will tell you, working long days does not encourage you to stay even longer. Not sure why that wasn't immediately apparent, but the Utah state government is quite pleased by the uptick in productivity during regular hours. Workers are pleased with the extra day it gives them to spend with family and get things accomplished.

Moving from state to national politics, the Boston Globe reported on former Massachusetts senator Edward W. Brooke (R) receiving the Congressional Gold Medal for his long and distinguished career known for bipartisanship. Brooke, the nation's first popularly elected African-American senator, was convivial during his ceremony but did admonish current Congress members on the need to get together on some of the nation's most pressing current issues.

Finally, the Globe featured a Wisconsin farmer who has mingled with a former president and turned down an invitation from the current one. Will Allen, founder of Growing Power, Inc., received a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation several years ago and since then his company, which encourages urban farming in poor areas, has taken off. The 60 year-old former ABA basketball player is working to promote sustainability in urban farming as well as introduce more African-Americans to the movement.

(Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe)

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