And thanks to a countereffort to applaud the Record-Eagles investigative journalism, the newspapers corporate office has just been flooded with letters of support, said Publisher Ann Reed. I want to thank people for caring about our newspaper.
In late August, the newspapers parent company announced that it was putting the Record-Eagle up for sale, along with five other papers. Dow Jones & Co. owns Ottaway newspapers, which owns the Record-Eagle along with 51 other newspapers and publications.
All involved say the sale of the profitable paperfor years, nicknamed the chains cash cowhas nothing to do with the recent controversy. Whatever the reason, new ownership sometimes means a bunch of people get fired.
Even beyond the prospect of a new owner, the heat is definitely on. The top brass at Ottaway asked Thomas and news editor Mike Tyree to submit a response to Childs critique. Childs submitted a package in early July to the Dow board chairman that included petitions with 875 signatures, 30 letters, and an analysis of eight articles, which he said proves his charge of mean-spiritedness and bias.
Ross did send the information to corporate, and some of the letters were fairly accusatory, said publisher Ann Reed. Corporate wanted a better understanding of why we made the decisions we did, and why we covered what we did. They want to take an objective look of what action, if any, needs to be taken next. I really dont know what that might be at this point.
Reed said it took two or three weeks for Tyree and Thomas to compile the response, which was turned in last week.
Thomas said the staff is aware of the papers uncertain future, but has not changed its approach. Just last week, for example, the Record-Eagle ran a hard-hitting editorial about an incestuous consultant hire at Northwestern Michigan College.
Were still covering our stories, its still the same newspaper. As for the petition drive, we are not intimidated by any of it. Thats just nonsense, Thomas said.
Reed said the sale has more to do with a pending $155 million tax credit than the controversy ignited by Ross Childs, an NMC board trustee and former Grand Traverse County administrator.
The announcement of the sale came in the midst of a petition drive supporting the award-winning newspaper. It was spearheaded by the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, grateful for the papers revelatory stories of politics trumping the environment. Ken Smith, president of NMEAC, said its more than that the paper has sparked a healthy debate in the town and has held public officials accountable for their actions and words.
On September 5, NMEAC submitted 1,320 signatures and 50 letters of support (including 18 written to the R-E and Northern Express) to the newspapers parent company, Dow Jones & Co.
Supporters said Childs tactic of going to the top amounted to trying to bully the paper into submissiona not-so-subtle form of censorship. Childs said he did so because he felt frustrated with the papers lack of response to his and others complaints.
Childs said it was not his intention to get anyone fired. You have to read the original letter and the original language. Nowhere in that document was there any reference to (editor) Bill Thomas. The language was very, very carefully drawn. We wanted to bring the paper back to respectability and thats where weve always been.
Childs said he was surprised when the Record-Eagle went up for sale, although he and others have explored options to offer an alternative local news source. But he said that Dows timeline of 15 days to submit complex bid requirements for purchase was too tight for himself and interested investors to put together.
A new restaurant along with residential and office condos are in store for a landmark building in downtown Traverse City.
Dan Marsh has purchased the former Smith/Kurtz Music store next to the State Theatre on Front Street from Rotary Charities with plans to renovate the over 100-year-old three-story building.
Marsh brings top credentials as a restaurateur. he gained his first restaurant experience working at Bowers Harbor Inn as a teenager and went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America with high honors in 1995. He has worked at the famed Rainbow Room atop Rockefeller Center in New York as well as Manhattan‘s Union Square Cafe and the Soho restaurant Zoe. He also cheffed at Hawthorne Lane in San Francisco‘s South of Market District.
Marsh plans to retain the building‘s historical charm, ceiling designs and brick walls, noting that there are great views of the bay from all three floors.
CONVICTS MAY GET PINK SLIPPED
Convicts laboring in federal prisons will have to compete with the private sector for government contracts under legislation passed by the U.S. House. The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), eliminates a Depression-era initiative that gave the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) exclusive access to some federal jobs.
Under current law, all federal agencies must purchase products offered by the FPI, which has 106 factories representing seven industries such as clothing, elctrionics, office furniture and services such as data entry. In 2005, federal prison workers generated $765 million in sales.