Monday, March 30, 2009

A message from the National Recycling Coalition president

Dear NRC Members:

We are sending you this note, and the attached letter, in an effort to keep you informed of the activities of the NRC in these very challenging economic times. In February, the Board had written to the State recycling leadership and key stakeholders and informed them of the steps that the Board was undertaking in fulfillment of its fiduciary responsibilities. A copy of that letter is attached. The circumstances under which that letter was written have not changed. To bring you up to date, I would first like to emphasize that no decision has been made regarding the future of the organization, so statements to the contrary are inaccurate. Secondly, as we analyze the various options available to us, the Board has reached out to State recycling leaders for their valued advice. Finally, and to reiterate what is in the letter, on any issues involving merger and certain other major organizational options, it is the membership, through our by-laws, who is ultimately empowered to decide the future of the organization, and we are cognizant and respectful of that at all times during our deliberations.

In the meantime, we ask for your continued patience and understanding.

Sincerely, on behalf of the Board of Directors,
David Refkin, President

Thursday, March 26, 2009

National Recyclng Coalition disbanding?

Reports from the Carolina Recycling Association conference that the NRC board of directors will be meeting this afternoon to decide on the fate of the organization. Among possibilities are voting to go out of business or to be taken over by Keep America Beautiful. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another paper mill closing

Another paper mill closing. Caraustar permanently closed its Carolina Paperboard mill today. Sonoco also closing Lancaster.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Scrap paper markets

Most mills are reportedly jammed with old corrugated (OCC), but mills going through financial problems are paying premiums to get hesitant suppliers to send tonnage their way. Despite almost daily announcements of newspaper closings and bankruptcies, prices for old newspaper (ONP) remain stronger than expected. Look for upcoming export problems - containers and/or ship space is getting hard to come by. See The Paper Stock Report

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bay Village mayor slanders Image Builders

In one of the most irresponsible public statements in memory, Bay Village mayor Debbie Sutherland, during a City Council meeting on February 2, falsely charged that Image Builders Marketing was the "reformulation" of Garnett Publishing, a magazine publisher that took money from advertisers a couple years ago, then filed for bankruptcy without publishing the magazines it had collected advertising money for.

The mayor's comments were related to the recent Bay Village Community Guide, published by Image Builders. Through The Write Company/McEntee Media, I was the editorial consultant and writer for the magazine.

Sutherland, who refused to be interviewed, or to cooperate in the production of the magazine which promotes the city of Bay Village and local businesses, said at the council meeting that the city did not "sanction" the Image Builders publication. She said that she was not comfortable working with Image Builders because she didn't feel the company was "reputable" due to the fact that Garnett screwed businesses in Bay Village and other cities.

She then slandered Image Builders, claiming that Garnett filed for bankruptcy, then reformulated as Image Builders.

The mayor was well aware of the fact that Garnett and Image Builders were not related - this was explained to Sutherland and/or her secretary on many occasions by me, Bernice Kaldy, owner of Image Builders, and Scott Hughes, sales rep for Image Builders, whom Sutherland has known personally for many years. Garnett, prior to going bankrupt, was Image Builders' main competitor.

Kaldy and I publicly addressed the mayor at last night's city council meeting, calling her to task for her slander of Image Builders and for for rather monarchistic suggestion that a mayor may "sanction" the press. Kaldy requested a written retraction from the mayor, who sat silently and did not offer a response.

Sutherland, during production of the Bay Village Community Guide refused to cooperate or be interviewed for the magazine that promoted the city she was elected to serve. Failing to get an interview with the mayor, I interviewed Councilman Jim Scott, who will run against Sutherland for mayor this fall. Sutherland was reportedly upset that her mayoral opponent was quoted in the magazine.

She had her opportunity, but rejected it.

Early on, when Sutherland's help was solicited, she said she would not support any community magazines from any publisher due to the experience with Garnett. Shortly afterward, however, she agreed with The Plain Dealer, Cleveland's daily newspaper, to produce a magazine for the city.

The Plain Dealer endorsed Sutherland in her unsuccessful race against Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones in November. As a member of the Central Committee of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, I also supported and campaigned for Sutherland.

The Plain Dealer, suffering from the same financial problems as newspapers around the country, evidently is expanding into new revenue sources, such as the production of community guides in competition with Image Builders, Great Lakes Publishing and other companies.

The Plain Dealer, whose parent company also owns Cuyahoga County's chain of weekly newspapers, has published community magazines for Lakewood, Brooklyn and Brunswick. The production of magazines in cooperation with the municipalities for which it is supposed to provide neutral and unbiased news coverage seems to border on a conflict of interest.

Image Builders has been in business for eight years, publishing community magazines for around 20 different cities. Most of the magazines are done with some degree of cooperation with the local government, but some are not.