Bristol Virginia-Tennessee News Opinion 2014

by Lewis Loflin


Tri-Cities, Bristol Virginia-Tennessee will not only have among the lowest growth in the nation, but the lowest in Tennessee and Virginia. The region already suffers a 20 percent plus real poverty-unemployment rate. Where do I begin?

In 2011 Bristol-Tri-Cities was ranked number 5 in the 10 poorest cities in America by

Posted August 20, 2015:

Posted August 5, 2015:

Quoting futurist Ed Barlow before the Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce:

"Seniors create low-wage service jobs. They tend to withdraw from working, and they generally don't create new wealth. A retirement community strategy has long-term negative economic consequences unless there is a diverse economic base of other employees around it...A significant component of your economic future in Sullivan County is recruiting Hispanics, making sure they get highly educated and integrated into the community."

Illegal Immigration

Posted April 16, 2015:

See Growing Poverty and Job Losses in Tri-Cities VA-TN

Bristol Virginia Tri-Cities Crime 2014

Former Bristol Employer Gets $188 Million in Tennessee Corporate Welfare

The antics of Electrolux Corporation is an example of the rampant corruption of Republican Corporatism I've ever seen. They are literally paying companies to fire and downsize American workers with our tax dollars.

One critic put this deal in perspective when it closed just its Canadian operation:

So Electrolux was able to get rid of 60 workers, cut the wages of the jobs they kept by more than $4 per hour, get a more central distribution location, and a free factory courtesy of state and local governments in Tennessee.

The state also agreed NOT to sue to get the money back if Electrolux closed or failed to deliver!

Read the whole sorry story: Obscene Electrolux-Tennessee Incentive Deal Puts State at Risk by Lewis Loflin

Crime, vagrancy, homelessness dominate Bristol safety meeting

This was a recent headline with the Bristol Herald Courier Nov.24, 2014 - the very thing I've warned about for years and the Cities of Bristol Virginia-Tennessee are being forced to address. Let me summarize where our tax dollars in Bristol have went to just in the last two years:

Direct results as documented below:

The other results of all of this great central planning and more like across the region? People are being robbed in parking lots for their prescriptions and an explosion of break ins and armed robberies. And pharmacies are on alert for more potential robberies as drug addicts are tearing the place apart - there's no drug treatment available.

Local jails are bursting. In fact a television series Southern Justice features Bristol and Sullivan County.

But what is the official explanation for these problems in downtown and I kid you not, to quote,

The region's giving spirit and abundance of programs to aid the indigent 'draw' many vagrants here...The (police) chiefs urged those in attendance to be vigilant and willing to call the police if they see or suspect a problem.

Then they complained,

"The police can't be everywhere all the time. But if there is a problem, call us. We will be here as quickly as we can and, even if we don't catch the person, we've created a record that helps us allocate resources...It's not been a huge problem, but more of a nuisance. It's the way they [vagrants] approach people and it's got people concerned."

Getting robbed is a "nuisance"? They are claiming the lack of funds prevents proper policing of downtown and advocate cheap solutions such as surveillance cameras. Bristol Virginia recently raised property taxes to pay for Cabela's but has nothing left for schools or police.

Full article at

Happy Face Assault on our Individual Liberties

Liberalism's Double Standard on Bigotry and Intolerance

Bristol Virginia Gives $25,000 to Ice Cream Shop

Within days of raising property taxes, etc. to cover shortfalls due to massive incentive packages for a shopping mall development the City Counsel voted to give $25,000 to the "ice cream lady" to open an ice cream shop - I kid you not. Bristol politicians claim this will create millions of new jobs and help draw tourists to our $12 million taxpayer funded Afterbirth of Country Music Museum. (No the country music industry didn't start in Bristol - all the stars dumped the place and left.)

Not to be undone Bristol Virginia Utilities while mired in all types of controversy gave $10,000 of public and rate payers cash to the Museum to help underwrite some music program. They also misused $200,000 in economic development funds from TVA to underwrite a music concert. Yet the City has problems funding its schools where as many as 70% of the children live in poverty. The City has at least 11 public housing projects.

Also note another eatery Quaker Steak and Lube was slated to get $280,000.

Letter to the Editor

Published Bristol Herald Courier January 2, 2015

RE: GOP dominates SWVa. The sheeple of SWVa. Tri-Cities vote for Republicans determined to cut their throats, pilfering millions of public dollars for corporate welfare at the same time bitterly opposing expanding Medicaid.

"We don't want socialized medicine." What's Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration?

"They are working for jobs." Really? Republican dominated Tri-Cities- SWVa. labor force is imploding, disability roles explode as thousands turn to that for a living, and the region continues to rank in the bottom of the nation in most social demographics. Check with Dr. Steb Hipple at ETSU. Check the Sullivan County Jail - we even got our own TV show! (Southern Justice)

Republicans refused to defund the Obama amnesty - they support more replacement workers to further depress wages for the working poor. Where were you Mr. Griffith?

Republicans have reduced public office to private fiefdoms. "Economic development" is catch-phrase for corporate welfare, lucrative jobs, and a bonanza for contractors, consultants, and their friends - and zero accountability.

$150 million plus looted for the Falls, Pinnacle, etc. BVU using ratepayer funds to underwrite millions (most of it hidden) for The Falls, a stupid music program, etc.

An $8 an hour call center crosses State Street, get millions in incentives, and we call them "new jobs."

Why is the Tobacco Commission even paying Dominion Energy $10 million? The $2 million being wasted to fund the so-called "Center of Excellence" I predict will produce nothing like the last $2 million. Other than bailing out a non-profit and the Abingdon Incubator the program suffers from vague goals, no measurable standards, and zero public oversight. The Phil Puckett scandal aside when will the public shut this scandal-ridden agency down?

Now back to Obama's birth certificate.

Corruption Comes Back to Bite in Virginia

Bristol Herald Courier November 13, 2014 is reporting that State Sen. Bill Carrico, R-Galax is claiming possible cuts to education due to a "a multi-year $2.4 billion shortfall." Yet Mr Carrico and fellow Republicans have pilfered millions of state dollars from the Tobacco commission for corporate welfare and political payoffs.

They are not alone being joined by Governor Terry McAuliffe in expanding both corporate welfare in one case diverting over $100 million Virginia tax dollars to underwrite a private retail development. To quote the McAuliffe solution, "Last month, Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced layoffs and other changes at the state level to address." They are also raising prices at the state run liquor monopoly to help pay for it in addition to education cuts.

Virginia under Democrat Terry McAuliffe continues its slide to becoming a low-wage, crony capitalism welfare state.

What is puzzling is the conviction of former Governor Bob McDonald for corruption when he did what other Virginia politicians do every day. This goes beyond merely "helping" business but creating and funding businesses for selected people and then creating a market. One example is diverting R&D funding to private individuals then setup the state to buy the product that has no private sector demand. (See bio-fuels below.)

The reality is Virginia is a poor southern state whose economy is over dependant on Federal spending in Eastern and Northern Virginia. Richmond has squandered this gravy train producing nothing for years and now reductions in Federal spending are going to hurt.

Quoting "House of Delegates panel holds retreat west of Roanoke" (BHC November 18, 2014 ), "while Virginia typically out-performs the U.S. economy, recovery has slowed down here, partially because of the impact federal military sequestration has on areas reliant on the defense budget like Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads."

This has accounted for 50 percent plus of state job growth but only 19 percent today. They further noted, "Growth has remained slow because employment, personal income growth and consumption have lagged typical recoveries."

This is the direct result of the culture of political corruption and crony capitalism from Richmond to Bristol. Diverting public funds slated for schools and law enforcement for private profit that produced nothing has been exposed - but nothing will be done unless we get the corny capitalism foxes out of the public chicken coop.

It's time to have separation of business and state.

Business Update from Steb Hipple

Tri-Cities Labor Market Report East Tennessee State University - Third Quarter 2014

Existing labor market trends dominated the Tri-Cities Consolidated Statistical Area (CSA) in the third quarter. Compared to the same period in 2013, regional employment was lower by 1.7% to 218,244, while unemployment fell 10.3% to 16,664 as discouraged job seekers continued to leave the regional labor force. The summer unemployment rate for the metro area was 7.1% (compared to 7.7% a year earlier). With the labor force shrinking by 2.4%, the falling jobless rate is a sign of labor market weakness.

Among the twelve regional NAICS industry sectors, employment levels were higher in six, lower in six, and unchanged in none (compared to six, four, and two in the second quarter). Job growth was led by construction, professional & business services, other services, and education & health services. Smaller employment gains were reported by transport & utilities, and leisure & hospitality. Major job losses occurred in retail trade, government, and manufacturing. Small employment declines were reported by wholesale trade, information services, and financial services. Overall, the private sector in the metro area saw modest job growth.

During the July to September period, employment was lower in all three cities - falling 2.2% in Kingsport, 2.0% in Johnson City, and 1.2% in Bristol. Matching the regional pattern, large numbers of unemployed workers are exiting the labor market in each city. This has lowered the jobless counts, contracted the labor force, and reduced the unemployment rates. The percent of workers unemployed was 7.0% in Kingsport, 7.1% in Johnson City, and 7.1% in Bristol. As in the metro area, the lower rates in each city reflect labor market weakness.

The dollar level of retail sales revenue was higher in all three cities during the second quarter, marking an improvement over the first quarter performance. On a year-to-year basis, Kingsport sales increased 3.7% to $389 million, Bristol sales were up 1.3% to $252 million, and Johnson City sales rose 1.1% to $478 million. Adjusted for inflation, sales volume was up 1.6% in Kingsport but fell 0.8% in Bristol and 1.0% in Johnson City. In comparison, retail activity decreased 0.5% in the metro area, while increasing 1.2% in Tennessee and 2.8% in the United States.


What jobs for Tri-Cities? 2014 Another Bust

While Bristol Virginia-Tennessee are spending about $130 million tax dollars to underwrite retail development retail sales fell 1 percent in Bristol from last year and the Tri-Cities labor force contracted 2.4 percent. (Hipple, ETSU) The official unemployment might be 7 percent but the real unemployment is more likely 25 percent.

Oh come Lewis how can you say that? Going by the US Census and just considering Washington County Virginia and Sullivan County Tennessee the two most affluent communities that border each other almost 17 percent of the working age population (18-64) is disabled. (Surrounding counties is even higher.) Throw in those with drug and alcohol problems, criminal records, lack of skills and education, and the simple inability to earn a living opting for government checks instead, that adds up to easily 25 percent that are unemployable - plus the official 7 percent.

The "official" unemployment rate in nearby Greene County Tennessee is still above 10 percent while workforce disability in areas such as Russell County Virginia area of nearly 30 percent are the tip of the iceberg. Yet employers in Greene and Hamblen Counties are still importing illegal aliens the government refuses to remove. This bolsters official employment figures further hiding the real unemployment rate of those pushed out of the economy.

The claims of new jobs or recovery is simply a lie. Add that with Presidents Obama's executive amnesty and it's more misery and job loses for the people that can least afford it. These policies have devastated Black Americans and are the real cause of problems such as the riots in Ferguson.

Black real unemployment rates are at least double the real employment rates for poor whites in Tri-Cities - in other words in some areas over 50 percent. Immigrants legal and illegal have pushed Blacks out of jobs they should be doing. To quote Black talk radio host Stacy Washington,

"Every time this country has pardoned illegal immigrants, crime and black unemployment rates have gone through the roof. Don't believe me? Check the statistics from Reagan's congressionally approved amnesty package. Not only did three times as many illegal immigrants as were promised become legal through the undiscovered intricacies of chain immigration, but the crime and black unemployment went through the roof."

Let's add up the probable 20 million illegal aliens and another 30-50 million through chain migration. Ref. BHC Nov. 26, 2014.

Perhaps if the massive poor white underclass of Tri-Cities rioted somebody would care. While Obama and the Republicans talk about "dreamers" they don't give a crap about poor Blacks or whites or their dreams.

To give the degree of worker displacement built on an unstable economic base the Richmond Times-Dispatch (November 23, 2014) reports:

From 2009 to 2012, the number of undocumented immigrants living in Virginia increased by 25,000 to a total of 275,000, or 3.5 percent of the state's population, according to a study released last week by the Pew Research Center...

Even during a recession/depression business brought in more replacement workers that has devastated poor blacks and whites in particular in wealthy Northern Virginia. As one women and liberal political activist I met from that area explained it this way:

I hired this nice Mexican family (husband, wife, two kids) that did a great job working around my house all day for $75. It saved me so much money and time I have time to work to protect immigrants rights."

This took place at a Virginia Organizing meeting in 2012. They are another version of ACORN. To say the least I'm no longer with these people. Why in the hell didn't she hire a licensed and insured company most likely hiring Black workers?

The article More Lies from "Our" Government: The Latest Jobs Report by Paul Craig Roberts November 10, 2014 sums up economic reality across the nation and Tri-Cites.

In last Friday's report the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells us that the unemployment rate has declined to 5.8% and that 214,000 new jobs were created in October. Once again let me explain these lies to you.

The unemployment rate is low because the one that the government and financial media emphasize does not count those millions of Americans who have become so discouraged from looking for jobs that do not exist, that they have quit looking. If you give up and stop searching for a job, the US government does not count you as a member of the work force. You are unemployed but not counted as unemployed.

The uncounted unemployed can be measured in the sharp 21st century decline in the labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate has declined because there are no jobs to participate in.

But Washington, the financial media, and the bought and paid for economists lie. They say the participation rate is down because the baby boomers are retiring. However, as John Titus, Dave Kranzler, and I documented with the government's own data in a recent column, the participation rate of baby boomers is the highest of all and the only one that is rising.

The reason is that with the Federal Reserves sole concern with the welfare of a small handful of mega-banks-the ones that sit on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank-real interest rates are negative. Therefore, retirees have no income from their retirement savings.

(Generally speaking, retirees avoid stock investments, because they can lose a great deal from a major correction, and it can take more years than they have left for stocks to recover.)

To supplement their Social Security pensions (a rigged CPI prevents or minimizes cost-of-living increases), retirees take the temporary, lowly paid jobs that are all that the US economy can produce. These jobs do not provide sufficient income with which to form a household.

As I have pointed out for a decade, or longer, the US economy no longer creates First World jobs. The US economy creates jobs for waitresses and bartenders, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks. The fact that the complexion of the US work force is becoming Third World is not considered a notable problem by the media or financial press, and economists seem immune to the facts.

Let's look, once again, at the BLS payroll jobs report for October 2014:

There are 209 thousand private jobs created and 5 thousand government jobs created. Where are the private jobs?

Almost all of them-181,000-are in lowly paid private services.

Retail trade with 27,100 jobs, wholesale trade with 8,500 jobs, and transportation and warehousing with 13,300 jobs and 48,900 jobs. With middle class retail stores closing and even dollar stores failing and with consumer income (except for the rich) and credit (except for student loans) shrinking, do you really believe that consumer spending supported almost 50,000 new jobs in October?

Where is the money coming from?

The vast amount of money that the Fed has created has gone into the handful of mega-banks to support the banks. The banks are not buying consumer goods.

The BLS reports that 37,000 new jobs were created in October in professional and business services. Employment services, such as temporary help services, account for 24,000 or 65% of these jobs.

Another old standby is education and health care services, which provided 41,000 new jobs. Health care and social assistance provided 27,200 of these jobs and home health care services provided 7,400 of these jobs. Together lowly paid services provided 84% of the jobs in health care services.

Now we come to the major jobs sector in America: waitresses and bartenders. Waitresses and bartenders are classified under "leisure and hospitality," (Note: the main growth sector in Tri-Cities) which claims 52,000 new jobs in October of which 41,800 or 80 percent are waitresses and bartenders.

If you look at the jobs that the BLS reports the US is creating, they are third world jobs. How is the US "the world's only superpower" when it cannot create a middle class job.

Amidst the media hype of 214,000 new October jobs, here are some very disturbing facts: In October job cuts rose 68% from the previous month and 12 percent from the previous year. So far there have been 414,591 job eliminations in 2014 with 51,183 of these coming in October.

Where are the job cuts? Retail store closings have produced 38,948 retail job reductions in 2014 with 6,874 of those coming in October. Yet, the BLS reports consistent job growth in retail jobs.

Hewlett Packard cut 5,000 jobs in October, bringing its year's total to 21,000 lost jobs.

Microsoft eliminated 6,509 jobs in October for a year to date layoff of 55,511, a rise of 92 % from 2013.

In October the electronics industry cut 1,648 jobs, bringing the year to date loss to 18,153.

The telecommunications industry cut 5,217 jobs, bringing the year to date loss to 20,038, an increase of 81% from 2013.

According to Wolf Richter, US job losses in the tech sector have risen 97 % from the previous year.

My point is: how does consumer demand grow in order to propel the economy when good jobs are replaced by low-paying jobs?

Perhaps one day economists will notice the problem.

End quote.

Mass Immigration Leads to Poverty

President Obama promised to import more high-tech replacement (H1b) workers to garner business support for amnesty when in fact the tech sector is already hemorrhaging jobs. Here is reality printed in the Bristol Herald Courier.


RE: AP on September 27 on alleged labor shortages.

When mass immigration is reduced business pays the true cost of doing business and markets favor work over welfare. The AP notes the illegal aliens we import leave farmwork by "offers of better pay or easier work elsewhere..."

Where did millions of mostly illegal workers go? We allow agribusiness to exploit their workers then allow every business in the country to get in on it.

When business pays the true cost the once lowest paid benefit some earning $1000 a week! Why don't Americans work these jobs? They argue some of these businesses will fail without cheap labor - sorry that's capitalism.

Immigration reform is simply a floodgate for cheap labor. There's an unwillingness of business (and public) to pay the true cost of production shifting the cost elsewhere. It's crony capitalism, it's exploitation, and it's wrong.

Some workers are becoming better off in Mexico than in America. No wonder so many go on welfare.

Farmers are now paying machine drivers $12.75 an hour to "set our wages to where we thought we could attract people..." Proof positive curtailing imported labor benefits the working poor.

Illegal aliens are costing states $84 billion ( annually while depressing wages by $118 billion. (Borgas) US Conference of Mayors noted in 2012 the wealthiest 5% saw an income gain of $490 billion at the expense of workers.

$81 billion annually in corporate welfare often hurts American workers. Electrolux fired thousands of workers in Iowa, Canada, and Bristol hiring illegal aliens in Springfield Tennessee finally landing in Memphis collecting $188 million in incentives - then cut wages by one-third.

It's time to end crony capitalism in all forms - no amnesty - end this guess worker scam, seal the borders, and enforce the laws.

Lewis Loflin

Bristol Virginia Bond Rating Crashes

Back in April Moody's downgraded Bristol Virginia's rating from A1 to A3 over it's massive borrow and spend programs to pay for corporate welfare such as the troubled Falls Development. One person I spoke to says Bristol is spending every dime they are getting on debt repayments.

They were also handing out $2 million to a Roanoke developer for a downtown hotel called the Sessions.

In April they were $55 million in the red and borrowed more I believe since then and are in a lawsuit over borrowing another $20 million for incentives in July. The City has a population of about 17,000 and is ranked as one of the poorest cities in Virginia. Ref. BHC April 26, 2014.

Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe intervened at the urging of disgraced former state senator Phil Puckett to get state taxpayers to bail out the project. This was done by diverting sales tax dollars to Bristol to pay off their debts and to borrow millions more.

Update Nov. 25, 2014: Bristol Virginia is celebrating after floating another $34 million in bonds to underwrite the Falls Retail development. They are handing Cabela's a direct $17.5 million payoff.

Remote Area Medical Exposes Government Hypocrisy Again

The weekend of July 20, 2014 saw our annual spectacle of Remote Area Medical (RAM) in Wise Virginia. Over 2500 people attended the three-day event seeking mainly medical, dental, and vision services unavailable to the multitudes of impoverished residents.

The value of the free care given at RAM was valued at approximately $6.3 million. But also present as in previous years was our illustrious Virginia governor this time Democrat Terry McAuliffe. This hypocrite was present moaning and whining about Republicans not funding Medicaid expansion after helping Republicans divert $100 million for a Bristol retail development.

Read the full story. While we are at it let's look at the history of crony capitalism and waste in Wise County.

Opportunities are available through workforce training


Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014

This is a follow up to my letter of last month, when I talked about the need to offer job training in our area, something we should be doing with tax dollars rather than wasting it on unsuccessful projects and grants that duplicate services.

The Virginia Highlands Community College workforce training program is offering a welding class for only $289! For the $8,000 the Washington County Board of Supervisors wasted on the "Center of Excellence," 27 students could have taken a welding class.

By the way, I have been an instructor in electricity/electronics and have been involved in training displaced workers.

To get more information on the welding class, visit the college website: The program is titled MIG and Flux Arc Welding, and is offered in partnership with the Washington County Career and Technical Education Center. The non-credit class runs through May 1 on Wednesdays and Thursday.

Terry Kilgore and the Tobacco Commission.

March 2014 Bristol Herald Courier:

Update - nothing came out of this as usual - Democrats were getting in on the backroom deals.

I'm praising Gov. McAuliffe's administration for investigating the Tobacco Commission. (BHC 2/26) It's about time. I strongly condemn the Washington County BOS for approving $8000 for the so-called "Center of Excellence." They've now wasted $363,000 that will produce nothing.

(Update - they spent the money and the consultants suggested more corporate welfare and free buildings.)

An almost identical program a few years ago wasted $2 million also produced nothing. Its former director stated, "business here doesn't care about your education, skills, or experience..." One HR manager stated "we don't hire people with college."

Tobacco Commission's 9-28-2011 minutes noted of 200 deals in the previous five years over 100 were in default. They don't even have a direct way to measure if any jobs were created!

Their 2011 Blue Ribbon audit revealed 89 percent of their grants have never been accounted for. Millions wasted on a wholesale plant nursery in Gretna VA to make bio-fuels and a horse camp in Scott County are typical examples.

Abingdon's Small Business incubator is a failure. Their $8 an hour call center jumped the state line for Tennessee corporate welfare.

Don't waste another $1 million duplicating existing services. We can already train welders, etc. if we can end the resistance to properly educating vocational workers. Stop pretending blue-collar workers don't need English, science, or math.

As a vocational instructor myself I know students with a proper educational background are easy to train or retrain. Technology training is more than putting the black wire under the brass-colored screw. Studies show industrial workers need a far higher level of education. Our social apartheid culture must deal with that.

I'm encouraging my fellow citizens to contact their supervisors to halt this useless project. Deal with our dysfunctional political and education system. No more corporate welfare for businesses that "don't hire people with college" and "don't care."

Lewis Loflin

Notes: the small business incubator was paid for by ARC and Tobacco grants and often serves as discount office space for non-profit s seeking more government grants.

Virginia Wastes $900,000 to Underwrite Movie

The dismal future of the working poor in this community is tied directly to a job structure hostile to working people. The shocking loss of retail sales in Bristol is proof that many have little disposable income.

See Illegal Immigration-Crime

We all live here together

Update July 30 2014: Washington County BOS has cleared the way for gas drilling with no restrictions. My hope for political reform though has fallen flat.

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 Bristol Herald Courier.

I'm praising the Washington County Board of Supervisors for getting us out of the King Medical School fiasco. This is another multi-million dollar backroom deal we have no business in. I'm hopeful with removal of Boss Reeter and election of new members we can end two decades of "good old boy" government.

In addition, I'm voicing my support for gas drilling and asking our supervisors to support it. I've had gas drilling, pipelines and a compressor station near my home for two decades with no problems. The gas company workers do a superb job.

Those trying to stop drilling don't even live in my community. Most are from the Abingdon-Damascus-Glade Spring area.

Those opposing drilling are the same collection of recent transplants and outside-funded political activists who were behind efforts to stop Love's Truck Stop. They are driven by ideology and are typical of the social apartheid system the working poor suffer from.

They care nothing about the poverty and joblessness we suffer here, being fixated on greenism at the expense of poor people they are economically and socially isolated from. One even commented on the poor "being pushed out" but seemed to not care about it.

This is understandable as we market this silly hillbilly-hick music culture, which isn't representative of most of the people living here. They're fed this silly Appalachian culture garbage peddled in college by the clueless academics.

Those living off government jobs and transfer payments or bringing money in have no idea just how bad earning a living in the region really is. The working poor matter little to these mostly transplant liberals that are hostile to local culture anyway.

We all live here together, so let's demand open government and open public dialog on these issues.

Lewis Loflin Bristol, Va.

J.C. Penny Slams the Doors in Bristol

Another retailer pulls out while we waste $100 million underwriting shopping malls.

J.C. Penney plans to close its Bristol Mall store as part of a nationwide effort to shutter "under-performing" stores, the company ... plans to close 33 stores in 20 states, including its 86,000-square-foot local store...This marks the second major Bristol Mall anchor store to announce plans to leave. Last May, officials with Belk announced plans to replace its mall locations in 2015 with a new store in The Pinnacle retail center being developed near Interstate 81's Exit 74 in Bristol, Tenn.

Mayor Odum said losing J.C. Penney and the 50 jobs it represents makes it "vitally important" to complete (the $65 million taxpayer funded) The Falls retail center currently being developed near Interstate 81's Exit 5.

The closings are expected to idle a total of about 2,000 employees and generate a savings of about $65 million.

January 15, 2014 Ref.

To quote the late Bill Deel, a retired English teacher from Clintwood, Virginia, "We're becoming more and more Third World here...The best and the brightest leave."

Healthcare Meltdown

Business in the region is also on the government gravy train planning on maximizing profits at public expense - nowhere is this more true than healthcare. Now it seems to have backfired.

Sprint Dumps Bristol Virginia for Bristol Tennessee

Here is another example of one low-wage community trying to outbid the neighboring low-wage community at taxpayer expense for low-paying jobs. Sprint has turned down a lucrative corporate welfare package from Bristol, Virginia and will jump the State line to Sullivan County. Read more...

Here in Bristol January is once again dominated by record cold. Entire states are being declared disaster areas as arctic temperatures break record after record. But there are some of us that are saying we told you so. It's about religion and social agendas and not science.

Mass Immigration Killing the Working Poor Here Too

Immigration reform will cause even more misery for the working poor as an additional 22 million more guest workers over the next decade will further displace native born low-wage workers and already have in East Tennessee and Tri-Cities. Low-wage black workers have been driven out of the labor force across the nation by immigration and the same thing is happening to poor whites in our region as employers hunt for more cheap-exploitable labor.

In fact this has been recommended to business as a way to lower labor costs in the tourist-retirement related industries this region is promoting. Simply put they want to bring in even cheaper labor to displace the working poor that already dominates our private sector labor market. The working poor are ignored and marginalized already and so the system of social apartheid will continue to flourish.

Religion versus Science