A Small Southern Town’s Fight Against Big Business

A small southern town is being challenged by the prospect of the corporate giant, Walmart, opening a store in town, which has caused much protest and dispute among citizens.

Water Valley Mississippi : population 3,700. Water Valley is a town with a story of triumph. Until recently, it was a dreary town that needed saving. Back in 2010, Alexe van Bueren, owner of B.T.C.O old fashioned grocery, started up her business in order to bring the small town feel back to Water Valley.

The first news of a Walmart opening popped up on social media, then made it to the press. Although, it has not been officially confirmed that Walmart will be in fact opening, there are rumors of the chain store being placed near the hospital in Water Valley. However, the real story comes from the reactions of citizens.

As soon as news starting circulating that Walmart could be coming to Water Valley, several forms of backlash starting to arise, mainly coming from citizens. One form of protest in particular is a Facebook page entitled, “Long Live Water Valley,” that came about on April 14th. The first post urged citizens to write to the local paper, and save their small town from becoming crushed from the corporate giant.

The man behind the page is Mr. Mickey Howley. He is an advocate against Walmart, Director of the Water Valley Main Street association, and has had a piece on the topic published in the North Mississippi Herald.

“Pretty much ruined every town this small—destroys commerce in the center of town–and all the small businesses that make a town vibrant and nice place to live,” Howley said of Walmart.

Mr. Howley has lived in small towns for almost 20 years. He has worked to not return Water Valley to it’s past, per say, but to it’s small town charm while still heading into the future, and keeping local business thriving.

“Kiss your nice downtown goodbye! Hope that money you save makes up for the real estate value loss,” he said, if a Walmart will officially open in town.

There have been various instances that illustrate how Mr. Howley’s statement has come true for many small towns.  Recently, a Walmart express has tried to move into Merkel, Texas.  In a story by the Huffington post, there was proof that many small town officials do not heed to the proper steps of opening a business when corporate giants come in to play.  Citizens of Water Valley may have this prospect to fear in their own small town.

According to a piece by Salon, a hundred dollars to a local business gives the local economy one third more of a benefit, as well as one third more jobs than a national one.  There have been studies of this, proving a Walmart in small town will hinder, and not help.  A Walmart Express is equally as crushing as a full sized store.

The prospect of a Walmart opening up in town may be further away from reality than expected. The North Mississippi Herald reported that executives from Walmart cancelled their appearance the afternoon of a planning commission meeting April, 12. The company gave the town not explanation as to why they did not show.

The corporate giant Walmart has been contacted for this piece, yet they have given no comment on the new store opening in Water Valley. There has yet to be any official confirmation of the companies establishment in Water Valley.

Many citizens and businesses are most certainly relieved by this delay, although they do want definite answers from the company eventually.

Ms. van Bueren has be an important advocate against Walmart coming into Water Valley. As a local merchant, she worries about business moving from a small town focus to a large scale scene.

“…this tale we’ve been telling the world: the good life in a small town with mom-and-pop businesses– will cease to be true,” van Bueren wrote on the B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery Facebook page.

Currently, there are 4,205 Walmart stores in the United States alone. This is not including Sam’s Club locations.In 2014, Walmart has had $476.29 billion in sales and revenue. They are in the top three earning companies in the United States.

Many citizens believe that Water Valley will only suffer from a giant such as this company. If the chain store is to open in Water Valley, citizen’s believe there will be no gain from it. Ms. van Bueren believes any jobs created will not be good ones.

Mr. Howley’s piece published in the North Mississippi Herald also prompted some thoughts about Walmart’s impending arrival. He believes that the company has not thought one bit about the effect it will have on Water Valley. Walmart is only thinking about their own commercial gains.

“We’re part of their new profit plan. Their profit, not ours,” said Howley in his piece.

Not many people have been for the addition of a Walmart in Water Valley. Editors at the North Mississippi Herald have been swamped with letters regarding the issue. They’ve asked specifically for letters in favor of the company’s arrival in the community. They have not received many.

Yet there is a small group of Water Valley citizen’s who have spoken up in the company’s favor.

“I am all for our town growing and I would vote for a Walmart to come to town, I think it just might put our little town on the map… God Bless our small town,” said citizen Virhinia Weaver.

Some citizens believe it is time for a change in the community. They want their town to move into the future and not be stuck forever in an un-advanced past. They believe it is time to have more convenience for their shopping, and that there is more than the downtown area. They want their town to become one of importance.

Yet it has been a constant struggle between the two groups of citizens. One group wants to push Water Valley into the future with the addition of Walmart. On the other hand, this is going against every thing the other group of citizens has been working towards. They are trying to keep Water Valley an old fashioned small town.

Only time will tell if the citizens protests against the corporate giant will be effective. Perhaps the company will be no match for the heart that comes from a small southern town like Water Valley.



Diversity on the Square Poll

What Works : Meredith statue incident ‘life-changing’ for witness

This headline really caught my attention while scrolling though news on the Daily Mississippian.  The story about the vandalism is obviously a hot topic at the university right now.  Yet, I have only heard about the story from students perspectives and of course from the university itself.  It seemed very interesting to see how the man who made the discovery felt.

This story illustrates many news values.  Firstly, it has impact.  Race has been a huge issue at Ole Miss for quite some time and people always jump all over the school when a story like this surfaces.  Secondly, it also has proximity, since we’re in Oxford, Mississippi.  It also has timeliness since the first incident occurred on Sunday.  Finally, it shows oddity since it was such a strange, shocking event.

This piece uses a narrative lead.  Since it is a more emotional story, the author used a softer approach.  It has to do with Mr. McMillian’s feelings about the vandalism, so the author starts the story by talking about how the witness’ day started.

The seventh paragraph down is the nutgraph of the story.  Although the paragraphs above tell of what actually happen, these are not the main idea of the story.  The point of this story is to tell the reader about the witness’ feelings.  This seventh paragraph is a quote from the witness about his emotions.  It is in this paragraph that he describes how although he had been prejudiced  growing up and for the majority of his life, he was sickened that someone could do something like this.  This paragraph is what really conveys his emotions and thoughts.

This story provides a huge amount of detail about both the incident and emotions that go along with it.  The first half of the story provides a complete eye witness account about what happened that Sunday morning.  The witness gives great detail and describes the sights and sounds he experienced.  The witness also provides detail about the general consensus of emotions that have risen from this.  The story uses emotionally charged quotes from the witness to show disgust.  “Seeing that sent chills down my back,” he said. “I’m a 64-year-old white man that grew up in rural, backwoods Mississippi. I’ve always been a little prejudiced at times, but this changed my life.  This was a quote that was really striking, as it spoke about a life changing event for this older man.

This story only used two sources, the eye witness and a police chief, who provided little information.  The police chief’s quotes were not really relevant, as this was an emotional piece but the witness’ were what certainly charged the story.

There was no multi media in this story.  I think a video would have been really nice.  I think it would have been very emotional and make the story even more effective.

What Works : “The Creation Museum wants your children”

The title of this story immediately made me want to click on it. For the past couple of weeks, there has been a great deal of buzz about Bill Nye and Ken Ham of the creation museum. With the mention of children in the title, I was interested to see how the reporter was going to talk about the story from the direction of children.

This story is absolutely newsworthy. First of all, it is extremely timely. The debate just occurred this week, but there has been buzz going on for a month. The story also has a sense of oddity. It is not every day you hear about a TV scientist and a creationist museum founder debating each other. Also the idea of children being brought into a debate like this is some what strange.

This story definitely uses a delayed, narrative lead. The author does not even get into the part about the impact on children until the sixth paragraph. The writer pulls you in by first talking about the logistics of the debate. The author talks for a bit about the debaters back and forth, as well as some specific points they make.

The nut graph of the story was the seventh paragraph. Although it is short, this paragraph summarizes the story completely. This paragraph states that the most important thing to the two men was swaying parents. Neither of them wanted to influence current believers as much as they wanted to influence future generations in their decisions.

This story provides a good amount of detail. The author describes most of the main points of the debate. There are a great number of quotes from either side used in the story. I think the best take away from this story is the quote

 “I say that to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe that’s fine,” Nye said in the video, “but don’t have your kids do it because we need them, we need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.” I think this quote really sticks with certain people. It really talks about the future, but also with a sense of urgency and emotion, creating impact for the reader.

There were five people used for sources in the story. There were the two men in the debate, along with some government officials. There were also old court cases mentioned, as well as statistics about the creation museum. The quotes and statistics provide evidence and strengthen the story. Without the statics for both sides, there would not be a sense of impact in the story.

In the story, there are many slide shows embedded in the text. These are nice because the reader can see photos of the debate, as well as the creation museum. It gives the reader a better understanding of what they are reading about. There are also hyperlinks in the story, giving the reader access to more information about the topic.

What Works : “Living One Month At A Time”

 I chose this headline because of the title. It sounded rather dramatic and it made me think the that the story would be personal. I thought that the headline seemed to have some real impact when you read it.

The story has many factors that make it newsworthy. Firstly, there is certainly impact. By using a real woman’s story, there is more impact. It makes the information seem real and create sympathy. The story also has timeliness. Currently, there is a great deal of debate about welfare and poverty. By using this woman’s story, the author can bring up issues in the government while focusing still creating impact.

This is a narrative lead. Instead of just coming out with the subject, the author describes Cassie Winders. It plays into her emotions. Her bleak situation is also described through his description of her living situation. By using his descriptive language, the author conveys the distress that the woman is going through. He uses very specific examples to show her problems.

The nut graph is the fifth paragraph in. While it does not talk about Cassie directly, it shows the big picture. The paragraph describes what is happening to the stimulus package for people like Cassie. It gave facts about the decreases. This paragraph gives the reader an idea about what Cassie is going through, and helps them understand the rest of the story.

This story definitely provides enough detail. It has a great amount of facts, and quotes. I think the most memorable thing from the story was the quote, “What can I do differently?” she asked herself. “Will I lose the house? Can I pay the water bill? Is there enough food to last the week?”. I think the quote provides the most impact in the story. With the repeated questions, the quote gives a feel of desperation, with seems to be a theme within the article.

There were a few sources used in this story. The main one was Cassie. Another was U.S representative Paul Ryan, as well as Tim Huelskamp another representative. I think these were good sources because as Cassie’s story argued for food stamps, the representative’s argued against them. There were also a great deal of statistics used, providing the cold hard facts about the package. I believe all of these things were effective. These allowed the articles to show both sides of the argument.

Unfortunately, there was no multi media involved in the story. I wish there had been a video of Cassie or even photographs of her living situation. This would have created so much more of an impact if the audience could see it for themselves.

What Works : “Brain-dead Texas woman taken off ventilator”

This story immediately had me drawn in.  I’ve been following this women’s story since I had first seen it on Twitter, as it had been tweeted about by none other than Cosmopolitan magazine.  Although I do not consider myself someone who is hugely interested in gender issues, I felt that as a woman I needed to follow this story.

What makes this story so huge is impact.  Gender equality has obviously been a huge issue through out the history of our country.  It’s shocking that our country is still having issues with women’s rights.  It also had the factor of proximity.  As a citizen of Massachusetts, but a student in Mississippi, it’s rather scary to me that there could still stories like this in the south.

This story starts with a hard news lead.  Although it is a summary lead, it provides a bit of emotion, describing the court case as wrenching.  Using the quote, “who is dead and how the presence of a fetus changes the equation,” really grabs the readers attention.

The nut graph is the fourth paragraph into the story.  It tells the readers why Munoz was in the hospital, and how long of a fight there has been about whether she would be taken off life support.  It explains that although the doctors did not want to keep her alive, the state of Texas did.

I believe the most memorable take away was a quote from the affidavit given to the court.  In the affidavit, Munoz’s husband spoke about his wife.  “Her usual scent has been replaced by the “smell of death.” And her once lively eyes have become “soulles,” is a quote that really tugs at your heart strings.  It provides the reader with a human that they feel like they can relate to.

This story included quotes from Munoz’s lawyers, a statement from the hospital, and quotes from Erick Munoz in an affidavit.

The article included a video of the court decision.  I would have really liked a video of Erick Munoz and his family talking.  Yet realistically, this would have been hard to accomplish as they would have been upset.  But, this would have brought a very emotional spin to an already horrific story.