A Small Southern Town’s Fight Against Big Business : Final Story Pitch

For my final story, I would like to write about the fight against Water Valley Mississippi in opening a Walmart super center in town. Many citizens are concerned about the effect that the big business will have on such a small town with an old time feel. The B.T.C Old Fashioned Grocery, located on Main Street has been an advocate against the new business. As recent as Monday April 14th, a Facebook page has popped up called “Long Live Water Valley”. Petitions are starting to appear urging against the construction, as well as people writing letters to the editor. I want to see why people are against the expansion.  Some numbers to think about include the population in Water Valley, the number of Walmarts in the country, and how much revenue Walmart is nationally making already.

My four sources are as followed, with reasons why I believe they would be good to speak to:

Source 1 : Alexe van Bueren (Owner of B.T.C)

Bueren was one of the first people to speak out against the new Walmart opening. She was in the group of people that pulled the town up back to it’s original small town charm. I would like to ask her:

1.) Are you originally from a small town? Does this impact why you believe keeping a small town feel is so important?

2.) How did you come up with the idea to get the town back to it’s original ways?

3.) Why do you feel like Walmart will ruin the town?

4.) You’ve urged people to petition and write letter to the editor, but what else have you been doing to combat the new business?

5.) What do you have to say to the people that want Walmart, and the convenience that comes with it?

Source 2 : The editor at the local newspaper, who is receiving letters about this

dhowl@bellsouth.net

1.) What are people saying about the idea of a Walmart opening? Are these things that are being said good or bad?

2.) As someone who works for a small town newspaper, do you believe a Walmart would be good?

Source 3 : Larry Hart, Mayor

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1.) Do you believe a Walmart is good for Water Valley?

2.) Do you think the people fighting against the Walmart make a good point?

3.) If Walmart does end up being in Water Valley, is there a way to compromise to make the town still feel the same?

4.) What are you doing as a leader to compromise with the people of Water Valley?

Source 4: Citizens of Water Valley

I am hoping to contact citizens through the Facebook groups associated with this cause, and see if there are varying opinions on this matter.

1.) How long have you been living in Water Valley, and what has the experience of that been?

2.) Are you for or against Walmart opening?

3.) What do you think a Walmart would do to the feel of the town?

4.) What do you have to say to the people that want Walmart for the convenience?

Other sources of information: http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2014/spring/small-town-renaissance-water-valley-miss.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/national-trust-for-historic-preservation/how-hand-painted-signs-he_b_5084240.html

Media Additions:

1.) Social media has been a huge part in this issue, and people have really gotten involved on Facebook and Twitter.  I would like to make a Storify of peoples reactions to this issue.

2.) I think an interview on SoundCloud would be useful as well since this is a rather emotional subject for some people.  It would be better to hear it in their own words.

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Profile : Dr. Michael Harvey

 

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When asked to be interviewed for his profile, Dr. Michael Harvey, distinguished chair of global business and professor of management, called himself “uninteresting,” and too old to be of any value for an interview.

With his gray hair, relaxed short sleeved button down, Dr. Harvey sat in front of an array of death masks, which were shocking to say the least for a first-time visitor to his office. He then opened up, entirely comfortable, about his long lasting career in global business.

Dr. Harvey is a very intriguing subject, having traveled to over 130 countries, and having written hundreds of papers from his research. Everyday, 365 days of the year, according to Harvey, he sits in his office,working, researching. He never has one project going on, rather 15 to 20.

“I’m that man that’s calling people on Christmas,” said Harvey.

His office is not a conventional one. The space has almost every inch covered, with artifacts from around the world. Shadow puppets from Indonesia, death masks, and megladon shark teeth are scattered around, all collected by Harvey.

“Each mask is named after an ex-grad student,” said Harvey, explaining that each artifact held a memory for him.

Harvey never expected to go into business. While studying to be a doctor, he injured one of his hands, and after realizing no one would need a one-handed surgeon, he promptly switched to business, along with gaining a biology degree.

Looking at Harvey’s record, he’s held countless jobs from consulting, to owning his own business. When asked why he’s held so many jobs, Harvey replied, with a smile, that he can not keep one.

“I don’t suffer fools well,” he said.

Harvey then explained how he first became employed at Ole Miss, rather out of the blue.

“It was a bad night,” he laughed.

The University needed a new dean of business. He worked as the dean for three years, gaining a total of $12 million for the school. Yet, Harvey did not last long as dean, due to “ingrain stupidity”, he felt he needed to deal with.

Dr. Harvey explained his strategy for life. He admitted that he gets bored quickly, and enjoys pushing him self to the next level. He compared himself to a boulder at the bottom of a hill. With every month, there is more to to do, and more to strive for, with a bit of fall back each time.

Harvey also confided that he has ADHD, which has affected his work in quite a big way. He never focuses on one project for long, working on multiple things at a time, and waiting for a light bulb to go off. Yet, this has affected him positively, as he turns out almost fifteen to twenty papers a year, while his other colleagues only come up with a few.

Harvey also uses ADHD as a model for his research. Many of his papers revolve around businessmen dealing with ADHD, and other disorders.

Yet, his main focus of research is travel, which he lives for, especially since his main business focus is global. He’s been traveling to Australia twice a year for ten years, to help at various schools. He has also helped various universities over seas get accredited. He also attends conferences all over the world and presents his research.

His favorite place to travel is Australia, and Northern European countries. He doesn’t enjoy Southern Europe, or South America very much.

Surprisingly, Harvey does not actually speak a second language. Besides ADHD, he suffers from dyslexia, and it was hard enough for him to learn English. This is why he tends to prefer countries where English is spoken. Harvey is extremely passionate about education.

He sometimes gets frustrated with students at Ole Miss, and feels that their main purpose is not always to learn when they come to Ole Miss. He believes students should be putting education first.

“Smiling, and drinking beer is not what you need,” said Harvey.

He wants his students to proud of their alma matter. Harvey says that he is a proud SMU graduate. He had a great experience during college, and he wants to make sure students feel the same way, while still getting a great education.

Harvey has been described as a tough, but really intelligent professor by many.

Before leaving his office, Michael Harvey gave a brief tour of the artifacts that he holds so dear to his heart, which he collects every time he travels. He shows off his masks from Mexico, that mock the Spanish, Indonesian shadow puppets, and megladon shark teeth.

Dr. Michael Harvey was not so un-interesting after all.

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