(Editor's note: General Manager Don Smith is substituting for business columnist Wayne Sheets this week.)
Read all about it: Wayne Sheets, the regular business columnist for The Inter-Mountain, has run off with a young woman. That's right, folks, he has skipped out on his column and is off roaming the region, enjoying a young female companion.
Wanting to do my best as Wayne's guest columnist, I knew his regular readers deserved the latest and most accurate breaking news. Now you have it: Wayne Sheets - a married man - has a young woman in his life. The last I saw of them, she was sitting on his lap and they were both smiling and laughing.
Considering all of the negative attention the national media, Fox News in particular, received last week for basing news coverage on an edited video tape, perhaps I should mention that the young woman is Wayne's granddaughter, Kylie, who's a year old and as cute as she is active. Kylie is the daughter of Heather and Matt Davis of Steubenville, Ohio. She and Heather came home for a weeklong visit with Wayne and Sue. Mr. Sheets took the week off to enjoy the visit and who can blame him?
Some of you will think I mistreated Wayne in the opening of this column. You're wrong. At this point in his life, Wayne will probably cut those first two paragraphs out and send copies to all of his old military buddies. It's hard to get ahead of Mr. Sheets.
There is breaking news in the business community. The Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce is putting together a $2 bill promotion for September with hopes of generating awareness of the importance of the people who shop and work locally.
The "Twos Day Twos" promotion starts Tuesday, Sept. 7, and will continue through Oct. 8.
With the cooperation of some local banks, merchants and businesses, the chamber hopes to demonstrate the impact of the local economy by placing $2 bills in the marketplace.
Starting Aug. 23, the chamber is asking local banks (all the details will be coming later this month) to have $2 bills available. For your information, the $2 bill, while still printed, isn't routinely provided as change or stored at banks.
The chamber is asking that area businesses request $2 bills as part of their change order or petty cash. Businesses are also encouraged to give $2 bills to customers as change and run specials involving the $2 bills.
Employers are being asked to offer employees a one-time opportunity to exchange one $20 bill for 11 $2 bills. That exchange represents a 10 percent gain - $22 for $20 - for the employee and only a slight cost per employee for the employer. It will cost a business $2 per employee to participate. For a small business with five employees, the cost to participate would be $10.
The employees are being asked to use those $2 bills as their normal spending money. Even in these cautious times, we're spending more than $22 on purchases each month. The chamber expects employees to hoard a couple of the $2 bills, but hopes most make it into circulation.
There will be notice of such spending. Consider the small business that gives each of its five employees 11 $2 bills in exchange for a $20. Those five employees won't be spending a lot more money during the month, but the 55 $2 bills will be noticed.
If, as the chamber hopes, enough businesses participate to ensure that 2,000 employees around the region receive 11 $2 bills for a $20 bill, there will be 22,000 $2 bills circulating in our community. That's $44,000 in local spending money.
Watch for more details on this plan in August.
The Inter-Mountain encourages businesses and individuals to participate. This summer, in our editorials and columns, we have been asking you - businesses and individuals - to Make A Difference in your communities. This program allows you to get involved to be MAD about your community. The cost is minimal. There is no registration fee. Sure, the ERCCC would like to know you're participating so it can give you recognition, but it's not required. It's your choice to offer employees the $2 bills. It's your choice to use $2 bills when making a purchase. It's your choice to help show the impact of local jobs and local spending.
If you want more information, call the ERCCC office at 304-636-2717.
Another big event in late August is the return of students to Davis & Elkins College. President Buck Smith expects close to 700 students on campus this year, with a larger percentage of local students in that mix. D&E has several big plans for the weekend of Aug. 27-29 and local businesses and residents are welcome to participate.
Think about the impact of those 700 college students. They are spending machines. Both the chamber and the Merchants Association are encouraging businesses to welcome the students back to Elkins.
Watch for additional information about these plans in the coming weeks.