Fighting for Our Institutions & Preventing the Next Sweet Briar

CH1S6zAWIAAyBaNThe effort to save Sweet Briar College succeeded; it has been a wake up that a well-funded, well-respected and well-financed historic college could be taken to the brink by a greedy, incompetent board. No one thought anyone would have the gumption to do such a thing, and almost pull it off. Certainly people can be incompetent, but this went way beyond it.

The day before the announcement of the settlement with the Attorney General, Elizabeth MacDonald of Fox Business wrote a long, factual research piece on Sweet Briar that put all the other facts in perspective, and told exactly how the board ruined the school, and offered some explanations and ideas for the future. It is an important piece that anyone who cares about education should read. Continue reading

Bet on Cumulus Radio? Seeking Alpha Pro Article

This May, covered the future of Cumulus, the ailing radio company that owns some of the greatest stations in the U.S., and controls all the great legacy assets of network radio.

77abcmusicradioATLANTA – Back in the 1970s, there was a Chuck Barris produced TV program called The $1.98 Beauty Show. Barris, of The Gong Show, produced it. The joke (other than the awful orchestrated “beauties”) was that the price $1.98 was a signal, in and of itself, of pathetic cheapness.

The number came to my mind Friday when Cumulus Radio (NASDAQ: CMLS) ….

Click HERE for full Seeking Alpha pro feature.

History of Econo-Travel, Now Econo Lodge

saverIn May of 1969, if you were anywhere around the intersection of Virginia Beach Boulevard and Military Highway in Norfolk, you might have seen a, ahem, hot-looking young “mascot” hanging around, named Sandy Econo. Leggy Sandy” was dressed in short Scottish skirt and tam, and she visited neighboring businesses with brochures, telling them all about a new hotel concept at 865 Military Highway, called Econo-Travel.  (Note, this is the other Econo innkeeper.)

“No matter which office she visited, she got in,” recalls Lloyd Tarbutton, a Norfolk businessman and an initial partner in the venture, which grew from a single location across from what became Military Circle Mall into a chain of 800 hotels today under the brand Econo Lodge. As the chain grew, there
wasn’t just one Sandy. Like Ronald McDonald, there were many, and
when Tarbutton sold the chain in 1983, there were 309 locations, with
“Sandy” opening motels across the eastern U.S. “As we got large, we
had to have more of them,” says Tarbutton, now a resident of Naples,
Florida, and Virginia Beach.

Before Super 8 (founded in 1972) and others, there was Econo-Travel,
dreamed up by Norfolk developer Vernon Myers and his son. They were intent on creating a new business category by filling an important market need—a clean, cheap hotel. They worked in the same office building as Tarbutton and one day came to him with drawings for Econo-Travel, an idea that Tarbutton had been exploring, too. Myers Jr. had drawn up a
prototype for the motel and was intent on selling the plans for $2,000.

Tarbutton died in 2013. Below, find the full article, in PDF form, HERE.

A Modern Bill of Rights, or Obvious Rights We Have Lost

originalphoto-493403833.622519-1.jpgIn the current climate, implicit rights that were once easily accepted have fallen by the wayside.

Two decades ago, if we had known the government would have the right to listen to all of our telephone calls, or control whether we can dig a well, or what color to paint a house, we would have screamed and resisted. Snooping on telephone calls was rare (except when I was 9 years old on our “party line” in the country); wells were seen as necessities and color control for houses was something seen only in the occasional nationally important historic district or special resort city. Continue reading

Check in at Virginia Beach’s Duck-In

VIRGINIA BEACH – Keeping the memory alive of my grandparents and uncle’s restaurant, Duck-In, continues to be lots of fun.

The restaurant, founded in 1952, was located on Route 60 at the entrance to the Lynnhaven River. It was a roadside bait shack, but my grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. W.R. Miller, turned it into a local seafood restaurant, way before the word “locavore” was hip. They named it Duck-in because it was so little you could quickly “Duck-in” and out.

Growing up, I did not know it was a hipster place; instead it was merely authentic in the way they only late local food, with beers from distributors they knew.

It closed over a decade ago when the real estate boom made the family an offer it could not refuse.

I maintain the website, and hope to maintain it until the restaurant is rebuilt somewhere along the water on the Chesapeake Bay. Wish to join the current Duck-In community? I also administer the Fans of Duck-In Facebook page.

Prak Sisters & The Killing Fields

A Profile of the Prak Sisters: How the Praks survived a living hell and bought the American dream – a hair salon

Published Monday March 18, 2002

RICHMOND It’s a typical morning at Grove Avenue Salon, which sits just east of Westhampton Theater, Phil’s Continental Lounge and Hampton House in a gray, two-story stucco house-turned-business on the north side of Grove Avenue.

Parked out front are the typical West End variety of Volvos and SUVs. The front porch is wide, and the door seems almost always open for customers.

Inside, it’s a typical salon. In one beauty chair sits a middle-aged woman getting a haircut. In a rush, she cut her own hair and has stopped by the salon to have her hair trimmed. An older, more matronly lady, asking about the weather after the winter drought, is in for a perm.

As U2 plays quietly in the background, the salon’s co-owners, sisters Sunnary, Stephanie and Amanda Prak chat about what to donate to the St. Christopher’s auction, about a busy spurt on weekends, and about opening early to catch customers before they head downtown. Continue reading