No more Hostess
Thumbs Down: It is hard to imagine an American company as iconic as Hostess, maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, the second biggest bread baker in the nation, going out of business. But it happened Friday. Hostess, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January, is asking the bankruptcy court for permission to end operations.
The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which reperesents 5,000 of Hostess' 18,500 employees, refused to accept a contract that includes lower pay and benefits and has been on strike. Hostess said it would close down operations if they didn't return to work by Thursday night.
Hostess will be selling off its assets, including its more popular brand names. So Twinkies and Ho-Hos will probably continue to be produced by someone, just not by Hostess.
We feel sorry for the 18,500 people whose jobs are disappearing, just before Christmas.
Get ready to shop
SIDEWAYS THUMB: Major retailers in the U.S. have been blurring the line between Thanksgiving and "Black Friday" for some time. Now they are barely giving people time to do the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner before urging them to shop.
Major retailers like Target and Walmart are opening on Thursday evening. Shopko is opening from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving, day, then re-opening at 9 p.m. Thursday.
We realize there is a lot riding on the holiday shopping season for American retailers. This is the make-or-break season for them. Many retail businesses, large and small, rely on 4th quarter sales to put them in the black.
Still, we would like to see Thanksgiving preserved as a national holiday dedicated to family and to giving thanks for the blessings of the past year, not as the countdown to the annual holiday shopping stampede.
Thanks to candidates
THUMBS UP: We have had a few letters this week from candidates for local office, successful and unsuccessful, thanking the voters for their support.
We think voters owe a thank you to the candidates as well. It takes a lot of time and energy to run for a local office, and even more time and energy to serve if elected. We were glad to see a large number of good candidates for the four District 88 school board seats, and races in three of the four New Ulm City Council elections.
It certainly spikes voter interest in the doings of local government to see good choices on the ballot on election day. We want to thank all the candidates this year for their willingness to run.