I grew up in a small town Escanaba, Michigan, which means nothing to any of you I am sure. The one thing Escanaba always had was Mead Paper. The paper mill in my hometown made some of the highest quality coated paper in the world – magazines such as National Geographic and Play Boy sought this paper out, every kid in my hometown knew this growing up. I was always told that if the Paper Mill would ever leave it would destroy the city a way of life. I never thought in a million years I would be typing this essentially an obituary for my hometown. Mead owned over 600,000 acres of land in the Upper Penisula of Michigan and had one of the most profitable mills in the country. Mead sold the plant a couple years ago to WestVaco and then New Page. I heard rumbles from my dad who is a tanker driver for a local company that hauls PCP, White liquor, black liquor and lime to the surrounding paper mills that they were in trouble. I guess I never realized that WestVaco and New Page the mill into the ground. The CEO of New Page last year recieved a golden parachute of $30 million. The sold the Wood Division (the 600,000 acres) a couple years ago so there was no collateral.
I received a text from my dad this morning at 8:20am: new page filed chapter 11 at 6am. My heart sank because I know this will be the end of my hometown. They are restructuring but there will still be layoffs and the CEO still gets $30 million. I am sickened and mad because these greedy SOBs have single handily destroyed my hometown with no remorse or prosecution. If you destroy a town you should be prosecuted for this or at the very least give the $30 million back to the families of the lives you destroyed. I am well aware this is an art and craft blog but my hometown affected (affects) my art so much that I had to write this. This town shaped me into the artist I am today and knowing some irresponsible, greedy businessmen drove the last remaining industry into the ground makes me mad beyond belief.
I know businesses file for bankruptcy everyday but this is something I was not expecting. Maybe I will be proved wrong and they will get some people who actually care about my hometown to fix the mistakes that have been made. I hope for the sake of my hometown this mill does not close or my hometown will go the way of the dinosaurs.
|My hometown – picture taken by Paula Schultz Cady
If you are interested in more reading material about the Chapter 11:
Rethinking the Economy
My hometown newspaper:
The Daily Press