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Sherman A1

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Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
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Missouri Inmates Sew Custom Quilts For Foster Children: 'It Kind Of Breaks Your Heart'

Every so often, Jim Williams wakes up in the middle of the night and lies awake inside his prison cell, thinking about quilt designs.

As his fellow inmates at South Central Correctional Center snore and shift in their sleep, Williams mulls over the layout of cloth shapes, rearranging them in his mind. “I’m kind of a perfectionist,” he said. “I’ll wake up at 2:30 in the morning and think, ‘That color really isn’t going to work.’”

It wasn’t always this way. Williams had never touched a sewing machine until last year, when he was recruited to sew face masks for prison inmates and staff during the pandemic.

Now he’s part of a small group of volunteers at the Licking, Missouri, prison who spend their days making intricately designed quilts for charity. The group, which relies entirely on donations, is working on an ambitious project: sewing personalized quilts for every foster child in Texas County.

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/culture-history/2021-07-09/missouri-inmates-sew-custom-quilts-for-foster-children-it-kind-of-breaks-your-heart

Fighting the Big Grocery Monopoly

In March, the National Grocers Association (NGA), a trade association representing independent grocery stores, released a white paper detailing the ways dominant retailers abuse their market power over suppliers and marginalize small grocers. The pandemic exacerbated these abuses, the group argues, citing practices such as Big Box retailers demanding priority access to products in short supply, while smaller stores were frozen out. The group calls for enforcing antimonopoly laws, including the long-dormant Robinson-Patman Act, to address what it deems “economic discrimination.”

Passed in 1936, Robinson-Patman was intended to preserve the viability and diversity of smaller retailers by ensuring that the big chain stores did not engage in price discrimination and other unfair business practices. For example, it makes it illegal for suppliers to charge small retailers more than they charge the big chains for the same product.

The NGA argues that it is time to revive Robinson-Patman and other antimonopoly statutes. “The lack of antitrust enforcement has handicapped competition in the grocery sector and harmed American consumers,” said Chris Jones, NGA’s senior vice president of government relations. “Economic discrimination is, in fact, a problem that extends well beyond our industry … [We’re calling] on Congress and the federal government to modernize and enforce the antitrust laws.”

Smaller, family- or employee-owned grocery stores sell 25 percent of all groceries and play a unique role in the grocery market. According to the USDA, rural areas and low-income communities left behind by chain stores tend to rely more on these independent food retailers. New or local food suppliers may also get their start selling to independent grocers before growing into larger distribution, the NGA’s white paper argues.

https://washingtonmonthly.com/2021/05/13/fighting-the-big-grocery-monopoly
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