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10:23 PM Mon, Oct. 15th

Friday Catchall: Sam’s Club closure is lesson in ‘fake news’

The Friday Catchall:

• HOW TIMES CHANGE - Thursday’s workflow seemed fairly regular until the tips and calls started coming in about Sam’s Club closing in Prescott Valley.

I mention this to give you a partial view of our inner workings (and maybe a pet-peeve of mine); several calls were from concerned residents (or Sam’s Club members), while a few were regular employees or contract employees calling in.

Based on news from across the U.S. (other media) and the calls and tips we were receiving, it looked like a duck, felt and smelled like a duck – the duck being a local closure – but it could have been a goose! Meaning, without confirmation of some official sort, I am always reluctant to pull that trigger of immediately releasing the news. You would be surprised at the number of things we hear about that are not true!

Store and corporate sources were not immediately available. Our confirmation came from the Town of Prescott Valley, which had heard from a Walmart/Sam’s Club representative.

Still, that did not stop people from saying it MUST be true – since it was on Facebook.

Folks, Facebook is not journalism; it’s gossip (aka social media) – where anyone can write practically anything. And, often, people do not click through to read the story but comment based only on the headline.

Is Sam’s Club closing? Yes, Jan. 26. We reported it on dCourier.com as soon as we had it from an official source (posted Thursday at 11:54 a.m.).

Hopefully the workers there can find other jobs, members get refunds, and the store space gets a new tenant soon.

While the rumors turned out to be true, this stands as an example of how Prescott Newspapers fights “fake news.” I want to be first, but I also want to be right.

That said, I cannot help but say there’s a very close connection between the announcement of more than 60 of these stores closing across the U.S. and the same-day news that parent company Walmart is giving raises to at least $11 and bonuses for hourly workers (stating they are because of the tax overhaul).

Seriously.

• JAIL TAX – You may have seen news about upcoming Jail District Sales Tax meetings; there are a lot of them. However, this is not new.

The Yavapai County Jail District was established in 1999 and nearly 70 percent of those voting on this issue in 2000 agreed that a sales tax to pay for jail needs was the right way to go. Now 20 years later, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors is asking residents to renew this tax for an additional 20 years.

The funding mechanism came about because the county had to build a new jail; Prescott’s was deemed unsafe and too small by the Department of Justice. The sales tax funds first paid for the new jail, and since then the money helps with operating costs.

It is a good idea.

Watch the Courier and dCourier.com for news and info of the meetings.

• SNOW?! – The Prescott area’s first precipitation since Sept. 13 came Jan. 9, but that pales in comparison to the 14-plus inches the Snowbowl ski area, near Flagstaff, received this week.

The snow I had out Williamson Valley way (about an inch) was gone by morning because of continued rainfall. No complaints from me, we need all we can get!

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): At 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Phippen Museum, 4701 N. Highway 89, Prescott: “Specters of the Past: Arizona’s Ghost Towns.”

Enjoy!

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott Newspapers, Inc. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.