Here's what we're working on

One of the problems we have here at the Miner, on occasion, is that there are too many stories and not enough room to fit them all in. And another problem is that sometimes we fail to promote ourselves enough.

This column will attempt to rectify that by giving you a sneak peek at stories we're going to publish in the coming week, to whet your appetite, so to speak ...

... We'll start with Tuesday, when the City Council offers a surprise announcement that it will give a 10-year, 100-percent sales tax waiver to Kingman Crossing developer Vanderbilt Farms/Vestar. This is something of a shocker, since Mayor Les Byram had previously announced there would be no incentive. Few really thought the city had anything to offer in the way of an incentive, since the bulk of the city's revenue comes from sales tax.

"But we have found a solution - parking meters," Byram said while announcing the sales tax waiver for all businesses that locate at Kingman Crossing. "We're going to put parking meters in every business parking lot from Safeway North to Safeway South.

"East Kingman is open for business."

Byram said the parking fee will be 25 cents an hour, and the Kingman Police Department will "aggressively ticket" customers parked at Wal-Mart, Smith's, Walgreens, as well as the Hampton Inn and all other parking spaces between the Safeways. KPD tactics will include leashing snarling police dogs to random meters that are about to expire to prevent more change from being put in them. Parking violation citations start at $50 and will escalate to $200 for a third offense.

In addition, the city will also charge a drive-through tax at fast food restaurants along Stockton Hill Road.

Representatives from various businesses along Stockton Hill Road declined comment, leading to ...

... Wednesday, when the lead story tells of Wal-Mart Corporation's purchase of all of Vanderbilt Farms/Vestar assets, including the acreage adjoining the site of Kingman Crossing. Wal-Mart also announces it will build a new prototype SuperhumongomegaCenter on half of the available land, while leasing out the remainder where Smith's, Safeway, Walgreens and other stores, almost all of them currently located on Stockton Hill Road, will build new stores. Those businesses will also announce they will be shutting down the current locations in Kingman immediately.

"This should solve all the traffic problems on Stockton Hill," a smirking Wal-Mart representative tells a Miner reporter. "And it should also serve as a reminder that the City Council shouldn't screw around with Wal-Mart.

"In other words, central Kingman is not open for business."

Byram announces the city's fallback position for revenue - parking meters will be installed along residential streets, as well as in driveways and garages. With that, we move on ...

... To Thursday, when the Arizona EPA-Department of Revenue Enhancement announces that Skidmark Electric, which manufactures extension cords in a factory at the Kingman Airport Industrial Park, has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine. "We inspected the facilities and found serious violations," an EPA spokesman tells the Miner. "If something went wrong, it could have been bad."

When pressed on the matter by a reporter, the spokesman declined to be specific. "Let me just say that it could have been very bad. You know, really very bad."

A Skidmark spokesman was more forthcoming. "We don't know what the violation was and we were prepared to fight it, but when you face off against the state EPA and the attorney general - well, sometimes it's just cheaper to pay the fine.

"It's just the cost of doing business in Arizona, I guess" ...

... And that brings us back to Monday, when every restaurant in town participates in the "there is no free lunch, but there is a free breakfast" promotion. The offer is good for all customers who show up between 2:47 and 3:09 a.m. on April 2, which serves as a reminder that this column appears in the newspaper on April Fools Day.