Minding Your Business: New management taking over at Beale Celebrations

Linda Owens has been hired as managing executive of Beale Street Celebrations, the downtown events center owned by Swiss investor Werner Fleischmann.

Owens will work alongside current manager Jamie Taylor until she retires in June. An 18-year resident of Kingman, Owens has more than 25 years of experience in management, administration and marketing.

She’s an ambassador for the Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, community service chairwoman for Route 66 Rotary and president of Soroptimist International of Kingman.

She has coordinated fundraising events to provide operating funds for organizations in Kingman and around the world.

“Linda’s business acumen and experience is a great addition to our team,” Fleischmann said. “Downtown Kingman continues to be redeveloped. We know she will be able to build the Beale Celebration reputation as the location for entertainment and celebration events.”

Owens said she’s honored and excited to manage Beale Celebrations, which underwent a major renovation in 2015.

The façade of the 6,000-square-foot former JC Penney store was redesigned with a streamlined linear look and painted turquoise, an iconic color from the 1950s.

“With my connections, relationships and experiences, I will bring new ideas for events and services to Kingman,” Lewis said. “This is a fantastic venue for the growing needs of our community.”

Beale Celebrations, with 600 seating capacity, opened in December 2013 as a venue for fundraising events, expos, weddings and reunions. Touring rock band Wayland headlined the venue’s first major concert on March 31.

BANKRUPT FARM

Las Vegas developer Jim Rhodes came to Golden Valley a few years ago to build homes, switched to farming when the housing market went sour and stirred up dust – and the ire of local residents – when his company, Kingman Farms, plowed a couple thousand acres and drilled some 35 wells in the Red Lake area.

Then he ran afoul of the BLM in 2015 when he graded roads on federal land without permission and knocked over a monument marker, a federal crime.

Rhodes’ majority share of Kingman Farms was acquired by a hedge fund that owns Stockton Hill Farms and Red Lake Ventures, and much of his farm equipment was auctioned off March 23 by order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The equipment included late-model tractors, bale stackers, backhoes, graders, scrapers and spray rigs. Well drilling and irrigation equipment also went up for bid.

A former worker for Kingman Farms who did not want to disclose his identity said Rhodes was irrigating 16 fields at 125 acres each, spending about $40,000 every two days on diesel fuel to power well pumps.

KMART CLOSING

Despite an earlier confirmation that Kingman’s Kmart is not on the list of 150 stores to be closed by parent group Sears Holding, talk on the street hints that it’s just a matter of setting the closing date.

The Daily Miner received a comment from a Kmart customer who was told by an employee that the store is closing. A store visit confirmed that only one register was open, the floor was nearly void of employees and inventory was dwindling in several departments.

Sears Holdings informed employees in January that 78 Kmart stores and 26 Sears stores will be closing in the spring. That’s in addition to 30 Kmart and 16 Sears closings announced in December. No Kmart in Arizona is on the list.

JC Penney recently announced it would close 138 stores, including the one in Bullhead City, which shows how retailers have been forced to make changes as their middle-class customer base shrinks. According to Pew Research Center, middle-class populations decreased in 95 percent of 229 metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2014.

TRUMPCARE

Larry Schiff, chairman of the Mohave County Republican Central Committee and staunch supporter of the Trump administration, said he was “very conflicted” by Congress’ failure to pass the American Health Care Act.

“At best, the bill was a marginal improvement over Obamacare, and it would not have lowered health premiums, nor did it contain most of the essential features of a bill which would put real free market reforms into medicine and get government out of health care, which is the real goal,” Schiff said.

“However, we’ve made so many people in this country dependent on the government that turning this around cannot be done in a few days, and this bill did do away with many of the Obamacare taxes, and it might have been a first step, with many of the needed reforms added later.”