EMPIRE STORE NEEDS HELP!!!

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AMES
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EMPIRE STORE NEEDS HELP!!!

Post by AMES » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:47 am

:(

Today's paper......

Lone store for Gerlach and Empire in limbo
By Jaclyn O'Malley • [email protected] • October 12, 2008

The fate of the lone grocery store serving the northern Washoe County towns of Empire and Gerlach is up in the air after a legal battle between the owner and former manager left the business closed indefinitely and without stock or equipment left to keep food fresh.

For years, the Empire Distributing Company on Nevada State Route 447 has been the only source for milk, bread and medicine for the area's 550 residents.
It's also been the last stop for necessities for Burning Man participants on their way to the Black Rock Desert.
Empire is about 7 miles south of Gerlach, and both towns have few services beyond a post office, schools and a gas station.
The grocery store recently closed after a lengthy legal dispute between 83-year-old owner Donald Marks and the store's former manager, Donald Lawson.
Lawson moved out earlier this month and took everything out of the store, claiming he owned it and had purchased the equipment from Marks.
Marks said Lawson was
merely leasing the business. Marks said he owns all of the equipment in the store, which he said he has owned since 1985.
U.S. Gypsum Company Plant owns the property where the store, a gas station and a home are located.
A recent court order required Lawson to vacate the store. Lawson said he left because he allowed the purchase agreement he had with Marks to expire.
The legal wrangling has left residents worried they will have to take all-day trips just to get basic groceries. The closest grocery stores are in Fernley or the Reno-Sparks area.
"It's really sad," said Jennifer Thompson, who is married with two children ages 10 and 13. "We've lived in Empire
14 years, and now where are we going to go just to get bread, milk and medicine? It's a two-hour drive just to get to Reno.
Marks said he would like to revive the business, but he doesn't have enough money to sustain it. The business never earned much money, he said.
"This is really a disaster for the community," Marks said. "There's no bread or milk now, and there's kids living up here. There are retired people with no transportation.
"I don't know what to do," he said. "You've never seen such a mess."
Sherry Anderson has lived in Empire for 35 years and went
to the store every couple of weeks, and liked the dinner specials offered, such as pizza and tacos.
"Now I have to plan better for milk and eggs, stuff that's fresh," she said.
Anderson said she travels to Reno and shops at Wal-Mart, Winco and Costco.
"I buy a lot at once," she said. "It's a two-hour, one-way trip, so it takes all day to get groceries. It's going to be a big hassle with winter and the gas prices. I really hope their doors open back up."
Chuck Duffy of Gerlach routinely makes shopping trips to Reno every couple weeks to stock up and said he didn't use the Empire store that often.
Duffy said it was a convenient place to buy hunting permits, and it also had tourist items.
"It's just devastating," said Marks' granddaughter, Amy Wick of Reno, who worked summers at the store when she was younger.
"Two weeks ago, it was a running store, and today it's gutted and we can't even attempt to use it," she said.

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thinfilmguy
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Post by thinfilmguy » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:39 am

Ames,
I just saw the announcment on the news - bummer! You might send an email to the reno burner group - they are having a big de-compression event this weekend and you might be able to set up a table and maybe ask for donations?? I'm a newbe here and don't know all the rules, but the burner community is great and will most likley pitch in. It's worth a try. Also, if you have an address where people can send donations, that might help - I'll send you some!

Good luck!!

Jim
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

AMES
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Post by AMES » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:41 am

HI, THANX FOR THE GREAT ADVICE! IM SO LAD TO HEAR THE NEWS PICKED UP! WHAT CHANNEL?? I TRIED TO TAKE A BRAKE YESTERDAY.. IVE BEEN BREATHING THIS STORE THE LAST 2 WEEKS!!

IM NEW AT THIS TOO!! IVE NEVER BEEN TO BURNNING MAN MY SELF!! BUT CANT WAIT TO GO!! AND WORK FOR MY FAMILY STORE! I GREW UP IN SO. CAL.. I CAME EVERY SUMMER AND SPENT TIME WITH MY FAMILY AND EMPIRE/GERLACH.I MOVED TO RENO 4 1/2 YEARS AGOWAITING FOR MY GPA TO GET HS TORE BACK!! ITS GOING TO BE ALOTA WORK TO GET IT BACK RUNNING, BUT I WANT TO ANYTHING TILL I GET "HIS" AND EMPIRE/GERLACHS STORE BACK!! I WOULD LOVE TO COME TO THE MEETING THIS WEEEKEND!! WHEN & WERE???? THANKS AGAIN!

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thinfilmguy
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Post by thinfilmguy » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:53 am

Ames,

Glad to hear you are here in Reno. It will be a challange no doubt, but I guess the good news is there isn't a lot of competition, so if you keep the milk and beer cold, and the bread fresh, you have time to work out the bugs!

Just an FYI, read some of the posts regarding the store - the people that were running it were apparently doing some pretty underhanded things - assuming it is the same store that is in the posts.

Anyway, it was on chanel 2 this morning, and just a 30 second bite on it closing, and how the people will have a tough time getting their supplies. You should call/email them, and perhaps they can do a little follow-up piece, and maybe people will help with donations, like store fixtures, etc. There are lots of stores closing, and the market is probably weak to sell that kind of stuff. I saw Mervyns in Carson is closing, and all the store fixtures are for sale.

Another interesting thought - there were a couple of interesting posts on this site suggesting you guys -someone - do a bunch of burning man stuff - some were in jest, but the folks in the store near Area 51 in Nv make a pretty good living selling alien stuff (when the real aliens are in town). Not a bad idea! Again, I would talk with the local reno burning man folks and they might be able to give you some good input as I am a newbee and don't want to give bad advice.

I'll stop and say hello for sure on my next trip to BRC!

Jim
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

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Post by hsdavis » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:37 am

On another thread, Donald Lawson was refered to as "a bad person" and a local person took offense to that. I read that he was the person that leased the store from the owner Donald Marks. I also read about the sleezy business practices at least on the gas station side of the Empire Store and I am not sure if that attention had anything to do with the closing of the store.
I do know that Don Lawson allow his business dispute to with the owner of the business to slam his friends and neighbors by destroying a barely profitable store. I am sure that Lawson was able to justify in his own mind why he screwed his entire community, including Gerlach, Empire as well as all the hunters and the Burning Man crowd, but he is still the villian in this scenerio no matter how you cut it. He allowed his pride and spite to get in the way of consideration of the entire local community who now is left with no store to buy supplies. There can be absolutely no justification for him being so utterly evil and mean to his friends and neighbors.
I'm sure he was able to get a few hundred dollars for the steel shelves, and the coolers were worth a lot more than that. I guess there is no end to the low level that he will lower himself to, just to make a few extra bucks.
This is the same crap the gas station did with the stolen gas caps and bad tires. The word is out that Donald Lawson is the cause of these problems and he should be ashamed of his selfish actions. I am sure his response will be, "you don't know the whole story", but he still screwed his neighbors.

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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:12 am

hsdavis wrote:On another thread, Donald Lawson was refered to as "a bad person" and a local person took offense to that. I read that he was the person that leased the store from the owner Donald Marks. I also read about the sleezy business practices at least on the gas station side of the Empire Store and I am not sure if that attention had anything to do with the closing of the store.
I do know that Don Lawson allow his business dispute to with the owner of the business to slam his friends and neighbors by destroying a barely profitable store. I am sure that Lawson was able to justify in his own mind why he screwed his entire community, including Gerlach, Empire as well as all the hunters and the Burning Man crowd, but he is still the villian in this scenerio no matter how you cut it. He allowed his pride and spite to get in the way of consideration of the entire local community who now is left with no store to buy supplies. There can be absolutely no justification for him being so utterly evil and mean to his friends and neighbors.
I'm sure he was able to get a few hundred dollars for the steel shelves, and the coolers were worth a lot more than that. I guess there is no end to the low level that he will lower himself to, just to make a few extra bucks.
This is the same crap the gas station did with the stolen gas caps and bad tires. The word is out that Donald Lawson is the cause of these problems and he should be ashamed of his selfish actions. I am sure his response will be, "you don't know the whole story", but he still screwed his neighbors.
You really don't know shit.
Seems like your able to talk it though .
So shall we, talk about fucking the LOCAL community?

But then again YOU NOT A FUCKING LOCAL.

Are you sure you want to start a pissing match?

LMAO.

Go back to Boston, or come back in and we can play.

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Post by misfit » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:33 am

Enlighten us with what you think you know goathead..... :shock:
Be happy while you're living, For you're a long time dead.

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Post by pinemom » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:52 am

Please, Goathead.
And I'm not being a smart ass or snark.

If there is more to this story then the media or the threads have scripted to us. Then please be the bearer of TRUE story on why the only store closed?


Here's The catch:22:

You must inform us beyond a measure of doubt of both sides of the story!!!!

Both DON's Deserve their day in court, right?

We cant be the jury!

We will always be the outsiders not knowing what happens the other 335 days of the yr.

We can help try to at least get the store re-opened, in whatever means we can assist the local people with their "staple" needs.
But to sit here and say this man is bad, no that man is bad....we have no idea of the true characters of either party.




And believe me....at one time or another in all our lives, we have done something wrong or out of character, in which it came back to hurt someone!


Maybe all this wasted energy could be bottled up and used towards just getting the damn store opened again.
Names pinemom, but my friends call me "Piney".

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Post by Bob » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:41 am

Image
Amazing desert structures & stuff: http://sites.google.com/site/potatotrap/

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Post by hsdavis » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:23 am

goathead wrote:
hsdavis wrote:On another thread, Donald Lawson was refered to as "a bad person" and a local person took offense to that. I read that he was the person that leased the store from the owner Donald Marks. I also read about the sleezy business practices at least on the gas station side of the Empire Store and I am not sure if that attention had anything to do with the closing of the store.
I do know that Don Lawson allow his business dispute to with the owner of the business to slam his friends and neighbors by destroying a barely profitable store. I am sure that Lawson was able to justify in his own mind why he screwed his entire community, including Gerlach, Empire as well as all the hunters and the Burning Man crowd, but he is still the villian in this scenerio no matter how you cut it. He allowed his pride and spite to get in the way of consideration of the entire local community who now is left with no store to buy supplies. There can be absolutely no justification for him being so utterly evil and mean to his friends and neighbors.
I'm sure he was able to get a few hundred dollars for the steel shelves, and the coolers were worth a lot more than that. I guess there is no end to the low level that he will lower himself to, just to make a few extra bucks.
This is the same crap the gas station did with the stolen gas caps and bad tires. The word is out that Donald Lawson is the cause of these problems and he should be ashamed of his selfish actions. I am sure his response will be, "you don't know the whole story", but he still screwed his neighbors.
You really don't know shit.
Seems like your able to talk it though .
So shall we, talk about fucking the LOCAL community?

But then again YOU NOT A FUCKING LOCAL.

Are you sure you want to start a pissing match?

LMAO.

Go back to Boston, or come back in and we can play.
Tell me the REAL story Goathead! I am only going by the facts that are in the paper. Sometimes the news gets things wrong and some clarification is required. Tell me why Don Lawson had to get an 83 year old man who wanted his store back. Tell me why in the process of cheating the old man, he screwed an entire community out of it's store.
I don't want a pissing match, I just want to hear the story.

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What can we do to help, exactly?

Post by lonestoner916 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:45 am

I don't think this is one of those problems that can be solved just by throwing money at it, from my understanding there's a legal dispute involved. I'm concerned about the locals, and I spent Monday and Tuesday of last week camping at Frog Pond so I saw the store all locked up tight and deserted looking, it was pretty sad. I'm going to contact Lawyers for Burners and see if someone is willing to act as a sort of mediator and do what needs to be done to hammer out the deal and get the store re-opened. We'll need to set up a PayPal account to help with expenses, any volunteers? Anyone with any more info you think might help, contact me via email.
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Post by thinfilmguy » Tue Oct 14, 2008 12:47 pm

Ames - You still there? There are some pretty heated "discussions" here, so don't be afraid to jump back in!

Anything you can add here without compromising the law suits that are out there?


Lonestoner - I like your idea of having a Burning Man lawyer take a look - this is obviously a real sore subject with a lot of people. I'm still new and had no idea...

Pinemom - Are you down im my neck of the woods - gardnerville area?

Jim
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Post by gyre » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:40 pm

I think she's a Renotarianite.

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Post by Dork » Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:53 pm

It sounds like the Donalds are done working together for good. What is needed is someone with some money and desire to start up a store in the existing location or perhaps a new one.

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Post by Bob » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:38 pm

But which Donald shot Flash?
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Post by theCryptofishist » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:10 pm

Bob, once again you open the door to a mysterious world, full of associations and wonders I know nothing about.
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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:54 pm

Bob wrote:But which Donald shot Flash?
Annette in front of Bev's.
No Donald involved.

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Post by Bob » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:57 pm

If USG needed a company store, they'd fucking build one. Fuck fundraisers, fuck the Donalds, fuck Western Family Foods, and fuck all ya'll, go shop at the Nixon Store in beautiful downtown Nixon, NV.
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Post by ibdave » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:24 pm

edit cuz I can...
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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:25 pm

pinemom wrote:Please, Goathead.
And I'm not being a smart ass or snark.

If there is more to this story then the media or the threads have scripted to us. Then please be the bearer of TRUE story on why the only store closed?
:D I wish I could pinemonm, I know lots of bits and pieces, are they facts ???? I don't know. I know its been a long legal battle. I know there have been restaining orders on BOTH sides. I know USG is pissed.
pinemom wrote: Here's The catch:22:

You must inform us beyond a measure of doubt of both sides of the story!!!!
pinemom wrote:
Both DON's Deserve their day in court, right?


LOL, they have spent many days in court, before it's all over I imagine they will spend more days there.

pinemom wrote: We will always be the outsiders not knowing what happens the other 335 days of the yr. We can help try to at least get the store re-opened, in whatever means we can assist the local people with their "staple" needs.
But to sit here and say this man is bad, no that man is bad....we have no idea of the true characters of either party..


Which might be one of the reasons I took such offencse ot hsdavis's post.

pinemom wrote: And believe me....at one time or another in all our lives, we have done something wrong or out of character, in which it came back to hurt someone!
Maybe all this wasted energy could be bottled up and used towards just getting the damn store opened again.


Just like theres times to step back, wait for the dust to clear.
Never have been able to build shit in a white out.

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Post by Bob » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:26 pm

Then I guess it's all-clear for Boston fundraisers for the Empire Store, provided the Red Sox beat Tampax Bay.
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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:28 pm

hsdavis wrote:[ Tell me the REAL story Goathead! I am only going by the facts that are in the paper. Sometimes the news gets things wrong and some clarification is required. Tell me why Don Lawson had to get an 83 year old man who wanted his store back. Tell me why in the process of cheating the old man, he screwed an entire community out of it's store.
I don't want a pissing match, I just want to hear the story.
Where did you get this
hsdavis wrote:I also read about the sleezy business practices at least on the gas station side of the Empire Store and I am not sure if that attention had anything to do with the closing of the store.
From? I didn't read that in the paper. And yes its true Donny did have an IDIOT working at the station. I doubt he knew about this crap at the time it was happening though.
hsdavis wrote: I do know that Don Lawson allow his business dispute with the owner of the business to slam his friends and neighbors by destroying a barely profitable store.
Did Marks offer to pay for the inventory? Did he offer to pay for any of the improvements? I don't know? As far as Donny slamming his freinds?
FUCK OFF..... You have know idea what we think of him here.....
hsdavis wrote: I am sure that Lawson was able to justify in his own mind why he screwed his entire community.
Didn't see this in the paper either. How do you know it was Donny doing the screwing?
hsdavis wrote: but he is still the villian in this scenerio no matter how you cut it.
REALLY? How do you know this? Fuck, I live here and I don't know all of the legal details PLEASE FILL ME IN.
hsdavis wrote: He allowed his pride and spite to get in the way of consideration of the entire local community who now is left with no store to buy supplies. There can be absolutely no justification for him being so utterly evil and mean to his friends and neighbors.
Hmmm, Donny thought he was the owner of the store, went through a long legal battle over it. Lets see he spent 13? 14? years of his life up there? So who is the evil one?
hsdavis wrote: I'm sure he was able to get a few hundred dollars for the steel shelves, and the coolers were worth a lot more than that. I guess there is no end to the low level that he will lower himself to, just to make a few extra bucks .
If they where his should he just have walk away form them?
Did Marks offer to buy them? If I don't know I really doubt you do.
Soooo, I guess your just talking MORE SHIT.
hsdavis wrote: The word is out that Donald Lawson is the cause of these problems and he should be ashamed of his selfish actions. I am sure his response will be, "you don't know the whole story", but he still screwed his neighbors.
And just how many of his neighbors do you know?

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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:36 pm

Bob wrote:If USG needed a company store, they'd fucking build one. Fuck fundraisers, fuck the Donalds, fuck Western Family Foods, and fuck all ya'll, go shop at the Nixon Store in beautiful downtown Nixon, NV.
If I am going drive all that way why would I want to get Fucked in Nixon?
:roll:

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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:39 pm

Bob wrote:If USG needed a company store, they'd fucking build one. Fuck fundraisers, fuck the Donalds, fuck Western Family Foods, and fuck all ya'll, go shop at the Nixon Store in beautiful downtown Nixon, NV.
Why would they build a store if they want to shut down the mill?

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Post by goathead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:47 pm

pinemom wrote:Please, Goathead.
And I'm not being a smart ass or snark.
Just one quick point, I don't know Ames or Heather.
They are probably good people.
I do know some of their family, some of them are real nice people.


I have known Donny for years and consider him a friend.
Do you stand by the sidelines when freinds of your are being slammed?

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Yes... and its a mess...

Post by haptotrope » Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:05 am

Yes, its a mess, we don't know anything here, but we burners personally value the existence of the store and know that this little market means a lot to the community at large of Gerlach.

So, Goathead (since you're the only one who seems to be immediately local) What does the community need? Money? a refrigerator food truck? remote co-op buying? Food delivery? Gas delivery? lawyer services? Should we back off? or?

We can speculate all we want, but it's likely not helpful, since its not our battle - and it seems that even if we lived there, it wouldn't be our battle...

Would you (or any other immediate locals) be willing to ask around town and report back and post with what people need, and what they want, and what they thing we can do to help them meet those needs? Because the needs of the residents are the ones I'm most concerned about.

And then, if we are needed and have an understanding about what the town needs, then we can mobilize the troops. Elsewise its just bitching on the internet.

From Boston,
Hapto

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Post by thinfilmguy » Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:21 am

Hapto,

Great response.

I'm kind of local - in Nv but about 3 hours south - and might be able to help. I have time and a big truck! If there is nobody closer, I might be able to take a drive up next week. I mentioned in an earlier post that there is a giant decompression in Reno this weekend - which unfortunately I will miss - but it would be a good place to look for help - I was hoping Ames would take up the cause - or at least give us some direction. I'm a little hesitant to just get into someones business without being invited! I beleive Ames is the owners daughter and certainly could be that link.

Ames - you still here? If you are, PM me or just email me at thinfilmguy @ hotmail dot com and we can talk.

Jim
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Re: Yes... and its a mess...

Post by goathead » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:38 am

haptotrope wrote:Yes, its a mess, we don't know anything here, but we burners personally value the existence of the store and know that this little market means a lot to the community at large of Gerlach.

So, Goathead (since you're the only one who seems to be immediately local) What does the community need? Money? a refrigerator food truck? remote co-op buying? Food delivery? Gas delivery? lawyer services? Should we back off? or?

We can speculate all we want, but it's likely not helpful, since its not our battle - and it seems that even if we lived there, it wouldn't be our battle...

Would you (or any other immediate locals) be willing to ask around town and report back and post with what people need, and what they want, and what they thing we can do to help them meet those needs? Because the needs of the residents are the ones I'm most concerned about.

And then, if we are needed and have an understanding about what the town needs, then we can mobilize the troops. Elsewise its just bitching on the internet.

From Boston,
Hapto
I wish I knew the answer, until all the legal battles are settled once and for all I just don't know. Way to many rumors flying around right now.
We are all just waiting for things to settle down.

On the bright side, I know kind of hard to believe. People are checking on others more often. Seeing if anyone needs anything when they go into town. It's always been a close community, this is just making it a little bit more so.

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Post by hunterandmakaelasmommy » Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:56 pm

Ames has been dealing with other aspects of the store and has had little time for the internet. She should be back up tonight with updates. Thanks for all the support.

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Re: Yes... and its a mess...

Post by haptotrope » Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:03 pm

[quote="goathead"]
On the bright side, I know kind of hard to believe. People are checking on others more often. Seeing if anyone needs anything when they go into town. It's always been a close community, this is just making it a little bit more so.[/quote]

Adversity brings out the best in people. I think in many cases that's why Burning Man feels so much like an idyllic place -- The challenges remind us that we're all in it together. And it seems like Gerlach may have the Burning Man spirit too!

Anyway, it seems like there are locals, like thinfilmguy... who might be able to help folks save gas and time by driving out a truckload of sundries (I believe Costco? in Reno will package up a palate of food and load it on the truck - or at least take phone orders to have it ready to go.) Or perhaps the Country club will help out short term and place an extra large order with the restaurant supplier for goods that need refrigeration. As long as the community sticks together, and keeps an eye out, Y'all will get through this. And know that we've got your back. -- just let us know if there is any way we can help.

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