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Hutson joins Bulldog Creative Services

Video producer and photographer Keith Hutson has joined Bulldog Creative Services as production director, bringing experience in broadcast videography and editing, photography and graphic design to clients of the agency.

A native of Maryland, Hutson most recently worked as a video producer at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the Washington, D.C., market. While with Walter Reed, Hutson led the video team in all areas of video production and content development. Prior to his tenure with Walter Reed, Hutson served additional roles as videographer, editor, photographer and graphic designer for Media Star Promotions, The Genieus, and Transportation Management Services.

“Adding Keith to the team is a strong step forward. His demonstrated creativity, along with his command of video production, has already proven to be an asset to our agency and our clients. His experience and results are outstanding, and we look forward to his leadership in the production division,” said Chris Michael, CEO of Bulldog Creative.

Hutson received his associate of science in digital media from Full Sail University in 2003 and his bachelor’s of fine arts in illustration from Ringling College in 2010.

“Creating outstanding content is exciting. Being with a team that values the quality of the end product adds to that excitement. I am very much looking forward to making positive contributions to the agency and our clients,” said Hutson.

Bulldog Creative Services was founded in 1999 and is a full-service advertising agency based in Huntington. The agency assists businesses with strategic marketing research and planning, media management, graphic design, audio/visual production and website design, development and maintenance.

More information about the agency can be found at www.bulldogcreative.com.

Chirico takes role with federal mine safety group

Michael J. Chirico, of Huntington, was sworn in Nov. 9 as the new government liaison and policy adviser of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Immediately prior to this position, Chirico served as deputy chief of staff and counsel to Rep. Carol D. Miller, R-W.Va. Before that, he was chief of staff to Rep. Evan H. Jenkins, R-W.Va.

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission is an independent adjudicative agency that provides administrative trial and appellate review of legal disputes arising under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.

Bajamundi-Plyler named Fellow of the Month

Geriatric psychiatry fellow Clare Bajamundi-Plyler, D.O., has been named November Fellow of the Month at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

As the inaugural fellow for Marshall’s geriatric psychiatry program, Bajamundi-Plyler is receiving specialty training to manage pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions to treat patients with late-life mood and cognitive disorders. Geriatric fellows also develop an in-depth understanding of the family and environmental systems in which older patients live. The one-year fellowship is after completion of a four-year general psychiatry residency.

A native of Southern California, Bajamundi-Plyler received her undergraduate degree in microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics from the University of California Los Angeles. Before medical school, she worked as a social worker for Thresholds, a mental health agency in Chicago. Bajamundi-Plyler received her doctor of osteopathy from Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tennessee.

She and her husband, Adam, and their 2-year-old son, Arnold, have been happy to call Huntington home for the past five years while she completed a general psychiatry residency at Marshall. After completion of her geriatric psychiatry fellowship in June 2021, Bajamundi-Plyler plans to continue as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry. As part of her recognition, Bajamundi-Plyler received a plaque and designated parking spot.

Carla Dingess joins City National Bank

Carla Dingess has joined City National Bank in Wayne. Formerly with Chase Bank, Dingess has more than 42 years of banking experience and is looking forward to helping customers with all of their financial needs.

She is a lifelong resident of Wayne and a member of New Vision Baptist Church.


Business
Cost of Thanksgiving dinner slightly down this year

BARBOURSVILLE — While Thanksgiving celebrations may look different for many families this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of the feast, regardless of size, remains affordable.

The American Farm Bureau’s 35th annual survey indicates the average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is estimated at $46.90 or less than $5 per person. This is a $2.01 decrease from last year’s average of $48.91.

“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton. “Pricing whole turkeys as ‘loss leaders’ to entice shoppers and move product is a strategy we’re seeing retailers use that’s increasingly common the closer we get to the holiday.”

Tim Forth, president of Forth Foods, which operates the Tower FoodFair in Barboursville and several other grocery stores in the region, said, “We always try to sell the best turkey, so we stick with Butterball. And we have it for 88 cents a pound with an additional $25 purchase. That’s down from last year’s price of $1.19 per-pound.”

That price is also less than the national average reported in the Farm Bureau’s survey. It showed a price of $19.39 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.21 per pound, down 7% from last year.

Forth said his stores are offering “can’t-miss” deals on some of the most common holiday food items.

“We’ve got anything from frozen and fresh pies to vegetables and meat on sale here in the store,” Forth said. “Anything you might find on the table at Thanksgiving, you can probably find on sale.”

Forth says while some Thanksgiving gatherings may be smaller this year, his stores have turkeys available in all sizes.

“We have small to medium to large turkeys on sale and have sold many of all sizes already,” he said. “We have not really seen a trend to smaller turkeys this year. We have seen good sales in all sizes, but whatever the size of your gathering we have what you need.”

Overall, Americans consume about 40 million turkeys each Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation.

Foodfair is also offering a hot to-go full holiday Thanksgiving dinner for two for $32.99 and a dinner that feeds six to eight people for $69.99, which includes a 10- to 12-pound turkey or six-pound ham, two pounds of mashed potatoes, two pounds of stuffing, two pounds of green beans, one pound of turkey gravy, one pound of cranberry relish, one dozen dinner rolls and an 8-inch pumpkin or apple pie.

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, many other grocery chains and restaurants are running sales and specials, including turkeys and fully cooked dinners.

ALDI says it has everything from the turkey to the sides and desserts for less than $30 — offering an even lower price for the meal than in 2019.

“Customers expect unbeatable prices at ALDI and the holidays are no exception. While nearly every aspect of our lives is rapidly changing, we promise to continue to do everything in our power to keep prices down,” said Jason Hart, president and CEO, ALDI U.S. “We’re proud to provide shoppers everything they need for a traditional Thanksgiving meal from ALDI for less than $30.”

You can also order your whole precooked Thanksgiving meal from Kroger. It offers a variety of proteins (smoked or roasted whole turkey, turkey breast, prime rib and ham) paired with green bean casserole, sweet potato soufflé, mashed potatoes, gravy, Hawaiian rolls, dressing and a pumpkin pie at prices starting at $55. It’s also selling whole turkeys at 59 cents per pound with a Kroger card and an $25 additional purchase.

In Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division, which operates more than 100 stores in West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Tennessee, the busiest time to shop leading up to Thanksgiving in is typically the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Cracker Barrel restaurants will be open for dine-in service on Thanksgiving Day, but if you’d rather stay home, it offers a complete meal for eight to 10 you can pick up and simply reheat. It comes with two turkey breasts, cornbread dressing, gravy, cranberry relish, three sides, yeast rolls, and pumpkin pie and pecan pie. It also offers a smaller to-go meal that serves four to six for $69.99.

The Thanksgiving Celebration Family Meal from Bob Evans serves six for $59.99. It includes turkey, dressing, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, rolls and pie.

Meanwhile, Walmart has teamed up with several brands to offer a free Thanksgiving dinner to customers during the pandemic.

Ibotta, Campbell’s, Butterball and Coca-Cola have all teamed up with Walmart to offer the 100% cash-back offer, which is available while supplies last.

The free Thanksgiving dinner includes a Butterball Turkey Breast Roast; Campbell’s condensed cream of mushroom soup; McCormick turkey gravy seasoning packet; Great Value stuffing mix; Great Value frozen green beans; Great Value cranberry sauce; Idahoan instant mashed potatoes; French’s crispy onions; and a two-liter Coke.

To take advantage of the free family-style meal, customers can shop for the items included in the line-up at Walmart or through Walmart.com. After purchasing the goods, customers will need to either download the Ibotta app or visit the Ibotta website and scan the Walmart receipt or link their Walmart Grocery accounts with Ibotta to earn the 100% cashback for the purchase.


Business
Black bankers fight efforts to keep executives off Biden's team

Black financial executives are mobilizing against progressive Democrats’ demand that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration exclude anyone with corporate ties, as they look to ensure that people of color can secure top jobs in the new government.

The effort, led by trade associations representing black bankers, brokers and investment firms, is arguing that shutting out finance workers would unfairly disqualify minority candidates — and could be especially detrimental at a time when racial income inequality is a problem that Biden has pledged to address. The campaign is focusing on senior White House staff posts, as well as the heads of agencies like the Treasury Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“All of these leadership positions play a critical role in the development of economic policy in an administration and the execution of goals, strategies and practices that impact all Americans,” the groups wrote in a letter to Biden sent on Wednesday. “Unless you are intentional about leveraging inclusion as a strategy to navigate the intersecting dynamics of race, economy, inequality and power, we will not address these issues with the best minds possible.”

Biden, who’s widely considered a moderate, has yet to announce ethics rules for staffing the administration, though his transition has banned lobbyists, with some exceptions. The letter highlights how the president-elect and his team have to navigate a tricky path on corporate executives while conducting the fullest search possible to form a government they’ve promised will be reflective of the U.S. population.

“President-elect Biden will build a diverse administration that looks like America, starting with the first woman of South Asian descent and the first Black woman to serve as Vice President-elect,” said Cameron French, a transition spokesman. “As he did during the campaign to his transition, Joe Biden will be intentional in finding diverse voices to develop and implement his policy vision to tackle our nation’s toughest challenges.”

The request by the financial groups follows another recent one by the Washington Government Relations Group, a trade association of African American lobbyists. It sent a letter last week to leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, asking for their help advocating against the progressives’ call for barring registered lobbyists from the Biden administration.

A stint in government often helps propel people to high-level private sector jobs. But on the flip side, experience in the corporate world can be beneficial for government work, giving policy makers insight into an industry they are charged with overseeing.

More liberal Democrats, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have taken a hard line against filling economic and regulatory roles with workers from Wall Street and major corporations, contending that such appointees may put the interest of their businesses ahead of the American people.

Warren, however, in comments earlier this week may have given Biden some cover when she pointed out that she had hired people from Wall Street when she set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “The question is: What does your overall team look like?” she said at a New York Times DealBook conference. “It is important to have a team that brings a lot of different perspectives.”

The groups representing minority financial firms and executives make a similar argument. And, they may be difficult to ignore, especially because Biden won the presidency with massive support from African Americans and other minority voters.

Though Biden has yet to announce any of his picks for cabinet posts, he has chosen a number of senior White House staffers. Among them are Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat and member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Another African American, former KeyBank NA executive Don Graves, is leading the transition team that will review the Treasury Department.

In the letter signed by the heads of the National Bankers Association, the National Association of Securities Professionals, the Association of African American Financial Advisors and several other groups, the executives note that only white men have served as Treasury chief and director of the National Economic Council.

In addition, they pointed out that there has never been a black leader of the Federal Reserve, the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency or the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

“A review of the people who have served in the top economic policy making positions in our country’s history shows a stunning and complete lack of racial and ethnic diversity,” the letter said.

The letter, which was also signed by civil rights groups that advocate on behalf of Latinx people and African Americans, called on Biden’s team to interview three or more candidates of color for those key roles.

Though still early in the process, Biden’s transition team is considering potential black nominees for several economic jobs, people familiar with the matter have said. Still, only one prominent candidate with direct ties to the financial industry has emerged: retiring TIAA Chief Executive Officer Roger Ferguson, a potential Treasury secretary. Others who may get positions are from academia or the government, including Raphael Bostic, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and Chris Brummer, a Georgetown University law professor.