Romeo Cruz ProfileSilver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Romeo Cruz will provide a weekly column to the Beat, featuring items and announcements of interest to the community.

When is a poison not a poison?

In the 1920s, Wisconsin researchers raced to find the source of an epidemic affecting cattle. Cattle were bleeding to death after minor injuries incurred in routine procedures, such as castration. Researchers discovered a link between a certain type of moldy hay and the strange deaths, and eventually extracted a compound they called dicoumarol, which caused a dangerous and potentially lethal thinning of the blood in cows that consumed it.

Further researched led to a commercial application. In 1948, Warfarin, named after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, came onto the market as a rat poison. The poison was very effective on rodents. The pleasant scent attracted them, and because it wasn't immediately lethal, they weren't afraid to eat enough to kill them.

But the very property that made Warfarin such an effective means to kill rodents meant that it had potential for other applications, such as treating hypertension in human beings. When a man tried to commit suicide by ingesting Warfarin, doctors were able to successfully save his life by giving him an infusion of vitamin K. It was a remarkable breakthrough, demonstrating that the negative effects of the poison could be reversed. It meant that doctors could use the poison to save lives. One of the first human recipients of the new drug, renamed Coumadin, was President Dwight David Eisenhower, who was treated with the drug after suffering a heart attack.

Read more ...

The Real Art of Business

The Chamber Column is devoted to exploring the intriguing world of business and commerce, a subject with more permutations than a twelve-sided Rubik's Cube. As I was feverishly pondering what rabbit hole to dive into, it occurred to me that the division between "business" and "life" is tenuous and somewhat arbitrary. It's natural for humans to organize the world in neat little boxes, and business isn't spared from our need to classify, and so we define it as having a trade, or making a living through commerce. But we also love our metaphors, and there is no shortage of metaphors available for people to associate with business.

Read more ...

Boosting your Creativity

Sometimes, even the most agile and fertile minds can come up empty. Just about everyone who has ever been tasked with a creative process has experienced the feeling of a long, desolate slog through the desert, hot sun beating down upon the featureless plain of the mind, bare sands stretching to the horizon. As unpleasant as this feeling is, it isn’t permanent. There are numerous strategies for re-energizing the mind and allowing the warm rains of creativity to nurture the thirsty sand once again.

Creativity is not innate, and it isn’t an external force that swoops out of the ether. It’s a learned skill, one that combines imagination, curiosity, and passion with knowledge. With this is mind, let’s look at a few strategies for reenergizing your creativity.

Read more ...

The Concorde Problem

In 1956, manufacturers in France and Britain dreamed of a transatlantic flight that lasted only a few hours. The Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee met to discuss turning this dream into a reality. The result was the Concorde, a marvel of engineering that catapulted passengers across the skies at speeds faster than sound. The trip that took the Pilgrims six weeks took the Concorde less than three hours to complete.

The Concorde was unquestionably a triumph of engineering, but as a business, the jet was a colossal failure. Designing a supersonic passenger jet was a monumental task, eating up investments through cost overruns. But rather than put an end to a program that was hemorrhaging money, the executives in charge decided to continue. With so much money already invested, they thought, it would be a terrible waste if they didn't see it through.

The Concorde is a classic example of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. It occurs when a person or organization makes a decision based on previously invested resources, regardless of whether or not there is a reasonable chance of future gain.

Read more ...

Tom Sawyer the Marketing Guru

A few days ago, I decided to take my own advice and read a novel. The one I chose was Mark Twain’s immortal love-letter to childhood-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I’ve only had time to read a couple of chapters, but I’ve already discovered why the book is considered a classic. The writing is laced with Twain’s irrepressible humor as he leads the reader into the world of a clever, adventurous boy growing up in a town by the Mississippi River in the 1840s. I was even more surprised to find that in the second chapter, Tom gives his readers a lesson in marketing.

As a punishment for Tom’s numerous offenses, which include fighting, stealing jam, and sneaking out of the house, his Aunt Polly assigns him a job that will require an entire Saturday to complete. Twain describes Tom’s predicament:

“Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him, and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit.”

Read more ...

Lessons From the Heroes Of the Bataan Death March

Eighty years ago, the Japanese Army occupied the Philippine Islands. General Douglas MacArthur had fled, leaving thousands of American soldiers, and their Filipino allies at the mercy of Japan. The Japanese gathered them all together, nearly 78,000 men, and marched them 65 miles through interminable heat, with little water and food, to a centralized prison camp. Torture and summary execution were commonplace, and those who managed to survive the hunger, exhaustion and thirst could be bayonetted on the side of the road without warning.

On April 9, we remember this particular horror of war as the Bataan Death March. Rather than focus on the abject cruelty that comes with the clash of cultures with the machinery of modern warfare, I would rather focus on the tremendous heroism, tenacity, and bottomless well of strength that enabled so many men to survive. It is here, rather than in the exploration of human depravity, that we might find some positive light in such a dark moment in history.

Read more ...

Reading is Good Business

In Ray Bradbury's darkly prophetic novel Fahrenheit 451, the author reveals a world where reading books is criminal, with punishment carried out by flamethrower toting firemen, who would not only burn any books they found, but the houses in which they were hidden. Bradbury's point was that a society that stopped reading books would be a dreary, joyless place to live. While we haven't gotten to the point where enforcing the law involves torching houses, reading is certainly not as popular a pursuit as it once was.

It's not enough to scroll through Twitter or peruse your Facebook feed. In fact, the kind of cursory reading required to follow Facebook or Twitter might actually reduce attention spans and make deep thinking more difficult. Reading, for the purposes of this discussion, requires the longer texts found in nonfiction books and novels.

The number of adults who read books declined to a mere 57 percent in 2002, and the number has likely fallen since then. Movies, television, social media, and video games are competing with books for attention, and books are losing the war. The result is fewer people reading and more people relying on visual media for information.

Read more ...

Solving a Problem Using the Design Thinking Process

Business, at its heart, is the ability to solve problems. Need a meal? There's a business for that. Engine making a knocking noise? A business has that covered too. Many problems handled by businesses are fairly straightforward, but there are some that don't present an obvious solution. For this, a process exists that takes the guesswork out of finding a solution. That process is called the design thinking process, and it can be used for anything from a promotional flier to the next killer phone app. The design thinking process consists of five steps. Although they are presented here in order, the process doesn't necessarily follow a linear path. It's useful, however, to look at each step in the process to understand how they work together.

In this hypothetical example, Dougie Martinez works for the famous Mariposa Mousetrap Company, and he has been charged with the design of a new mousetrap. However, this new mousetrap must be unlike any other mousetrap that has ever been produced. How does Dougie go about producing a new twist on an age-old problem? He could sit in his R and D lab and wrack his brain, hoping that something will come to him. Or he could employ the design thinking process.

Read more ...

Content on the Beat

WARNING: All articles and photos with a byline or photo credit are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Disclaimer: If you find errors in articles not written by the Beat team but sent to us from other content providers, please contact the writer, not the Beat. For example, obituaries are always provided by the funeral home or a family member. We can fix errors, but please give details on where the error is so we can find it. News releases from government and non-profit entities are posted generally without change, except for legal notices, which incur a small charge.

NOTE: If an article does not have a byline, it was written by someone not affiliated with the Beat and then sent to the Beat for posting.

Images: We have received complaints about large images blocking parts of other articles. If you encounter this problem, click on the title of the article you want to read and it will take you to that article's page, which shows only that article without any intruders. 

New Columnists: The Beat continues to bring you new columnists. And check out the old faithfuls who continue to provide content.

Newsletter: If you opt in to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option above this to the right, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Submitting to the Beat

Those new to providing news releases to the Beat are asked to please check out submission guidelines at They are for your information to make life easier on the readers, as well as for the editor.

Advertising: Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ads on the Beat.

Classifieds: We have changed Classifieds to a cheaper and shorter option. Check periodically to see if any new ones have popped up. The former software failed us, so it's just a category now, with prices posted. Send your information to and we will post it as soon as we can. Instructions and prices are on the page.

Editor's Notes

It has come to this editor's attention that people are sending information to the Grant County Beat Facebook page. Please be aware that the editor does not regularly monitor the page. If you have items you want to send to the editor, please send them to Thanks!

Here for YOU: Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News. Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—

Feel free to notify if you notice any technical problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.  The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

Compliance: Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised.