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Common Sense from The Common Man

The Common Man is a small group of semi-upscale restaurants in New Hampshire, and the owner, Alex Ray is a pretty civic-minded fellow. Last summer, he started a program for youths -- he basically turned one room of his restaurant over to a bunch of them to run as a standalone business, helping them out as needed but letting them do all the hands-on work themselves. The kids did everything -- scheduling, working, making deposits, etc. -- and Ray just mainly kept an eye on things.

It was a great success, and the kids learned a hell of a lot about running a business -- as well as making a bit of money for themselves. All in all, a great story.

Until the federal government got involved.

They looked very carefully at the breakfast room operation, which Ray had set up through the Communities for Alcohol- and Drug-Free Youth (CADY) program and which was supervised by an Americorps volunteer, and noted that the kids had really thrown themselves into the project. They came in early, on their own time, to get the place ready, and often stayed late to make sure everything was done.

That kind of enthusiasm and dedication cannot be tolerated, however. Ray was fined almost $4,000 for child labor violations by the US Department of Labor. He negotiated it down to about half that, and paid it.

What lesson has Ray learned from this experience?

He says he'll do it again next summer, and in two locations next time.

Alex Ray. The kind of guy who makes me so damned proud to be a New Hampshirite.


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Comments (7)

Jay,More than that. ... (Below threshold)

Jay,
More than that. Alex Ray makes me proud to be an American.

No good deed goes unpunishe... (Below threshold)
Oh, FTLOG:

No good deed goes unpunished.

Glad to hear he'll be continuing his "criminal" ways. GO ALEX!

I'm sure he'll be glad to s... (Below threshold)
CraigC:

I'm sure he'll be glad to see his restaurants described as "semi-upscale." :D

I wish I lived in NH so I c... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:

I wish I lived in NH so I could patronize his restaurant.

Good for Alex. It's a cryi... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

Good for Alex. It's a crying shame that this type of outstanding public service gets punished. It speaks volumes of his dedication to those kids and to his community that he's willing to do this even ONCE, much less carry on after he's fined. And it also illustrates the inane bureaucratic mess that masquerades as our government. I get to New Hampshire fairly often and I'll absolutely patronize this restaurant.

So next year, he would be "... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

So next year, he would be "willfully and knowingly" violating the law. Maybe a double fine? I think this is a good example of civil disobedience. Violate a law that is wrong or being applied wrongly and then suffer the consequences. The only thing is I hope that next year their will be a team of lawyers who want to put in some pro bono (for the good) time to defend him. I would love to see a jury deliberate on this case. Child labor laws were introduce to combat a real problem. This is not an example of the problem.

He's not pretty civic minde... (Below threshold)
gopop:

He's not pretty civic minded.
He's very civic minded.
If you give him a call he will come thru. As he does with the Sandwich Fair every year.
I love the corn chowda w/lobsta at his place in Ashland, NH.




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