Border Grill is Michigan’s Top Violator of Labor Laws

January 25th, 2023

The Mexican fast-casual restaurant chain ran afoul of child labor law 16 times, racking up nearly 250 federal labor law violations, more than any other Michigan employer in 2022.

A tiny Michigan restaurant chain racked up more Department of Labor citations for violating federal labor law than any other employer in Michigan last year, according to labor department records.
Border Grill, which operates four Mexican fast-casual restaurants in the state, received nearly 250 citations in 2022 for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including 16 violations of federal child labor law – more than any other employer in the state. Border Grill also accumulated more than $10,000 in fines, according to a labor department enforcement database.
The FLSA is the federal law that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards.
Border Grill’s troubles stem from two of its locations. The Munising restaurant was cited for 172 violations, more than any single location in Michigan last year. The labor department fined the restaurant $7,340, labor department records say.
The chain’s Nagaunee site had the second most violations of any Michigan business last year, collecting 77. It was fined $3,288, according to the labor department.
Of the violations, the Border Grill ran afoul of child labor laws 16 times between the two locations – 10 at the Munising and six at Nagaunee. The violations occurred between 2020-2022, the labor department says.
Full details about the violations were not immediately available from the labor department. A spokesperson from Border Grill did not respond to a request for comment.
Border Grill operates restaurants in Houghton as well as its original site in Marquette. No violations were reported at either of those locations, according to the labor department.
Contact: Keith Brown (732) 962-2056;


Steel Cut oats are garbage

December 1st, 2022

I said it and I mean it.

And then it all changed

November 29th, 2022

Sometimes shit just comes out of left field.

A phone call interrupts your otherwise pleasant and productive afternoon and suddenly there's a crisis -- an actual crisis, not a made up work crisis -- to deal with, involving state and local institutions with which you're connected. Someone may come over for an inspection. Maybe today, even. Maybe next week. We just don't know, Mr. Brown.

I'm being intentionally oblique about this, because it's my beeswax, but it's also worth noting that an event occurred today, an event I'm not particularly happy about, that could have long-reaching repercussions.

I just want it noted in the record is all.

Hi, it's 5 p.m. and my hair is on fire

November 29th, 2022

I got a taste of what my new job is going to be like yesterday. I fielded numerous assignments -- none terribly difficult, but all with extremely tight deadlines and one that came in at 5 p.m. That one was due an hour before and was the most difficult. More than anything else, I think this new gig is going to be a time management nightmare.

Today I become management scum

November 28th, 2022

I was greeted with a note from my boss this morning:
"I'd like to start laying down the ground rules with an email to [department] managers/VPs:
Keith will now be:
      • Reviewing news releases, so make no changes other than factual corrections
      • Reviewing homepage headlines/teases
Anything else for now?"

I was promoted before Thanksgiving, you see. I'm going to have an employee to oversee, doing what I used to do. It's all very scary, honestly.

Keeping it 1994 up in here

November 26th, 2022

My youngest reminded me not long ago that I don't write for myself anymore, that I only write for other people . Or for money. Or both. But not just for me.

Fair point. A little blunt, but fair.

Then, Elon Musk took over Twitter and fired half the people. I quit my account. I didn't use it much anyway, so it's not like my closed account amounted to much, for them or for me. And I've been on the fence about Facebook for some time. I'm tired of social media. I've come to the conclusion -- quite late, I'll admit -- that it has done terrible harm. There was an internet I once was excited about it. An internet I helped build. An internet full of limitless possibilities.

On this internet, I wrote blogs before they were called blogs. They were just called personal sites back then. That's when Yahoo was still the biggest game in town, and that only consisted of links categorized and curated by regular human people. Wikipedia was years away. Google was still just a huge number nerds used.

There was a community of people who operated personal sites. You learned about people from far-flung places and their lives. I virtually "met" a bunch of people, a handful of whom I'm still friends with. And I've still never met them in person, some 25 years later.

That internet no longer exists. It has been replaced by a giant shopping mall, where algorithms monetize the personal and worst of humanity rises to the top. From this, I'm dropping out. I'm going to try to keep it 1994 up in here.

So that's why the name. Zero Comments is what I expect to see here, since my audience will exist of only those who, somehow, accidentally ended up here, likely never to return. Just like it was in the old days.

There's supposed to be a book with the same name, discussing what the internet was like before social media took over. I'm not sure. I'd probably never read it, anyway. If it does exist, dude, I ripped you off. Sorry.

Of Cats and Cradles

November 15th, 2022

Now that my son is a full-fledged adult, with his own car, job and college schedule, I worry that we're never going to be as close as we were when he was young. I feel a little distant sometimes, he's so busy.

But then, out of the blue, he'll text me with a minor emergency that popped up during his day, for which he is seeking my advice. These are good days. He still needs me. Maybe not as often, but he still values my opinion.

I wish he'd call instead of texting, but, frankly, he could send carrier pigeons and I'd be happy.


November 13th, 2022

The furriest among us, living their best, furry, lives.

I'm Fickle as Hell

November 13th, 2022

Despite that I'm no where near finished building up the frame I bought in August into what is supposed to be a dream, do-it-all bicycle, I find myself looking at folding bikes, pricing them, spec'ing them out, weighing the various merits of each type of frame, weight, gearing and purpose. I've found some really nice folders, which appear to solve the one problem that plagues all traditional bikes: Transporting them.

Bike riding where I live is nearly impossible, given there are just better than five contiguous miles of multi-purpose trail and exactly zero bike lanes in 32 square miles. I've taken to loading my current, 35-year-old bike in the back of my car to ride a trail I particularly like along the Delaware River. But with my new bike, which shan't have a scratch on it, I'm reluctant to just pile it in the back. So I've been pricing various racks -- top, hatch and hitch -- to move the bike from place to place. This could add about $300 to the price of the bike, which is already approaching or, likely, exceeding $2k by the time I'm done.

Folders, by their very nature, render this transportation problem moot. Fold them bitches up and go. That's kinda the whole deal. I've found some really nice ones, too. The nicest in my opinion, is a Bike Friday Pocket Llama. The company that makes them is based in Eugene, Oregon, and makes all of them custom, which is really cool. Steel frames, nice components, solid builds. I've never ridden one, but many say after a minute getting accustomed to the twitchy steering, it feels like a full-size bike.

I may end up with one of these. I'm going to try a less expensive folder first, maybe a Zizzo Urbano -- about $300 used -- before leaping into the Bike Friday, which runs near $2k, all said.

The Original Social Media

November 10th, 2022

That's what these blogs used to be, before the billionaires took over and made everything so awful. I'd like to go back to personal websites for the simplicity, the dearth of advertising and the slower pace. But let's be honest, Zuckerberg has taken all my friends, some of whom are scattered all over the world, hostage. How will I ever permanently detach from Facespace and never really be able to eavesdrop on my friends' lives again? I mean, damn, that seems lonely. But I hate Facespace. It's so full of garbage and ads and things that I really don't need nor want.

But he's got all my friends, whether I haven't talked to them in years or not -- or, frankly, even if I really like all of them or not -- it's nice to feel at least a tinge of connection when I see them post about something that I may or may not relate to.

I suppose I did it before Facespace and I could do it again. But once you know you have something, how do you just walk away from it?

It was easy to cut off Twitter, as I did the day I found out Elon Musk fired half the company. I never used that all that much. There's only one friend I know who uses it extensively, and as much as I hate to admit it, I haven't talked to him in 25 years.

So I keep trying out these free, or nearly free, blog building websites, trying to find one that works for me. This is my latest. I don't expect it to catch on and become a habit like it was in the Before Times, but it's worth a shot.

Keith Brown

Zero Comments is the Home of (hopefully) Fine Textual Products, read rather infrequently by as many as 10s of people.