Two Waltham, MA, printers speak of their struggles with rising health care costs in a video promoting the reelection of Governor Deval Patrick. Seen in this clip are Mayda Chaprazian, president of Arvest Press, and Shishir Mehta, who owns Fastsigns. A story in The Boston Globe says that the video is the first ad in the governor’s reelection campaign, which will make health care cost containment for small business one of its key issues. Boston Business Journal reports that the state’s Division of Insurance has said no to most insurers’ proposals for premium increases in health care for small businesses, some of which have seen rates hikes of 50%. Printers in Tuolumne County, CA, are unhappy with the county’s decision to hand over its printing to Staples after years of dealing with local vendors. According to a story in The Union Democrat (Sonora, CA), the county’s board of supervisors voted to award a four year-contract to the national office supply chain over the bids of four other competing printers. The story says that the second-place bid was nearly 28% higher than the one from Staples, which competes with commercial and quick printers through a national network of production and fulfillment centers. The last local printer to hold the contract, Tom Mink of Gold Rush Printing in Sonora, challenged the chain’s ability to deliver. “Staples is not a printer,” he is quoted as saying. “They cannot handle certain jobs.” But not even an expression of support from the district attorney for buying print locally was enough to sway the supervisors’ unanimous decision in favor of Staples, the story says. A government-sponsored lending program for small businesses that was the subject of a post here about a year ago has turned out to be a bust—at least as far as one North Fort Myers, FL, printer is concerned. Florida Weekly reports that Greg Bullock, co-owner of Sign & Design Depot, could not find a bank willing to fund a loan he was seeking under the America’s Recovery Capital Loan Program (ARC), an effort by the Small Business Administration to help small firms bolster their cash flow. “The banks didn’t buy into” approving his application for an SBA-guaranteed loan, Bullock is quoted as saying. “It just sat there.” The story goes on to say that local banks and business owners consider the ARC program a failure, although other types of SBA loans have been more effective in channeling money to operators of small businesses. Bullock, the story adds, has been concentrating on reining in his expenses since the ARC money failed to materialize. Kevin Thesing, owner of Lakes Printing in Brainerd, MN, is among those queried in a report in the Brainerd Dispatch on the pace of economic recovery in the Brainerd Lakes area. His outlook is cautious at best. As the story puts it, “Thesing doesn't expect to have a dramatic moment in time stand out as the recession's end, saying it might be five years from now when people feel they are doing well again.” Other business owners in the area expressed the same kind of skepticism about the likelihood of a quick return to prosperity. The story says that Thesing, forced to cut five positions when business declined, considers himself lucky to remain in business. But he also remains wary. "I just don't know how far out is the next hurricane," he is quoted as saying. "And now the next storm doesn't have to be as big to do a lot more damage.” Carol DiMarco, founder of the CLR Printing Plus brokerage in Staten Island, NY, also is a founding member of Career Coaches, a group of businesswomen who banded together last year to help the borough’s high school students better prepare themselves for the job market. The Staten Island Advance reported the group’s recent mentoring days at McKee Vocational & Technical High School, which offers training in graphic arts and other career-technical areas. During the sessions, Ms. DiMarco and her colleagues coached about 60 juniors and seniors in interview skills and résumé preparation. The students also were offered internship and job shadowing opportunities. The women of Career Coaches would eventually like to offer their services to other high schools on Staten Island, the story said. Short takes: Colormark Inc. of Kansas City, MO, is among the Top 10 Small Businesses vying for the 2010 Small Business of the Year and Mr. K Award from the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, reports Kansas City InfoZine. The winner will be announced at the Small Business Celebration Awards Luncheon on May 19.