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Friday, August 26, 2005

Billboard has nontoxic effect on Mercury dealership sales

By John Tunison

Even Myron Molotky sees the humor.

A medical-related billboard near his Lincoln-Mercury dealership at U.S. 31 and New Holland reads "mercury is toxic."

"It's actually kind of funny," he said. "We all have talked about it at the dealership."

The billboard is among at least three in West Michigan installed in late July and early August to educate the public about concerns with flu shots containing thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that some fear may cause autism.

A local chapter of Unlocking Autism paid for the billboards and chose the spot not knowing it was near Molotky's new Lincoln-Mercury dealership. The billboard, showing a syringe, is on the corner of Molotky's land.

The autism group looked at moving the billboard, but learned the billboard company, Viacom Outdoor, could not do it easily and without expense.

Molotky has agreed to let it stay for the short time of the group's contract. It is supposed to come down the week of Sept. 5.

He said he understands the placement was simply a mistake and he likes the autism group's effort.

"I'm the father of four kids. I appreciate them trying to get a message out," he said.

Molotky admits he's taking some ribbing from employees and customers.

"I think it's something that belongs on Jay Leno, quite frankly," he joked.

And the sign hasn't hurt business one bit.

Recent incentives offering Ford employee pricing have drawn in many customers.

"We're having another record sales month," Molotky said.

Joy Majzel, of Hudsonville, a member of the Unlocking Autism chapter, said she is grateful for Molotky's understanding.

"The ideal outcome would be for everyone in West Michigan to have access to mercury-free flu shots and for Holland Lincoln Mercury to have a bang-up month in sales," she said.

Posted by Becca

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