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Premier Guitar Fights Floods

Come Hell or High Water...

The view from one staffer''s car window on the way to the office this morning. The highway had just been reopened as flood waters began to recede.
Mount Vernon, IA (June 17, 2008) - As many of you know, our Midwestern offices are located near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which is at the epicenter of unprecedented flooding. Our buildings in Mount Vernon and Fort Dodge are dry and all of our staffers are safe and sound, but things have certainly been interesting. We have friends and family across the state who were hit pretty hard, and we''ve spent much of our time in the last week helping them sandbag their homes, evacuate and salvage what they could before it was too late. Some of our staffers live in Iowa City and were prepared to leave their own homes and apartments, standing by as floodwaters crept dangerously near, all the while helping with community sandbagging efforts in the meantime.

All of this is taking place as we prepare to roll out the digital edition of our next issue. It was scheduled to hit the web Monday, but that launch has been delayed until tomorrow. The print version is in the mail and should reach you soon, if it hasn''t already.

Power has been sporadic up until this point but we have somehow remained online thanks to the courageous efforts of our internet solutions provider, Informatics. Their offices are located a few blocks from the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids -- their building''s bottom floor was completely flooded but they demonstrated amazing resolve in keeping their customers online, utilizing other hosting sites and even camping out in their dark offices while monitoring systems kept alive with emergency generators.

At various times, every major highway was closed due to the flooding, literally stranding many of us from our own offices. At one point, staffers who live four miles from our Mount Vernon office traveled back roads in a maze of detours for eight hours just to reboot a server that had gone down.

Another staffer''s mother''s house -- after 12 hours of industrial pumping.
Like a cruel joke, scattered rains continued over the weekend like the aftershocks of an earthquake, only to reveal an otherwise gorgeous day with sunshine and mild temperatures. Depending on which part of Iowa you''re talking about, flood waters are going back down and things are slowly getting back to normal, although the cleanup process will take months. We''re proud to live and work in place where people come together to help each other in a moment''s notice. We think we''ve got a handle on things and look forward to rolling out our next digital issue online. The accompanying weekly email newsletter linking you to the edition''s marquee features should hit your inboxes tomorrow, as well.

We''re going to roll into Summer NAMM in Nashville a little disheveled and sleep-deprived, but excited to bring you coverage of all of the newest, coolest gear unveiled. As usual, we''ll have our camera crews there to bring you demos and walkthroughs of the latest products on the market. We''re also on the verge of rolling out an intense new section of the website that will keep gearheads busy drooling over cool, new gear for hours.

So, enjoy your print issue of the July edition featuring Baden guitars, a review of the Hamer Talladega Pro and the New York Amp Show recap (available in bookstores starting this month) and stand by for some killer web exclusive features like EH pedal reviews, a video tour of the Martin guitar factory and museum, and much more. If you haven''t already, be sure to sign up for Backstage Pass, our weekly email newsletter so you''ll know when they''re online.