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Five Questions: Cara Restelli

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Cara Restelli has developed a reputation in the local business community for her investigative consumer reporting during her nine-year run at KY3. Since May 2, Restelli has been introducing herself to business owners as the community outreach director for the Better Business Bureau of southwest Missouri. Restelli said her skills honed as a TV news reporter will shine in her new position.

Q: Why did you leave KY3?
A: I really enjoyed my time at KY3. Quite frankly, I was looking for a new challenge and there were very few places that I felt like I could go that I wouldn’t be settling for a job. The bureau was one of those places. I knew that this job would be both something that I’d be good at and I would enjoy. To be frank, the hours of a news broadcaster, as anyone can attest, are not the greatest. I had an opportunity to come here and utilize those skills I developed at KY3 while working hours that were both better for me and better for my family.

Q: How would you describe you new position?
A: I do a lot of different things. Basically, I’m tasked with getting the Better Business Bureau’s name out there more and letting the community know who we are and what we do. I do that by planning community events as well as business seminars and webinars. For example, we’re planning a car care clinic for women July 9 that will help them respond to roadside emergencies. We are going to have BBB-accredited auto repair shops come in and share their expertise with women. In August, we’re preparing a seminar on how health care reform is impacting businesses. I’m also going around to different groups and educating business leaders and consumers about what the complaint process is – how to avoid a complaint and how to file a complaint.

Q: Of all your stories as a TV reporter, which one stands out most to you?
A: We did an investigation into how sleeping medication might impact one’s ability to respond to a smoke detector. We found that a majority of people who were on sleeping medication did not wake up to a smoke alarm, and the “Today” show picked that up and aired it. But I’d say my proudest accomplishment at KY3 was the development of the day care database. When I was looking for day care, I wanted more information about licensed day cares in the area, and I found very quickly that people had to go to an office in downtown during office hours and sort through files to find information on violations. Other states have that information online, so we went about doing that.

Q: How is what you’re doing now similar to your previous reporting work?
A: Another part of my job is business investigations. If we have a red flag that comes into our office where questions are raised about a certain business … that’s where my skills as an investigative journalist come into play. I’ll go out and investigate that business and find out if the complaint was valid. A lot of times, businesses won’t respond to complaints. (Owners) may not care if they have a low rating with the BBB. So I’ll go out and I’ll find out why they aren’t responding and potentially issue a news release if the situation warrants.

Q: What are your short-term and long-term goals for this position?
A: My long-term goal is to continue to get the Better Business Bureau’s good name out there, to increase the number of accredited businesses and increase the number of hits to our Web site. We get a lot of complaints, but we’d like to help consumers proactively by having them visit (www.swmo.bbb.org). I’d also like to increase the number of our community events and business seminars. My short-term goal is to have one per month. 
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