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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

It Can Happen Here

In recent weeks, our office has been visited by an unusual number of concerned local residents. They share no obvious connection with each other – only that they live here, own property (diminished in value), and seek to have either friends or family remain or join them here. Still, they sought answers to the same questions.

“Will there be an economic future here?”

“When will (the) Packing Plant (project) begin operating?”

“What has to happen to make these things – and more — happen here?”

It is energizing to hear from non-political folks about their keen desire to see a brighter, stronger economic future in Tama County. I answered their questions with genuine enthusiasm that yes, they can (and will) happen here.

It’s not enough for me to believe it. To make real progress, the majority of the residents of our county are going to need to believe. Reality check time, let’s be completely honest; we have a good number of Tama County detractors right here in our own county. Don’t get me wrong. I know it is human nature to be negative, but in our current situation we cannot afford negative talk. For right now if you are skeptical KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Do not be negative and derail whatever progress and/or success we’ve achieved (or strive to achieve).

Can it happen here? Yes. There are also numerous items invented or manufactured in the Midwest, and several ‘firsts’ that happened here. Here’s just a few of these discoveries, products and ‘firsts’ that have a Midwest connection.


  • The first Pizza Hut store opened in Wichita, Kansas in 1958 by brothers Dan and Frank Carney.
  • Cheeseburgers were first served by a restaurant in 1934 in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • The first commercial oil well was located on the Cumberland River in McCreary County, Kentucky. This occurred in 1819.
  • The first rodeo (Buffalo Bill’s) was held in North Platte, Nebraska on July 4, 1882.
  • The first enamel bathtub was made in Louisville, Kentucky in 1856.
  • In 1899, a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee first bottled Coca-Cola.
  • Kool-Aid was invented and first manufactured by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska.
  • Eskimo Pie created by Chris Nelson, an ice cream shop owner from Onawa, Iowa. He thought up the idea in the spring of 1920.
  • At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, Richard Blechyden served tea over ice cubes, making the first iced tea.
  • Ice cream cones were invented at the 1904 World’s Fair. An ice cream vendor had run out of cups, and enlisted the help of a nearby waffle vendor. The waffle vendor rolled the waffles into a cone shape to hold the ice cream.
  • The 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair also introduced America to Cotton Candy. Two Tennesseans, William Morrison and John C. Wharton sold the spun sugar, then called “Fairy Floss” in boxes for 25 cents.
  • A sandwich made of corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing, and served on Rye bread, was concocted by Reuben Kulakofsy around 1934 in Omaha, Nebraska. It was named the Reuben sandwich.
  • Quaker Oats Cereal is manufactured in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
  • Aunt Jemima pancake flour was created in 1889 in St. Joseph, Missouri and was the first ready-mix food sold commercially.

These are just some of the creations used today that had their start in the Midwest. There are many more Midwest inventions, firsts, and products not listed here. Proof that yes, it can happen here.


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