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


Jodi, a 23 year old born and raised in Florida, met and married her husband Brent, a native of Cedar Rapids. They moved to Iowa and she began exploring various job opportunities. After several interviews she landed a position as a kindergarten teacher.

Moving to Iowa to live was Jodi’s first visit to the state. She was amazed how different it was from Florida. She began recording her new experiences in a diary; here are a few excerpts:

8/25 First day of school, kids are great, loving my job!

9/23 School is still good but this fall weather is very cold – I shiver a lot – they say I will adjust. The Florida blood must still be running through my veins.

11/03 I am so excited!!! The first time in my entire life, it’s snowing outside my house! Now an hour later, the snow is still gently falling and a white blanket is beginning to cover the ground. Ecstatic!!! This is amazing!

12/05 The sun melted all our lovely snow. I am so upset. Brent tells me not to worry; we’ll definitely have a white Christmas. He said we’ll have so much snow by the end of winter, that I’ll never want to see snow again. He is crazy…l don’t think that’s possible.

12/12 Good news – snow, lovely snow!  8″ last night, the temperature dropped to -20. The cold makes everything sparkle so. Bad news- got hit by a snowball at recess… my first black eye.

1/06 Ice storm this morning – fell on the ice in the driveway putting down salt. Bruised my backside, can hardly walk. Brent laughed for an hour, which I thought was very cruel. Getting tired of school delays and it being canceled, at this rate we will be in school until July!

2/01 One of my students, Billy, asked for help getting his boots on and I learned quickly why. With me pulling and pushing, the boots still didn’t want to go on. When the second boot was on, I had worked up a sweat. I almost screamed when Billy said, “Ms. Jodi, they’re on the wrong feet.”

I looked down, and sure enough, they were. It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. I took a deep breath and managed to keep my cool as together we worked to get the boots back on – this time on the right feet.

He then announced, “These aren’t my boots.”

I bit down hard on my tongue rather than get right in his face and yell, “Why didn’t you say so?” like I wanted to do. Once again I struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off.

He then said, “They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear them.”

I sat there not knowing if I should laugh or cry. I mustered up the grace to wrestle the boots onto his feet again.

I said, “Now, where are your mittens?”

He said, “I stuffed them in the toes of my boots.”

I believe Jodi’s tale can hold a key to developing a prosperous economic direction here in Tama County. She experienced many new things her 1st year here in Iowa, one being the valuable quality of tolerance (for both weather and stubborn boots). We too must understand that our experiences, even the seemingly negative ones, can provide opportunities for us to grow as people. In order for growth to happen in our county we will need to embrace change and grow our sense of optimism and desire to see a brighter, stronger economic future.


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