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


Football players at a local high school were stealing the practice jerseys, so the coach ordered a set with “Property of Central High School” emblazoned on them. When the thefts continued, he ordered a new batch that had the imprint “Stolen from Central High School.” But the jerseys still kept disappearing. The stealing finally stopped after he changed the wording to “Central High School 4th String.”

Late last week I saw a news story about a high school football coach in Utah that made an extraordinary decision: he suspended nearly every player on the team. Here is the story – Union High School football coach Matt Labrum had grown frustrated with reports of his players skipping class, receiving poor grades and allegedly cyber-bullying a fellow student. Labrum said, “I think the most important thing is that we build character.” After last Friday’s game, he sat his players down in the locker room and told them to turn in their jerseys and equipment. The football season would be over until they earned their way back onto the team. Labrum said, “It was very emotional for the coaches and players.”

What can we learn from this high School football coach in Utah here in Tama County? As we continue to grow and welcome new businesses and families to our county, local officials and community members are constantly challenged by one question – Are we doing everything we can to promote and welcome growth? Or are we resisting change and acting out of our own self-interest (comfort)?

Our housing market analysis has determined that the addition of Iowa Premium Beef will be beneficial in terms of its effect on the housing market. In the case of a residential development it is expected to generate new workers and create a large need for more affordable housing.

The University of Northern Iowa’s Institute of Decision Making asked me several months ago about whether the proposed location of Iowa Premium Beef would be consistent with preserving the rural character of the community. They told me that assessing community perceptions about any new business is often complex and unpredictable as it relates to community values. I answered this question by simply saying – Tama County has very high moral character running through its core – I was born and raised here and that is one thing I know for certain.

I know times change and in recent years there has been a growing push in schools to develop character and character education, based upon a belief that positive character traits can be both taught and learned. Many people today are familiar with the Character Counts! program.  That program has been adopted by a number of schools and communities nationwide and teaches core values which they call “Six Pillars of Character.” Those six particular character values are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

As we gather this Friday to cheer on our local football teams we can all celebrate that Tama County still has its jersey and is still very much on the team.


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