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Your vote in city and county elections is the most personal and fundamental expression of our democracy. For one thing, the issues in our local elections are usually closer to our daily lives and dearer to our hearts than the decisions made in Washington, D.C. And the people running for local offices are our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends. Once those people get elected, however, they sometimes end up isolated from the conversational loop.
Sometimes local elected officials become “them” instead of “us.” Or maybe it’s more fun to talk about local government than to have a dialog with elected officials that can help shape decisions and make effective changes. Whatever the reason, we often spend more time talking over local issues with friends at the coffee shop than we do with our city and county officials. Besides inviting the … Read More »
All of us want to live in a growing community with all the amenities—and most of us believe we do. But when we think that everything is great the way it is, we sometimes try to keep our community unchanged. While that’s easy to understand, trying to keep things as they are can inadvertently lead to the loss of the very things we are trying to preserve.
Preventing change is an impossible dream—like wishing your grass would stop growing so you can go fishing instead of mowing your lawn. If the grass is not growing, it’s dying, turning yellow and ruining the looks of your yard. In some ways, a community like ours is equally organic. If the community is not growing, it may be slowly dying. And just as with our grass, if we are not doing the necessary nurturing … Read More »
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced that Dakotas America, LLC has been awarded a $65 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to revitalize low-income and distressed communities nationwide. The award to Dakotas America was part of $3.5 billion in NMTC allocations, with Treasury providing 76 organizations with tax credit allocation authority. The Dakotas America award was one of the largest in this round and the only allocation in South Dakota.
The NMTC program attracts private-sector capital investment in low-income areas to help stimulate economic growth and create jobs. Dakotas America has already placed $190 million in NMTC allocations throughout the United States, from large agri-business developments that serve communities in both Dakotas, to greatly expanded access to dental and health care in Oregon, Michigan and Alabama, to new elementary schools on the Pine Ridge Indian … Read More »
Lots of us remember the classic cartoon character Linus, from the Peanuts television specials, sitting patiently in his pumpkin patch on Halloween waiting for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Instead of going through the traditional Halloween routine of dressing up and trudging door to door to trick or treat, Linus believed that the Great Pumpkin would rise up out of a worthy pumpkin patch and distribute candy to those good boys and girls waiting for him.
While Linus was very sincere, the Great Pumpkin never did appear, and Linus never got in on the sweet rewards of Halloween. Too often, community economic development can look like Linus in the pumpkin patch—patiently waiting for something BIG to happen. The Great Pumpkin might be an out-of-town Big Deal or an exciting New Marketing Strategy or even the latest thing in Community Research … Read More »