Monday, October 26, 2009

Freda Dammann Wins Individual Friend of Tourism Award

Freda Dammann, an ordinary person making extraordinary things happen in Iowa tourism was recognized at the 2009 Iowa Tourism Conference in Tama for her efforts. Freda has been a devoted volunteer for the Manning Hausbarn/Heritage Park since 1989 and named as the Director in 2008. In Manning she has helped coordinate the RAGBRAI visit, Kinderfest, Wiehnachtsfest and Maize Daze as well as leading the force in Manning to become a Main Street Community. Her volunteer efforts don't stop in Manning. She has been very active in Western Iowa Tourism Region since 1989, including holding every office the last five years, including president. She has donated thousands of hours over the years for local, region and state tourism and was vital in creating opportunity and enthusiasm for tourism in Iowa. Congratulations Freda! and thank you for all you do for Carroll County tourism.

Photo(from left): Kathy Dirks, past president of the Travel Federation of Iowa (TFI); Freda Dammann; Tim Waddell, Community Development Division Administrator from the Iowa Department of Economic Development; Kristie Wetjen, vice-president of TFI.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Economic Development Professionals to Governor Culver: Allow Tax Credit Programs to Work

Many thanks to Iowa Governor Chet Culver for taking the time to speak at the Professional Developers of Iowa Annual Meeting and Fall Conference last week in West Des Moines. The Governor was candid about budget cuts, flood relief, and when asked, about Iowa’s tax credit programs. “We’re not going to over-react on tax credits,” said the Governor, when asked to stand with PDI to keep the programs going, “we will not tolerate bad actors abusing our incentives”(that very good, if unintentional play on words drew a few titters from the crowd). He was clear to the group of Iowa’s economic development leaders. He would be working to improve controls in administration of tax credit programs, “clawback” on past recipients if appropriate, but not change tax credit programs for film, job creation, historic preservation and more to grow Iowa’s economy.

There are those who want to eliminate tax credit programs in Iowa. Some think it would help save the budget. The fact is that tax credits are used to spur growth. A decrease in revenue to the state would be the result of fewer tax credits, not less cost. Still, there is a lot of support for Iowa’s tax credit programs to fuel growth in a sagging economy. Not the least of which is a guest editorial in the October 16 edition of The Des Moines Register by Ed Wallace, President of Iowa Taxpayers Association. Read it here. Decision makers should follow Governor Culver's lead. Don't "throw the baby out with the tax credits" in Iowa.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Burns Boosts Rural Iowa

If you haven't noticed, Doug Burns of the Daily Times Herald in Carroll is making a name for himself while keeping rural communities like Carroll on the map. Recently Doug was a guest on NPR's "On Point" radio show giving his view on the vitality of rural america, particularly rural Western Iowa. Listen to the interview here. He also is a contributer to City View in Des Moines and The Daily Yonder on the web.

The focus of the NPR segment was a new book, "Hollowing Out the Middle, The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America", by Patrick J. Carr and Maria J. Kefalas. This couple spent some time in an Iowa community of 2,000 in order to get a feel for what life is like there (fictionally named "Ellis"). I'm reading the book now, interested in the contrast and comparison to another popular book about the vitality of the midwest, "Caught in the Middle" by William Farnsworth. (check your Chamber member bookstore for these books).

Your thoughts about the vitality of rual western Iowa is welcome. Just click to comment on this post!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jim Kerwin Knew Carroll

"If you're not proud of your town, who the hell's going to be?"

... Jim Kerwin, as quoted in this Daily Times Herald article,

"Kerwin, Carroll's scribe, remembered"

He was proud of his town.

Jim Kerwin passed last week. Those who knew him speak of his love and affection for Carroll. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim one of my first week's in town nearly nine years ago. He showed me "the baseball" and I've been in awe ever since. I learned about the history of Carroll from his three books about the community. They are proudly displayed in my office, each with a personal note from Jim proclaiming how he enjoyed working with the Chamber.

He will be missed. His legacy as a community booster will live on in the lives of those he inspired to make Carroll the best it can be. In Jim's words written inside the cover of our copy of Postcards from Carroll, "All of us working together produce results. Enjoy the postcards."

We will.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Carroll Band Day Parade

At 10:30 AM, Saturday, October 3, the Carroll Band Day Parade, sponsored by the Carroll Chamber of Commerce, began it's march down N Adams Street with spectators lining the streets enjoying its sights and sounds. Miss Daleney Teske, Little Miss You Can Do It, was honored as the 2009 Parade Marshal. Following the parade, the public enjoyed field presentations at the Carroll Stadium performed by Carroll High School and Jefferson-Scranton High School Bands.
Trophies were then awarded to the following: High School: Class 3A: 1st place - Jefferson-Scranton, 2nd place - Carroll High; Class 2A: 1st place - Roland-Story, 2nd place - East Sac County, 3rd place - Kuemper Catholic; Class 1A: 1st place - Glidden-Ralston, 2nd place - Ar-We-Va. Middle School: Class 3A: 1st place - Jefferson-Scranton, 2nd place - Perry, 3rd place - Boone; Class 2A: 1st place - Ogden, 2nd place - East Sac County, 3rd place - Audubon. Best drum major: Roland-Story High School, Best color guard: Roland-Story High School and Best baton twirler: Krystal Schulte of Carroll High School, Best overall band performance and winner of the traveling trophy: Roland-Story High School.

Chart of the Week

Carroll 2008 Holiday Sales Increase Beats State Average

The Iowa Department of Revenue (IDR) released retail sales for the quarter ending December 31, 2008. This Chart of the Week pulls out Carroll and the ten counties in Iowa whose county seat town's population is closest to Carroll (click HERE to enlarge the chart). IDR's reporting lags about nine months, but is the most current data available on a statewide basis.

City of Carroll's retail sales totaled $56.8 million in the quarter vs. $54.8 million in the same period of 2007. This 3.2% increase is considerably better than the state of Iowa's .2% decrease on sales of $8.88 billion vs. $8.89 billion in 2007.

Of the ten comparably sized communities in Iowa, Carroll's increase of 3.2% ranks 6th. Three communites had decreases. Follow this link to view sales tax reports at the IDR's website.