Friday, February 27, 2009

4A/4B Corporation Training

Remelle has confirmed a date and time that she will be coming to Goree for training on 4A/4B Sales Tax. It is Monday, March 9, 2009, at 6:00 pm at the Goree Memorial Building. We are planning on eating, so let us know if you have anyone interested in joining us so that we have a head count for the meal. I know that Benjamin is interested, but I do not have Mitzi’s email address. And other Corporations may have new members or may have an interest in a refreshers’ course. All are welcome.

Thanks for your help,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

New Business in Knox County...

Making The Next Major Step Easier . . .

Buying or selling property in or around Goree, Texas? When you've taken one of the most important steps of a lifetime, let Gregg Fix with United Country be your guide to make informed decisions. He is open for business and ready to help.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Goree, Texas

As you may already know, the vote was cast and the decision was made official by the MCISD Board of Directors last night to close the Junior High campus in Goree. I’m sad and a few are sad and mad. But, I also know what it is like to be in the ‘chair of decision’ when all the facts are in and weighed out, even then, things still don’t add up or work out. Whether it be an increase in taxes or utility rates, it is never pleasant and its’ effects are felt across the board.

I will encourage our town, our alumni, our Council and my own heart to trust the leadership of the School Board. And most of all, I will choose to trust the One who holds their hearts in His hand and the One who has the power to direct their hearts as a watercourse wherever He wills. The LORD has proven Himself faithful to me time and time again. Every time He allowed a door to close, He opened another. He never fails. He will bring good out of this bad situation. He has begun a good work in Goree that He will continue until completion.

On behalf of the Going for Greatness in Goree Group, we want the members of the Knox County Visioning Group to know how much it means to us that, first of all, you are disheartened and concerned about the closing of the school campus in Goree. And, second of all, that you are considering the possibilities of developing a future purpose for this structure that will benefit our entire county. We need to be a go-to county or all of our school systems will continue to deteriorate and eventually close. Once again, thanks.

Lord Bless,
Tammie Trainham

Thursday, February 19, 2009

As We Speak...

...a representative from the Texas Rural Innovators Forum is on a plane headed to our Adventure Country. Remelle is on her way to meet his flight. Tomorrow, he will be touring our county and meeting Knox County's innovators. Welcome him!!!

Spectacular Results...

January 29th:

Hey gang, I couldn't wait until we can all get together at a meeting to share some news with you!

I just had to let you know our tourism efforts for Knox County are really paying off! And to say, please, MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW! All hands on deck!

I was, and am, truly convinced that if our Real Rural Tourism Symposium, and the Adventure Trail that we developed from that, had never reached a soul outside Knox County, just changed our own perspectives, opened our own eyes it would be worth every penny, every minute we put in to it.

But WOW, we definitely are getting attention outside our own little realm!

Hopefully, when we get tired or discouraged we'll remember what great results we are seeing locally, and abroad, from one little Adventure Trail Map and a couple of days of hard work and hospitality!

I am so proud of our Knox County Visioning Team, our friends and neighbors who've responded, and your decision to "Sell our Hometown without Selling our Souls". Now its time to reap the rewards, which is actually when the longer, harder work begins, but also the most satisfying...just like harvest when you're farming.

So here's the latest deal resulting from your work and dedication.....
and your belief in our heritage and its' value....

If you remember, April Garner, from the Texas Historical Commission's Austin office, was one of our most enthusiastic guests for the Real Rural Tourism Symposium. We also had Jill Campbell, who is the Regional Coordinator for the region to the East of us, called the Texas Lakes Trail, visit with us last summer.

Knox County made a great impression on them, which they've shared with their associates at the Historical Commission and the folks they work with in the different regions of Texas.


March 12th we will host the Texas Plains Trail Regional Meeting in Knox County, and they are adding a day, either the 11th or 13th to tour...sightsee, eat, shop, sightsee, eat, Knox County, to their usual 1 day agenda. They have also asked us to tell our story as "the program" for their meeting.

By the way, this is the Texas Trail that Knox County is on, but the Director Deborah Sue McDonald has never been here before, also true of most of our neighbors from the North since this trail goes all the way up through the panhandle and west through the big city of Amarillo. So let's knock their socks off!


March 25th, we will do it all again! The Texas Lakes Trail, which ends in Baylor County, will hold their regional meeting in Seymour, and again, even though we are not in their region, the Knox County story will be the meeting's featured program. They are also adding a day of touring to their regular one day meeting agenda, with that day being here in Knox County! This meeting is to be attended not only by our neighbors, the regional partners, but by at least 3 of the other Texas Trail coordinators and staff from Austin. Welcome back April and Jill!

I've promised them we can put together a mini, two or three hour, tour for those who only have that much time, or a whole day and night for those who can come early, stay late. We will also be making all the arrangements for the Texas Plains Trail meeting....they've put themselves in our hands. So check your calendar, dust off your backseats, practice your best story and let's entertain!

Now you might be wondering.....What is she so excited about? This probably won't be more than a dozen or twenty folks and they won't be here very long or spend very much money. Here's the deal people, state agencies who promote tourism need poster children, other communities who want to sell tourism need successful examples... this is marketing at its best and most believable source and you don't pay for the advertising!

Remember a one page ad in a national magazine is about $35,000, in a regional magazine about $9,000, and how many people will actually come to Knox County from that advertisement? After all do you believe what you read in an advertisement? Or do you tend to go where your friends, family and neighbors rave about? When recommended by a real person, whom you trust and who has a reputation with you to uphold, real people believe them. Real people, who might visit us, love us and want to join us another time, or for a lifetime! So, consider that between just these two groups they directly influence the decisions of folks in over half the geographic area of Texas. And, indirectly through their associates, all of Texas! Now that's a real lot of folks!

Here's a challenge.....Hey Dennis, can you get the building done so Pam can sell these folks some fabric? Anybody else got a new enterprise I might not know about? Looking for a date to set as a deadline to get something done? Here it is! Any business owners willing to put together a coupon for $$ off, free drink or a big sale to get our visitors into your store? Any offers for welcome baskets, door prizes or take home, remember us fondly, come back soon trinkets? Any teens interested in the tourist business experience, want to volunteer as a tour guide or ambassador for Knox County? Any of you Knox County supporters who won't be able to help in person, but could contribute towards the costs of hosting these groups or attracting the next one? Any volunteers to help me gather up and put together a packet to mail out to all their members in February enticing them to be sure and make the long drive to come see us in Knox County?

Let's decide, together, not to waste any opportunities this year! It's harvest time!

Recognition Celebration!

Speaking of harvest... I hope each of you gained as much as I did in the huge booster shot of our Celebration! January 10th at the Wooden Nickel in Knox City. I hardly need to write any thing about it as the Knox County News team had such a great time and covered the night in detail. Their story is here on the Blog too, so turn to it for a full account of what you missed if you couldn't join us. Those of us who were there can testify to the adrenaline charge in the room from the beginning of the Visiting Hour, when judging from the noise level alone, folks were having a great time catching up with each others news, getting acquainted with those they didn't know and Wow!ing over the renovation of this old building. Absolutely awe inspiring!

The addition of a stage and fantastic sound system, provided the perfect showcase for our musicians, local college students Matthew Coffman and Keri Beck, joined by the Jones brothers, also college students from over at Paducah. They were a great hit, finally being "discovered" at home, although they are an extremely popular dance band down south in the San Angelo State area and as duos or soloists all have played and sang in just about every Church around. Amazing what talent quietly surrounds us here in Knox County! Since I had no idea what the name of their group, or even which members would be able to make it, just Matthew's assurance they'd play for us, back when we sent out the invitations, we simply billed Five Star Entertainment for the evening, meaning it as an adjective, description only. Playing along as great sports, the kids have adopted the name Five Star Entertainment Less One, as Beck sister Kimberly wasn't home. So the next time you are in need of professional quality country, swing, spiritual, original or dance music remember you first heard Five Star Entertainment Minus One right here at our Celebration! And if you are very lucky you can book them too! Seriously, when they can come home to sing and play they're happy to do it. Call me for Matthew or Brice Jones number!

My favorite part of the night was the Community Showcase, followed by what I still refer to as Steve Pepper's "I Believe" Speech, where he challenged us all to Catch the Vision, while recognizing the accomplishments made in a very short time by those who have, like the Young Guns! Travis and Brenda Floyd sang ”You Lift Me Up" to open our dinner program and it perfectly set the theme for the Community Showcase when the achievements of our communities and the obvious love and enthusiasm of each representative who talked about their hometown, Truscott, Vera, Goree, Munday and Knox City really did LIFT ME UP! I was reminded again of the one big thing that swayed me to come and work with the Knox County Visioning Team, the love and dedication folks here have for our homes and heritage! Thank you all!

I would be remiss not to tell you though that the folks sitting around me seemed most impressed with their delicious steak dinners and the yummy before dinner treats, and saw everything else as welcome extras! Seems the old adage about food being the way to a man's heart is still true!

Positive Hometown Ties

While we are on the subjects of tourism, entertainment, and serving as an ambassador for Knox County.... Did you know that our own Tibb Burnet is a headliner for the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering at Alpine next month? He will be joining the likes of our friends Andy Wilkinson and Chuck Milner, and famous Texans like Red Steagall, who preserve our heritage of cowboy music and stories. What an honor for Tibb! And, what a blessing it is for us to have such an ambassador for Knox County. Tibb spoke to our high school students last spring at Youth Engagement Day about all the places he loves in Knox County and why he choose them over New York where he has lived and the European capitals he has visited. They were mesmerized and one of my favorite stories of our having an impact sprang from his sharing with them. Up in the summer I was getting a Coke at Penman's when the young man waiting on me asked if I “weren’t that lady who did the Youth Thing at the high school". Tickled that he would even mention it, I responded positively and he went on to tell me that it was pretty good. His favorite part was learning about the Brine Lake over at Truscott. He'd never been there so he loaded up a couple of friends and went over to watch the sunset and check it out one evening. "Now", he said, "We go there all the time, at least once a week this summer, and usually there's three or four car loads. It's cool to have a place like that we can go to here in Knox County." One more positive tie to his hometown! Thanks Tibb!

Positive hometown ties? Coming up!

Yes! You Can!

Yes! You Can!

Our KCVC Yes! You Can! Series hit a little delay this week due to the icy roads and school schedules being shortened. But the moisture and signal that, maybe, we are returning to more normal weather was well worth it. We'll be right back on schedule in a few days, presenting the introduction at all three high schools to our semester long program Yes! You Can! The series of workshops, along with our intern, mentor and part time job partnerships encourages students to Dream Big! Start here! Start now! and offers our support and the tools they need to define their dreams, accomplish those dreams and with our encouragement know they can bring all those dreams right back home where we will continue to love, encourage and support them! The series builds toward the end of school highlight, our Youth Entrepreneurship Fair, a cash prize motivated contest, to define a dream business idea you believe will work in Knox County, develop a business plan and financing package to present along with a model to a group of judges and the public. Lorrie Coop has made this series possible by offering to align her Texas AgriLife Extension programs with ours and working with me to coordinate and deliver these programs through our business, entity and school partners! Please, please let her know how much you appreciate her!

Programs will include:

  • YES! YOU CAN!: February 11th

Introducing our philosophy that You Can Do Anything you Dream and You Can Do it Here!

  • Start With Who You Are, Start Where You Are, Start Now: February 19th

Offering insights into your individual personality type, and your strengths, as well as those things you just hate or aren't good at and using those to help you get to the next steps.

  • DEVELOP, DEFINE and DO: February 11th, Program placements by March 1

Define Your Dream; Explore the Possibilities. Includes participating in our Internship, Mentorship, and Part-time Job Partnerships with County businesses and entities.

  • Discover the Pathway: March 19th

Career & Professional Opportunities, Educational & Training Resources Requirements: an opportunity to visit with representatives of professions, businesses, colleges and technical training schools.

  • Dedicate To Your Dream: April 23rd

Making choices for education and training; applying, funding, going; Steps for making my Dream Come True.

  • Do it!: March, April, May

Individualized help to define, develop and demonstrate their Dream Business at the Youth Entrepreneurship Fair.

  • YOUTH ENTREPRENEURSHIP FAIR: Schools May 13th & 14th County May 15th

We can only succeed with this dream for our youth if you volunteer to help as a mentor, with an internship or part time job or in delivering the programs.

Please contact me now!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hot off the press!

Exciting news for all of us who have caught the vision and understand that insuring sustainability (the good life!) for our rural communities requires a holistic, partnership approach including assessment, planning, developing new partnerships and new community leaders, engaging our youth and bringing them home to a profitable, high quality future, supporting our local entrepreneurs and giving our folks the opportunity to contribute to their own hometowns..........its finally happening, its real and its now.

The Texas legislature has before it right now a bill authored by Senator Lucio which would support RURAL communities, through the Texas Rural Development Fund, in their efforts to help themselves. The exciting thing about this bill is that it includes all parts of the recipe! And is exclusively, specifically RURAL with MONEY. A big bonus here is that both ORCA and TDA have also included funding in their new budgets to dovetail with this Fund and offer additional $$$$ and programs for RURAL communities engaged in this cooperative, innovative, dynamic partnership approach to community and economic development.

I am so proud to be working with folks like you who are committed to preserving our heritage and our hometowns! I want to encourage you to take one more step, let's not let this opportunity slip away from any lack of support or action on our part! The text of the bill outline and a press release follow this message. Read it over and if you believe, as I do, that this is a positive program for rural Texas, call, write or e-mail your Texas Senator and Congressman and urge them to vote for the bill. And then, be sure to share it with your own friends, family and professional contacts and ask them to do the same. Remember this bill benefits rural Texans only, so it is up to us to generate the support needed for it in a public body whose members primarily represent urban constituents. We need their help! Contact and share, two things we must do if we want this support!

Thank you, sincerely,

Remelle Farrar

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Doris Sanchez
Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 Communications Director, 512-463-0385
Sen. Lucio Proposes Bill Again to Establish Texas Rural Development Fund
(Two Pages Total)

Austin, TX --Continuing last legislative session's efforts to revitalize rural Texas and raise its national standing, International Relations and Trade Committee (IRT) Chairman Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. again filed a bill today to establish the Texas Rural Development Fund.

Last session, in an attempt to address Texas ’ standing in the nation in terms of opportunities for non-metropolitan regions, Chairman Lucio authored Senate Bill 1485 to incorporate the recommendations by the IRT Committee in its 79th Legislative Interim Report. SB 1485 would have established the Texas Rural Development Fund and provided the means to afford rural Texas greater support in their effort to comprehensively revitalize their communities. Though the bill sailed through the Senate, it could not pass out of the House of Representatives due to procedural deadlines that stalled the legislation.

"SB 684 this session is warranted because even though the state has the largest rural population nationally, approximately 3.6 million people, it has fallen behind other states in terms of resources and programs," said Sen. Lucio. "The Rural Development Fund is a comprehensive policy that will revitalize non-metropolitan Texas ."

Unlike Texas , other states like Utah , Louisiana and Nebraska have established specific funds/programs that are focused on the development of rural regions. Through these funds, other states provide greater resources and provide more of a comprehensive approach to development for their rural regions than Texas .

Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) Executive Director Charlie Stone said, "It is projected that by 2052, based on its population, the wealth transfer of rural Texas is projected to be nearly $400 billion. If the state does not move to try to recapture this fleeing resource from rural Texas, the outflow of wealth from Texas’ rural communities will negatively impact those communities' potential for growth.”

ORCA also reported that if policies like those of retaining fleeing resources–such as community foundations–are implemented, they will assist rural communities to retain, rather than lose, the resources.

Mr. Stone further explained that “legislation of this type would certainly provide ORCA with the toolkit needed to address long standing challenges facing rural and border communities and help those communities to increase their competitiveness.”

Note: IRT Committee Director Dan Esparza handles this issue for Sen. Lucio and can be reached at 512-463-0385.
(See Bill Highlights Below)

The following are key elements of Senate Bill 684:

1) The Rural Capacity and Leadership Enhancement Program would assist rural leaders in developing and refining the skills needed to effectively and efficiently lead their communities of less than 10,000 in population. Per 2000 U.S. Census, 1,005 of Texas’ 1,192 incorporated places have fewer than 10,000 persons.

2) The Rural Community Asset Study Matching Grant Program would issue grants (with a matching requirement) to allow rural Texans to identify community assets, with the goal of leveraging community strengths to enhance community and economic development.

3) The Rural Area Regional Planning and Implementation Matching Grant Program would issue grants (with a matching requirement) for planning and implementation of regionally-identified objectives. Regions would be self-identified by participants, but program requirements would encourage cross-sector, multi-city and multi-county planning.

4) The Texas Rural Youth Corps Program would develop the next generation of rural leaders by involving youth in decisions that shape their rural communities. The program would work with local organizations to empower youth to improve their lives and the lives of others in their community through public service. Preference for projects that provide youth ages 12 to 18 with an opportunity to earn scholarship awards for community service.

5) The Rural Wealth Creation and Retention Program would assist rural communities in developing community foundations to decrease long-term reliance on state and federal resources. The program would provide supportive services including financial management, strategic development, and education training. For example, the Nebraska Community Foundation has distributed $65 million to community betterment projects of its affiliated funds since 1993 and has nearly $37.2 million in total assets under management.

6) The Rural Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Program would assist microenterprises, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in rural areas of Texas through the provision of loans for job creation and retention.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Dream Big

A Note From THC

Dear Knox County Visioning Team,

I had the pleasure of meeting with Remelle this week in Austin and she told me about a few of the many exciting projects you all are engaged in - the E-Dreams program for the youth, wow; the new Adventure Country ad campaign, very compelling! You all have become an innovative model in community/tourism development that many others in Texas will want to learn more about.

I think several of the Heritage Tourism staff and regional partners will get to be in your neighborhood this March for the Texas Heritage Lakes Trail board meeting. We hope to visit all of Knox County again and see first hand what you are doing.

A special thanks to the Peppers for sending me a very lovely magnet with images of the tractor and mural art that is part of Knox City's identity. Don't you just love the power of art to inspire and provoke emotional connections to place and people. You guys have it going on and I am proud to know you all!

April Garner
Heritage Tourism
Texas Historical Commission