When it came time to turn the work of Saturday's summit over to
participants, guest speaker and moderator John Cox challenged: "What
would you like to get out of the next few hours?"
was to come out of the meeting unified, with a plan of action.
Cox affirmed that unity was vital to success, saying that the
major city of any county is its heart, and the heart needs to be
healthy if the entire county is to thrive.
His next observation was that to be successful they had to
communicate well, and there had to be trust in the group.
As Cox was speaking about trust, Alderwoman Marty Neitzel raised
her hand. As she offered her view, many heads in the room were
bobbing up and down, agreeing that she was making a good point about
an issue that did indeed need to be addressed.
Neitzel said: "You're talking about trust and I believe in that
wholeheartedly, and I think that is the No. 1 thing that is wrong
with this town, is trust."
She went on to say: "We have economic development that has things
going on, chamber will have things going on, and city will have
things going on. I believe that one person out of all those areas
should know everything that is going on. There are times when we
have (new) businesses in Lincoln and the city council is the last to
know. Trust is a key in this town, and we go along with a mindset of
'NO trust,' and we need to change that mindset."
Cox quickly added to Neitzel's comments as he wrote out the word
trust, then drew a heart around the center letters, saying, "At the
heart of TRUST is US. That is one thing that a large group like this
can do in a working setting, is develop that trust."
County board chair Terry Carlton then moved the question on to
the true mindset of the county. "Do we really want to change, and
who do we think that we are (now)?" he asked. "Do we think we're a
small bedroom community, the center of an agriculture community, and
do we really want to change, and what will that change be?"
Carlton concluded his remarks by saying that the community needs
to "get over our old self and say for Lincoln and Logan County, for
our future, for our children: What do we really want to become?"
Keith Ray, president of Lincoln Christian University, added some
thoughts on the key word "mindset."
Ray had earlier said that he had been in Lincoln 20 years, then
left for a period and now has returned. Having last lived in the
Dallas, Texas, area, he has noticed that the mindset of the Midwest
is quite different from other areas of the country.
This was something Ray has always wanted to try to understand,
and he finally found some answers in a book entitled "Caught in the
Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism," by Richard
[to top of second column]
Ray said: "It is the most amazing analysis of the Midwestern
mindset, such as anti-change, anti-new, anti-entrepreneurial, would
rather go hunting than solve problems."
Though many chuckled at the reference to hunting, the point also
seemed to be hitting the mark. Ray, still commenting on the book,
continued: "It is broad-sweeping, but the most penetrating analysis
I've ever seen. He analyzes the dismal situation in the Midwest and
then he proposes some of the strengths of the Midwest. He captivated
the Midwestern mindset."
Cox later said that if the core group would get ahold of this
book and perhaps have someone from one of the colleges guide them
through it, it could prove to be a valuable asset to them.
In the end Ray volunteered to purchase 20 copies of the book
"Caught in the Middle" for the group, and the mayor said that any
over 20 he would purchase for the group himself.
LDN's next segment will address the group's answers to the
question, "What are our strengths?"
[By NILA SMITH]
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