Readers Respond

Monday, December 6, 2004

Letters to the Pilot

The door to your town


Your community has several "doors" - some of them are "back-doors", others are "side doors" and still others are the most important and highly visible "front-doors". The "today" phrase for all of those doors to our towns is "community gateways".

The gateways to your community are represented by the first indications that you are arriving into your community on the main roads. It can be the sign that says "Welcome to My Town" or it can be a business development on the edge of town. It can also be commercial development that marks the edge of your community. In some cases it is really hard to tell where the countryside ends and the community begins - it is "fuzzy" and not well defined. In many cases it begins with a bevy or mixture of signs - private, commercial, service clubs, etc. Each one individually is not too bad, but collectively they look unattractive and like a cemetery of signs. It may be an abandoned gas station or building that are run down or maybe even property filled with debris, trash and weeds.

In any event - the entryways to our communities are often unattractive and represent a negative image. It is this first image that becomes locked in our minds. It is how we will forever remember that community. That image may also be the one that discourages business, home owner growth or tourism visitation. It is also the image that is hard (if not impossible) to change once it is locked in.

By nature we are creatures that often make our decisions on "first impressions" - it can be wrong, but nevertheless it is what we do when we meet people or when we visit places as we travel. It is somewhat like meeting a person that looks as though they have just stepped out of a day at the landfill sorting through the garbage - that image will forever lock in your mind as negative of that person and you will keep your distance. You may find out later that the person may in fact have been doing research in the garbage and is a highly respected individual (the first impression tends to remain fixed in our mind). On the other side of the equation is the individual dressed in a suit or a dress that looks as though they just came off the stage of a theater - your impression is positive and you warm up to them rather quickly. We treat people differently based on their appearance - that also holds true with communities.

The point to all of this is that we need to look at the doorways to our community and make them pleasant, attractive, positive and inviting. It is not simply putting up a nice new sign with the town name on it. It means cleaning up areas, getting rid of eye-sores, removing commercial signs, landscaping the approaches to the gateway, picking a landscape theme with certain species of trees, shrubs or flowers that make a positive impression and yes, putting in an attractive and welcoming sign to your town. In some communities this issue is significant enough that a consulting firm or landscape architects are retained to make sure the impact and quality of that first impression is what you want. The old adage that "A picture is worth a thousand words" truly comes into play.

Take the time to look at you "Front Door". How does it rate?

- Gerald F. Schnepf, Director, Keep Iowa Beautiful

Festival of Trees pays off for BVRMC patients


On behalf of the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and the Festival of Trees Advisory Council, we would like to thank all the generous supporters that made the 9th Annual Festival of Trees such a wonderful success!

The area merchants gave quite generously to the silent auction and with providing gorgeous trees and wreaths for our raffle drawing. We received generous funding from many regional individuals and businesses and our volunteers for our event worked very hard to bring the community a fun-filled weekend of activities. With your help, we will be able to give the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center the funds to purchase a new Olympus Video Colonoscope. This equipment purchase is much needed because of the increased volume of colonoscopies being performed daily at the hospital.

There is an increased awareness that colon cancer, when detected early, is a very treatable and curable disease. An additional colonoscope will also assure those having the procedure a decrease in the amount of time they will have to wait and remain without eating or drinking prior to their procedure. As always, one of the main goals at BVRMC is to create overall patient and family satisfaction. Thank you to the many contributors that have ensured our successes this year.

We apologize to the Trimark BV Clinic of Storm Lake for omitting them in our publicity prior to our event.

We would also like to thank those area merchants who contributed so generously with fantastically decorated trees and wreaths.

The following are the winners of the trees and wreaths from each business: Bomgaars, Michelle Grant; Fareway, Maureen Strader; Hoffman's, Barb Argotsinger; Hy-Vee, Josie Ellingson; BVRMC Auxiliary Gift Shop, Jody Neppl; Buena Vista Stationary & Printing, Marilyn Bryant; Sugar Bowl, Lona Stille; Village Boutique, Aurelia, Delores Carlson; B&K Mercantile, Edith Mudge; Bittersweet Floral, Aurelia, Lorene Wells; BVRMC Employees, Pam Milbrandt; Peach Blossom, Stacy DumKrieger; Wel-Life, Alta, Melissa Snyder.

Hy-Vee won in the six foot tree category with the most raffle tickets. BVRMC Auxiliary Gift Shop won in the three foot tree category with the most raffle tickets. Peach Blossom won in the wreath category with the most raffle tickets.

Again, we thank these generous individuals and businesses for their time, talent and contributions of these beautiful holiday trees and wreaths.

- BVRMC Auxiliary / Festival of Trees Advisory Council