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Embed America: The fading of small towns
Gary Person, 41, cooks at the Chatterbox Cafe in Lone Rock Iowa, a town struggling to keep young people. Person says he'd leave if he could find other work.
July 21st, 2012
08:30 AM ET

Embed America: The fading of small towns

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Lone Rock, Iowa (CNN) – The American small town, the inspiration for singers and playwrights and a cornerstone of the American identity, is in danger. Across the country, rural populations are dropping and the average age of their residents is rising.

Rita Schroeder, a resident of Lone Rock, Iowa says:

[3:20] "I’m scared to even think about it because as we lose one place after another it almost makes us feel like we’re a little dying town. But we don’t want to think that."

For this story, Embed America focused on a standout place: Lone Rock, Iowa. Many of the 146 residents are close-knit neighbors. They have joined forces to harvest a sick farmer’s field and to cook, clean and operate the Chatterbox Café when its owner was ill. They’ve worked hard to keep their community alive. But according to the U.S. Census, the average age in Lone Rock has shot up to nearly 57 years old. There are few young people to keep up the work.

[3:39] Jerry Thompson, mayor of Lone Rock: “Our volunteer force is dwindling. I think the youngest person on my ambulance crew is 45. And that’s not real young. There’s nothing to keep young people here.”

In Iowa, the problem is made more complicated for some 500 towns, which the state Department of Natural Resources says are not in compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act. The towns’ septic tanks are leaking into the ground water. To fix the issue, hundreds of towns which are already struggling to survive now face the daunting prospect of financing new sewer systems that can cost a few million dollars a shot.

Lone Rock plans to take out a $600,000 loan to pay for the sewage system it needs. That will cost each house about $40 or $50 a month, something that may be tough for the many senior citizens living off social security in town.

All this has residents questioning the hand of government: feeling that the government is not promoting new jobs in rural areas and at the same time is requiring those areas to put in new, costly infrastructure.

You can see all our Embed America coverage here. And track the team's progress on our Embed America map.

soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Linda

    Thank you CNN and Lisa and Emma for choosing our little town for one of your visits. We enjoyed having you here.

    July 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda

    Economy has a lot to do with the article since we are talking about small town America dying off!!

    July 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul Bremer

    Grew up in a town of 250 in Nebraska with agriculture economy and some industry. Live in a town of 6000 in Nebraska. I have a friend who is a retired banker who has seen a lot of change in 50 years of banking. I discussed the death of small towns with him. He stated a lot it has to do with consolidation. The average farm used to be 160 acres. Now a small farm is 2000. So now you only have on instead of ten farmers to support local business. That will continue to decline. Walmart came to town and had their employees walk the isles of mom and pops business and mark their prices a few cents lower. Walmart wants to be a one stop shop. Think about it . They are a drug store,liquor store, grocery store, shoe store , clothing store, green house nursery, electronics store , vision store, hardware store, in some a beauty salon, and they want to move into banking so you can deposit your check there and then spend it all there. Plus with their direct connection to China and their buying power they will continue to grow. My banker also said at one time a business on the square could support a family , send two kids to college and have money left over. Now our town square has a couple law firms, two banks, hang on a thread auto dealership, a used clothing store, couple of hair salons. Most of the others are gone. Forgot to mention we have three pharmacies. There is money in drugs , both legal and illegal. More in legal. Also a combination of other changes. Live close to where Vice Grip locking pliers were made. Irwin tools bought the original family out but promised to keep the business in that small town. Nothing in writing . I believe 400 jobs . About two years later they closed the factory and moved it to China. Now if you think this only happens in small towns you are mistaken . Many of our factories move to China. The labor (slave or not ) is cheap. I talked to a man who is in manufacturing. He told me that if I show him anything made in the USA he can have it made overseas for about 20% of USA manufacturing costs. He also stated that he can ship a sea container from China to a Gulf Port or the same cost it takes to get it from the gulf port to a Midwest retail store. You can fit a lot of widgets in a seatainer at penneys on the dollar. For a young person there are no opportunities other than a few ag related. Not hundreds, just a few. Small towns in the area have provided tax incentives for manufacturing which worked until the incentive expired and then they pulled out. Also due to the strong lobbying power of big business they pretty much control all the politicians and decision making. Too much corruption but thats another story.

    July 23, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. disagreement

    Young people are leaving small towns... good. Turn all the small towns into waterparks or something then maybe we will return.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Alex in NJ

    Personally, I don't care much for small towns but I also don't look down on the people there or turn my nose up at them. What I have realized though is that people on Left are some of the most hateful, arrogant and hypocritical people in this country. The bigotry and pure hate that comes out of American Democrats is astonishing. You people just blindly hate anyone who is different than you and then you have the nerve to preach tolerance? You've got to be kidding me. Seriously, I don't want to hear another word about tolerance out of anyone on the Left until you all start practicing what you preach.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • DC Don Dada

      That was a pretty hateful rant... Maybe you need to redirect that energy at yourself. I don't claim any political affiliation.

      July 23, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. xyzebra

    I wonder how "Mayberry friendly" this town is to people of color, immigrants and gays. Their close-minded ways may be what's causing them to die off.

    July 23, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I totally agree and was thinking the same thing. If "small towns" would stop treating "different people" like they are unwanted, then small towns might actually be doing a little better.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
      • Small town

        I live in Lone Rock and We do not treat anyone different. I'm tired of people sitting there judging people without knowing the truth. The reason that small towns are dying is because there are no jobs to keep the young people here. Please stop assuming that a mostly white small communities are prejudice.

        July 24, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Rametag

      I'm willing to bet you know nothing about this town. I live thousands of miles away and don't have any first-hand knowledge of Lone Rock, but I do know enough not to project a personal political agenda on people you don't know. Why not say that the town is declining because of its crime rate, or bad schools. or gun ownership, or loud music, bad television reception, or even the inability to find good Sushi. It COULD be anything. Including reasons that are much more likely: (1) a world-wide trend of migration away from rural areas and small towns; (2) the decline of U.S. domestic manufacturing (and jobs), especially small-scale operations in rural areas; (3) Increased lifestyle expectations of younger generations.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
      • bordeauxe

        Thanks for that. We went to the town to check out how things are going there and we appreciate the thoughtful debate on what's happening in small towns. Thanks for your contribution.

        July 24, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobbi P

      So let me see if I understand this: You hate small-town people because they judge people without really knowing them? Do you not see a problem with this? I have lived in small towns my entire life and have not encountered the level of prejudice you are talking about. I have lived next door to minorities, my small-town bother-in-law is gay, and the longest-standing member of my public-library board is Jewish.
      Wasn't it the people of New York City who threw a massive fit about the buidling of a mosque?

      July 23, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • smalltowngirl

      I am from a small town in the midwest. We have some african-american and hispanic citizens. Are all welcome. No one is treated like an outsider. Your perception of small town America is from the 1960's and 1970's. Small towns have overcome many prejudices and have moved on. You should too.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Playdoh

      Interesting discussion by a lot of folks who are pretty narrow minded and stuck on stereotypes. I am well educated, a liberal, my husband and I have been gainfully employed for 25 years, and we live in a small town in Iowa. Our cost of living in peanuts compared to what our siblings pay to live in Chicago. Our 3 kids are getting excellent educations at our local schools and public universities. People here are like people anywhere else. (yes we have lived in Chicago and other metro areas) Most are generous, some are selfish. Some are gossipy, most are not. Being rude and showing poor manners is still considered disgraceful. True, we don't have all the cultural opportunities big city folks have, but a drive to a city is not a big deal. And our citizens come in various shades from fish belly white to velvety midnight. Funny thing is when we gather at church, at a ballgame, at a school concert, at a backyard cookout, or at a city celebration, nobody really seems to notice. Maybe that's a big city thing.

      July 23, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I live in Lone Rock and we are open to anyone who wants to live in our town. Why don't you come and see for yourself before you decide that we are close-minded!!!!

      July 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Josh

    I use to live in a such a small town.

    We were forced to build a sewer plant at a cost of few million dollars. Each homeowner had to pay about $1,000 a year toward that sewer plant bond (or loan).

    Now, a few years later, the EPA tells us that the new sewer plant is wrong. That we need to scrap it, and build a new one. A new sewer plant would cost a few million dollars.

    The homeowners still have to pay $1,000 a year in taxes on the old sewer plant, and add onto that, another $1,400 a year in taxes for the new sewer plant. A total of $2,400 a year in taxes, and that's on top of our regular town, county, and school taxes.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • bordeauxe

      Josh, thanks for writing. Where do you live?

      July 23, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jrod

    Quick, someone find a way to blame Obama or the evil immigrants

    July 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. shootinatsomefood

    Yep, sure thing, small town living is great, if that small town happens to be Marco Island or Aspen.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. shootinatsomefood

    Yes, lets take a minute to solemnly remember where our food comes from.

    Apples from Hungary, Oranges from Mexico, Salmon from Chile, Lamb from Australia, Coffee from Columbia, Beef from Brazil, Clams from China.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • jamest297

      Do you have a point. If small town life is so appealing and charming, then folks should be flocking there. The fact on the face of it is that small towns don't appeal. SO PLEASE Mr. Obama, do not try to rationalize sending them more of our money for broadband or anything else.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. hannah1

    No one cares if "small towns" disappear off the face of the earth except the 10 people who still live in them. Everyone shares the same DNA, and IQ, and there's only two names on the mailboxes. We wanna KEEP this why??

    July 23, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. mt

    "....who are you to tell me I need to live in a damn noisy city full of rude impatient people..."

    Ah yes – and people in small towns aren't provincial, nosey, small minded, judgmental, xenophobic, etc.

    July 23, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • hannah1

      No to mention inbred.............

      July 23, 2012 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Charlie

    Big bored govt can control you more easily if you live in the city. End of story.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. MightyMoo

    Small towns will have to sell themselves more if they want to survive. That means either getting investments from the government or private sector to boost peoples earning potential. People need good paying jobs in order to get a place to live these days otherwise they end up being stuck living with their parents depending on how bad things get. Bigger cities offer a better chance at making it then small towns do with more jobs and better education. The more you make the easier it is to buy a home so you need to appeal to the young people economically. Small town charm doesn't cut it if they can't get a decent job and an affordable place to live.

    July 23, 2012 at 6:20 am | Report abuse |
    • jamest297

      Well, forget the idea of investing my money (taxes) to get more people to live in small towns. If they want to live there, let 'em live there. Not everyone else's problem if the towns don't appeal to anyone.

      July 23, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. toktu

    Wow! So many points of views from lots of angles. All cities started out as small towns, they found a way to grow by one means or another, Sometimes their own doing and sometimes just by luck or government. Location location location had lots to do with growth. Small towns in mountain had mining and if they had good ski areas they grew. Large rivers mostly if they had 3 really took off. Or good places for ports. Towns grew into cities and swalled up farmland and small towns near by. We need the cities and we need the small farming towns or mining towns. the cities wont survive without the small farming towns. Where would they get there food? But small towns can survive without the city. It does not matter whether y ou live in a city or small town, you will have your bigots, your elitist rich and poor.What matters is how you want your town to be and how hard you are willing to make it that way. I lived all over being a military brat. And 1 town that comes to mind had a population of 56. The mine moved out for better resorces and most of the ppl left. but the town survived by turning the quarry into one of the best fishing holes in the state.ALso lived in a good sized town that litterally died overnight cause of a coal fire that still rages to this day. There are lots of ppl who would love to settle in a small town and get away from the crime of big cities. If the town has availible housesing then advertise it in a big cities paper. Ppl with money will come. you dont need cable or phone lines to get high speed internet. There are satilite companies that can do the same and at time a whole lot better. Turn an area into camp grounds or maybe into a Renaissance fair. Tell ppl you've spotted alien ships flying over head several night in a row. Change what type of crops you grow into a heavy demand export crop. Check with a geologist and see if there id gold or silver or natural gas or oil.( that will bring in big companies and lots of ppl. And then the government will give a grant to build a septic system.) Think something will pop up.

    July 23, 2012 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  16. bordeauxe

    Loving all the stories about people's experiences and childhoods. Thanks for reading/listening and weighing in. For those who think something is lost from American social fabric when small towns fade or die, what do you think it is exactly that is lost? Is it a feeling? Something more concrete?

    July 23, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  17. Wesley

    The same small town mentioned here that is looking for something that won't happen. They are concerned that the "hand of government" is requiring a new sewer system...but isn't promoting jobs? I simply don't buy into this at all.

    Go ahead and let your septic systems ruin your drinking water...and then the small town will WANT government to step in and assist in paying for...or pay for the whole new system. They will beg the government to fix THEIR problems...because the water table is bad. They will beg the government to fix THEIR septic problem...by installing that sewer system.

    Little towns...I am from one...do nothing to make living their attractive. They tend to be bigoted...I am gay...they tend to get into everyone's personal business...local church...they do not have adequate retail/grocery stores to facilitate anything I would consider normal. You can not have a city without the youth. You have to entice the youth!

    What kind of jobs would you put into a small town in Iowa, or anywhere else? Railroad lines were torn up by their owners...because they no longer could make money in the fields. Interstates run in almost straight lines between major cities...so commerce stays focused in those corridors.

    Conservative life views play a part in this narrative. Young people...even the ones who grew up in small town USA...want to explore and be something more than their past. Young people are much more accepting of the social views of the year 2012. Young people do not want to stay under the thumb of their small towns.

    Give us something to stay for...give us a normal modern life.

    July 23, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      "Stay under the thumb of their small towns". Wesley, you gotta be kidding. In EVERY way I can think of, small towns are better than large cities. In small towns, the cops KNOW everybody & are much less likely to "bust heads". In small towns the "government" is much less likely to tell you where you can smoke, what you can eat, how you can act, short of REALLY rude behavior. Big brother doesn't watch your every move. Small towns are fading away & that is a SAD thing. Big cities equal big crime, big pollution, big brother. Small towns equal lower crime rates, knowing your neighbors, outdoor activities, slower lifestyles & better lives. I've lived both. No comparison.

      July 23, 2012 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  18. Eric

    Think, for a moment, about where your food is grown...

    July 23, 2012 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ab77

      Mexico? China? 🙂

      July 23, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  19. Ted Ward

    Big cities are powerful,rich and seductive. Small towns are quiet, secure and boring. Big cities have an energy that is intoxicating and irresistible. If you want to live in a culturally rich town and have an apartment the size of a closet for the price of a nice house in a small town and no schools you'd want to send your kids to, then knock yourself out. Otherwise, do a few years after college in the big city, then buy a house in the burbs or country and lve the life. You can always hop a train, plane or car to the City and not have to pay the taxes to sustain corruption and dysfunctional schools and government. The internet makes the city an option but not a necessity.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ILiveInNYCAndHaveAGreatViewFromMyApartment

      I agree. Make a decent living by studying hard and working hard. If you want to live in a large city, in a large apartment with a great view, surrounded by literature, architecture, history, interesting people and challenged every day, you're going to have to study hard, work hard, and pick a career that is an asset to a 21st century economy. Otherwise, declare yourself dead now, and buy a house in the burbs or country.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jarrod

        It's great that you are happy where you live. It's a shame you chose to express this by disparaging large and vital contingent of our society. All you need is a library card to be surrounded by literature, the history of rural America runs as deep, if not deeper than the country itself, and if you think intriguing people only exist in the cities...well then, you need to get out more often.

        Your comment drips of arrogance and ignorance, which does nothing to advance this discussion or the critical relationship between urban and rural in this country.

        July 23, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
        • RD

          Jarrod, I grew up outside a small town. It had a "library" open 3 afternoons a week run by the oldest active widow in town. My family had more books than the library. But since we lived outside the city limits we had to pay for a library card. Instead we drove 30 miles on gravel roads to a larger city and paid for a library card there. Most really small towns don't have a library unfortunately. I'm still a country boy at heart even though I moved to a "big" city of 25,000.But I agree with your general view–a rich life can be lived almost anywhere in the USA–a person just has to be active, not passive, in what they do.

          July 23, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
      • smb04d

        It's great that you are happy where you live. It's a shame you chose to express this by disparaging large and vital contingent of our society. All you need is a library card to be surrounded by literature, the history of rural America runs as deep, if not deeper than the country itself, and if you think intriguing people only exist in the cities...well then, you need to get out more often.

        Your comment drips of arrogance and ignorance, which does nothing to advance this discussion or the critical relationship between urban and rural in this country

        July 23, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Jay

        Surrounded by literature lol.

        July 23, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      How does one grow an economy of 146 people? If each family has 2 kids and 25% are child bearing age then in order for them to stay and have a job, the local economy must have real growth of 1.0% per year (25 yrs per generation). If this amount of real growth doesn't happen the kids must leave to find work. This assumes everyone's standard of living doesn't go up. If real growth is less than 1.0% then the children must leave, the population ages, growth slows and the small town will slowly fade away. This process has been going on in the US for at least 100yrs. The numbers don't lie. I wish it were not so. It saddens me greatly.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
      • bordeauxe

        You are crunching the numbers, friend! Tell me, what do you do for a living and why does it sadden you that small towns struggle? Thanks also for reading/listening. We, Lisa and I, appreciate it.

        July 23, 2012 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  20. Juan

    Living in these small towns makes no sense unless you are a farmer that makes great money and can support yourself and your family. Why would you want to live in a town with very limited opportunities for education and career growth. It's like you have nothing to look forward to. Nothing to plan the future for.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ig

      The education in small towns isn't bad, actually most students graduate and with the internet they are getting more options for education. There is less problems with a student falling through the cracks due to the teachers knowing all the students.

      July 23, 2012 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Miriam

      Most family farms don't make great money.

      July 23, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  21. jmwsl

    I grew up in a small farming community in Colorado in the 60s. We didn't have a lot of social activites but sports were everything. Everyone participated in them and when we made it to the state tournaments in basketball in 1960, 1966 and 1971 the entire town showed up. The stores (what few we had locked up) and everyone went to Denver to watch the team play. In a small town everyone helps everyone, and looks out for each other. The gossip there is no worse than in a big town. If you live in a large town long enough eventually you get to know people and they know you and the gossip can be just as bad. I work for the federal government and have for 33 years and have lived in Europe for 6 years and will never go back to my home town to live as there isn't anything there, but the values and friendships I had in that town will live with me forever. Would not trade those "growing up" years for anything.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Barb

    I think a town of 100 something is a ridiculous example. That's hardly more than a couple families. Try a couple thousand. Either way, where you been? I've been in many a small town and these people live and die here never knowing or wanting anything else. They complain, but, they're too insecure to move away. Rather be big fish in a teenie tiny pond than actually achieve anything. 'Floaters' most of whom exist dealing drugs, disability?, welfare, you name it. Ignorant and backwards, they think the gov. is santa claus. Oh, and VERY religious, counties are dry, while they enable their methhead, child molesting kids/grandkids who will hang on long enuf til ma and pa or gram and gramps die and leave them the family farm. 'Good people'? My eye! It's everybody for themselves for these backward types. Nobody's here to police anybody, either! Occasionally, a few will put on a good show for someone, but, they're an ignorant, envious, uneducated lot that looks out for worthless 'kin' and hates the world for it. They have to rip you off to maintain their loser family! Yeah, the 'good ole boys' here were dealing drugs and having sex with inmates at the local sheriffs departmt. Nobody checks. They don't turn each other in, either, because they all know where the skeletons are buried!! Go figure with TV, internet, newspapers, etc. They go by their own rules. Can live in a small town 20 yrs n still be an 'outsider'. It's their only 'claim to fame' being 'kin'! lol What a joke.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff

      Wow Barb, your self-righteousness reeks of an over abundance of liberialism. You seem to have this small town "all figured out." Maybe you should move there and show them how "progressives" do things!

      July 23, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Tom

        Cliff, you are talking to a TRUE liberal. They know everything about everything & are "better" than everyone else. Notice how "Barb" can't make a statement without calling those with whom she disagrees names? Folks like her are why I like rural life. Farmers, ranchers, those that FEED America are probably on average better educated than she. Most of them have, HAVE to have advanced degrees in agriculture. There are Doctors, lawyers, newspaper owners, reporters, editors, many folks with education. And of course, some like Barb, bigots to the bone.

        July 23, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
    • zapper3

      Wow barb. Trying to fit the most logical fallacies into one paragraph? You are quite the bigot

      July 23, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I live in Lone Rock and we do not have crime, drugs, or any other activities that detract from small town living. We have very good schools. Everyone knows each other but we are not all related to one another! It is a shame that we are losing banks and post offices and other viable necessities as our older people now must depend on neighbors to help them get groceries, mail, and get them to doctor appointments. Our nearest town for getting these is 15 miles away and it is a small town also. We love helping each other and visiting. How many people in large cities can say they know their neighbors (really know them)? Yes, there are struggles, but we DO NOT rely on big brother to help us. I have lived in large towns (Omaha, NE for example) and you cannot see farther than your neighbors house. In a small town we can see as far as 20 miles on clear days and usually 8 – 10 miles on hazy days. I wouldn't trade small town living in the midwest if you paid me $1,000,000! Why don't those of you try it sometime. It would most likely change your perspective and your bias of small town living.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Cate

    Actually, you are wrong about the working from options. I have worked from home for 12 years as a technical editor for publishing companies and so do many of my online colleagues. I was able to relocate to a small town in ND and buy an affordable home. There are jobs available in this town but not that pay as much as my self-employment income. There are many work at home options – and folks like me do populate some of these small towns and support local businesses.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  24. SmallTownsrGreat

    Small towns are great – plenty of Section 8 housing, cheap cost of living, no police force. Great place to drive a few hours away and sell drugs to everybody on welfare, just like those three kids up in Pennsylvania last week. Those two dealers from Philadelphia came down on them so quick they were dead before they ever knew they was in trouble.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weak Sauce

      Median age of 45 in this town... For some reason, I don't think they are in to selling meth.... I could be wrong, but I think your generalization isn't matching up in this particular case.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Fran

    Having traveled to all fifty states and several foreign countries, I hope you're wrong. Small towns are homes of the most interesting and friendly people I've ever come in contact with. They have warms hearts and generous spirits. Neighbors are neighbors and friends are friends. The anonymity afforded in the cities may be the ruination of this once great country.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • InModeration

      yes because the problem with today's society is that people are not interesting and friendly enough. Oh how I wish I were nicer to my neighbors so our country wouldn't be in debt right now!

      July 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  26. MC in TX

    This is more true in the U.S. than in a lot of countries but it is a natural trend everywhere. Ultimately the only way the small towns can survive is to be islands, building local cultures where the people in them value the small town life over modern conveniences. Ultimately every time these small towns buy products from outside of the community they are sending money out of town. The reality is that if they try to "keep up with the Joneses" they can never keep up a trade balance with the outside. For many of them the only way they get income from the outside is with people driving through and eating at local diners. That is no way to run an economy.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Being from Texas, you should know that there are a number of towns with light industry. Jacksonville, with a medical supply manufacturing company. Sealy, with a vehicle assembly plant. Tyler, home to both Trane & Carrier manufacturing plants. MANY examples, but if you already know everything I guess enlightening you won't work.

      July 23, 2012 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  27. Tim in America

    With the amount of 'Working from Home' options, plus 'Internet Shopping' that should help small towns thrive.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Ahem, well, as someone who has lots of relative living in small rural towns, the option to 'work at home' via the internet is hilarious. Most rural areas don't have high speed internet, so that is not even an option. What planet are you from?

      July 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • DJ

        Kate–That is what I meant by city leaders not knowing where their responsibilities lie. They need to demand better infrastructure for their communities and that includes high speed internet. Dial up is slower but it does work. Small town citizenry should demand better connectivity if it is lacking from their community leaders. More baby boomers will begin to populate small towns as the cities fill up and they sell off or rent out their homes and this boomer rang will light a fire under small town leaders.

        July 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wonder Woman

      Most of those "Work from Home" options you mention are hoaxes and scams. There are very few actual jobs like that. Many of them are an option after you've already worked for a company for many years at an office.

      Hey, I'll give you a list of companies that will pay you to work from home. Just send me $49.95!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • DJ

        wonder woman–Apple started in a garage, Dell started in a dorm room as did facebook , Henry Ford built his first car at home. Start your own business with your own idea.

        July 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  28. orlop

    I have been searching for a retail property in a small town in rural Pennsylvania for 2 years now to start a business. Sadly most all of the real estate is owned by slum lords who have section eighted the properties, let them fall apart and collect the checks. They are making lots of profits but the buildings and the town continue to decay. If they decide to sell a property they want top dollar for it because the property is cash flow positive but the condition of the structure is so bad you don't want it since it will cost too much to fix up. It is a real catch 22 and will only get worse as demand for inexpensive rentals increases.

    July 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bull

      Albrightsville PA . Just south of Rt.80,along Rt.115.Rt.903,Rt.534 . As long as your idea isn't Pizza or a Hair/nail joint,we can use you here.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AC

      This isn't just a problem is US.. this is something thats happening across the whole.. In Europe, in India and China.. everywhere.. Rather from my limited experience.. its happening a lot faster in other places then in US
      And this isn't being caused by government policies or smthg that the government can fix overnight.. It comes to a lot of extend from the way the industrial revolution and capitalism has shaped the global society.
      You setup a large industry and a big population – lot of workers, lot of small business,etc thrive around it. With population and money come good roads, hospitals, doctors, schools, etc.
      Industry shutdown/ goes bankrupt and the towns around it becomes a ghost town.
      If you have a small town not build around any industry except farming, the need for 'workers' is limited, the income and purchase power is limited and does not change much...So the town reaches a 'steady' state of economic activity. There might be say 2 diners and if a young person opens a 3rd one.. its going to eat into the business of the 1st two such that one of the 3 has to fail.. as there is no demand growth, therefore, there is no demand growth for population..The only way the town can sustain new population is if there is new farming land being added i.e. the main industry is growing.. Also with the amount of money and profit involved in farming stagnated, 'Industry' towns will always be a more attractive option for a young person, then 'farming' towns.

      Along with Industrialization, came 'corportationation' of business. You could not have multi-billion dollar type of businesses 200 yrs ago.

      I dont know if its right or wrong.. good or bad.. but large mega cities is the future of the world as of now.

      July 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      We do have a lot of rentals in Lone Rock, however, if you wanted to buy, there are opportunities for that. Most need some fixing up but the cost of living is great and properties don't cost nearly as much as in the cities. I am from Hershey, PA and loved that town until it got so big that living there wasn't as fun. It is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there anymore.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Nat

    The guy in the photo is 41? He looks like an unhealthy 65 year old. Could it be his diet and lack of excercise? Look at the food on those plates, there are at least 3 servings. No wonder people are fat.

    July 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • zapper3

      Excellent contribution to the discussion Nat

      July 23, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Sorry to disappoint you but while there are some overweight people in Lone Rock, most are thin; maybe thinner than you or your friends in the great big city. We work hard here on farms, in our gardens and take walks without wondering if someone is going to mug us. The air is clean and fresh, not polluted!

      July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Brenda

    Republicans did this with their business practices, but remember, they love America.

    July 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • cyberhackster

      Spoken like a true libtard

      July 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • InModeration

        I can call people names so that means I am right!

        July 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda Lovelace

      And then, she shat on a turtle!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      You're a f u c k i n g m o r o n.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Wade johnson

    I have NO doubt that Small towns across America will and ARE FADING AWAY, the Small town in which I grew up in and also went to school in Hawkinsville Georgia is Now ALL but DRIED UP and GONE!!! I feel had it not been for McDonalds and a Local Car lot and the fact that Pulaski County is HUGE HUGE Farming County, It would have ALREADY been deemed a GHOST TOWN...

    July 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fran

      You haven't been to Hawkensville lately have you? Great town. We need more towns like it.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Hadenuffyet

    When gas finally does reach $5 a gallon , (and it will , eventually) and people are forced to stay close to home , this problem may finally start to reverse itself. That , and the willingness of individuals to invest in their own community through volunteer labor and actions.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • literaltrance

      @Hadenuffyet: not sure what your reasoning is. I suspect the price of gas is a direct cause of dwindling small towns, as people can no longer afford to live an hour+ outside of the city in which they work.

      July 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  33. mp1960

    The town that I grew up in was at one time the sort of place that a kid for the most part could have a fun time growing up there were 4 school's grades K-6 Junior @ Senior High a sport for every season, Base Ball – Foot Ball – Hocky – Basket Ball take your pick or you could go fishing or bum around town with your budys or take in a movie, my foke's were not rich Dad had a good job and for the most part Mom took care of us Kids and the house. I dont know what happened or who caused it to happened but changes started in that town in about 1979 and have snow balled since, I tend to think that it was a combination of one particular industry the towns bigest employer – ( low ball low pay and high turn over ) – and the various A.B.C departments of State and Federal goverment and the whats in it for me Local gverment that ended and changed that town in to some thing that a lot of people can no longer recognize, of note my Nephews were required before entering public school to learn spanish yet as far as I know thay still live in the United States, and the down town is now loveingly refered to as little Mogadishu. I left that town a long time ago before all of that and my Kids ask me how did I ever live in such a town I tell them it was not always the way it is now.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  34. Jamie

    Americans love to save money at chain stores and discount online retailers, and then complain that the government didn't do enough to keep their local stores from closing down. Why is it that when progressives do try to ban fast-food and other large chains from their communities, tax online retailers like Amazon, or pass other progressive measures to help small businesses, conservatives jump up and call them "socialists"? And now it's the government's fault that people aren't allowed to put their own sewage in their drinking water?

    July 22, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • achepotle

      Simple...the most important things in the minds of voters are moral issues..not allowing men to kiss, applying Iron Age tribal laws on women...rural America is about as sophisticated as the Taliban....since "progressives" are too smart and ethical to use those issues to win votes, the corporation who own the Republican brand have no problem exploiting the ignorance of "the salt of the earth".

      July 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
      • db

        I live in a small town, we finance our stuff ourselves, and the small businesses do okay. People here go to school etc just like you do. Just because your corner coffe shop is called "insert name brand' and ours is called Julia's doesn't make a whole lot of difference. As usual, people oversimply things. Nobody sees the government as evil so your exaggerated premise that people actually think that way is well, silly. This is always an argument on the margins. But you should wonder why anyone would want to be a congressman for 30 or 40 years? And, as you munch on that apple or orange or cut of good steak....remember where it comes from. I think what irritates people in general is that progresses will argue a woman's freedom of choice (I do not disagree with this premise) they will also try to tell you what color to paint your house.....lol.....so in short....your exaggerations slay me and gave me a good laugh. Salud.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mw

        You really have your head up your @ss if you really and truly find rural Americans to be just like the Taliban. I don't even understand how you and I grew up in the same country. Maybe you should withdraw your citizenship and move to Afghanistan? I bet your tune would change.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • whimsicalpig

      the government's job is not to direct or manipulate public opinion. if progressives propose laws that are not embraced by the mojority, those laws, and those proposing them will be defeated.

      I f the majority of people think walmarts are bad, they simply will not shop at them, the fact that they do shop there and, at the same time put their fellow citzens our of business is a choice they choose to make in sufficient numbers to indicate that it is the will of the people. why don't progressives understand that even though they feel they are "smarter than the average bear" to quote Yogi, they do not represent the sentiment of the majority.

      life goes one and change is inevitable. there are many reasons for people shopping where they do, and while they may want tp preserve their idealized small town, the fact that the global economy has shut their local factory has more of an impact.

      get out of your ivory tower of idealized utopia and see the world as a living changed force, not a theory of progressive goverment control of society

      July 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wenscity

        Walmart started primarily in the rural areas. They strong armed suppliers to meet their price demands, ran the mom & pop stores out of business, and little by little, the people had to shop there because they had no other choice. That is how they became the giant that they are today.

        July 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      The sort of "Freedom" Mittons wants for America. Get Big Government out of peoples lives. Give them the freedom to drink feces contaminated water!

      July 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • marknati

      It is not the government fault they have a health mandate but when they know that these small towns can not pay for it the state should. And the states economic development dept. should make sure that they are helping the small towns not just the big cities. The real answer is to buy American. and to force Congress to stop letting all these High tech Miltary contractors from having the parts made in China and other counties and then do the assembly here and call it made in the USA. This must stop.

      July 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Boricua

    The era of the isolated small town has to come to an end and people have to stop their isolationist thinking and consider society in general as a whole. There is an abundance of resources in the world in hands of a few and we are not living in a sustainable fashion. Cooperation and technology are the keys to our survival. Why do some ares thrive while others disappear? Because resources are not distributed equally and we do not measure how much capacity our land has to sustain life. Go to http://www.thevenusproject.com to see what I'm talking about.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Dedanaan

      Dang, are you selfish! Do you think "society in general" is restricted to just big cities? Me, I would love to move from the city to a small town. But Congress and Obama aren't going to try to create jobs in small towns because the demographics don't include who they support.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
      • Coffeeclue

        "But Congress and Obama aren't going to try to create jobs in small towns because the demographics don't include who they support."
        I love this statement. How exactly are Congress or Obama supposed to create jobs in a small town? Give them someone else's tax money?

        July 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Boricua

        By society en general I don't mean just the U.S.; that's thinking selfishly. I'm talking about the entire world. Why do we have to cut the little world into tiny pieces and isolate ourselves from everyone and everything? The world is ours to use, why do we think so narrowly?

        July 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • whimsicalpig

        it isn't up to obama and government to create jobs anywhere.

        the jobs will be wherever they are sconomically viable to be. if it now india or viet nam, then those are the facts. the people in small american towns can make opportunities for themselves if they are cleaver and industrious or they can migrate to where the opportunities are, but it is not government's job to create a utopia on earth for you

        July 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Donna

    I've been reading about New York City proposing building 300 sq. foot apartments to rent for only $2000 a month attract and keep young people. Thanks but no thanks.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • RYan

      "Only $2000/month?" For 300 sq. feet? That's a scam if I ever saw one. The average rent around here is $800/month.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Torgo

    I don't understand. Now I'm supposed to care that small towns are losing population? Why?

    July 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • uh...

      Your one of those people who are all about themselves huh? NO ONE asked you to care or to even click on this article. So quit crying like if they did.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  38. c s

    The whole push has been to increase agricultural productivity which in turns pushes farm to be bigger and need fewer people. This is how capitalism treats everyone not just people in small towns. One thing that would help is to have a national energy policy that would promote a distributed electrical system using wind turbines and photoelectric panels. The construction and maintenance of this type of electrical system would put jobs in rural areas. Of course that would require a national energy policy that we do not have.

    July 22, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • bordeauxe

      c s, we spoke to a lot of people talking about how farms, especially in Iowa, are getting larger and new technology means that fewer and fewer people are needed to plant and harvest. I'm glad your narrowed in on the issue of a large national plan for something as important as energy. That's something that we are hearing from people on a whole host of issues, hoping for serious planning and national attention to these big issues.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  39. DJ

    There is no reason a small town cannot survive and thrive. With improved connectivity a person should be able to maintain a good standard of living by using the resources provided via the internet. City leaders also need to be proactive in reaching out to state leaders for grants and other aide for infrastructure. Many small town councils do not understand how to keep and attract residents, they do not understand what their leadership role is. Young peoples lament of no privacy and lack of things to do in small towns is nothing new. I can pretty much guarantee that young folks everywhere are doing pretty much the same thing, playing video games. If you are bored it is up to you to change things where you are. If you are relying on big business for employment you may be headed for a big disappointment, eventual layoff. We have been given a new way of sustainable living via the internet and if you have access you have opportunity.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • minerran

      DJ,

      If its so easy to work from home via the internet, why isn't everyone doing it? My wife has investigated. Its not so easy like you think.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
      • DJ

        It is definitely not easy. I think it is doable. If you live in a small town look around for opportunity. Hit some yard sales and resell things on ebay or amazon (become an associate). You can even list things for others and split the sale price, from sewing machines to cars. Design websites for local businesses. Is your area known for a particular craft or food item? Buy wholesale and sell retail ebay, amazon. Do you or your wife make things, etsy is a site to sell craft items. Posting to youtube is free, free advertising and if you make intriguing enough videos you can sell advertising through google adsense. I would not pay anyone ever for information on how to make $ on the internet its all there for free.

        July 22, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
        • Boricua

          Thumbs up for you. I like your thinking. Technology is the key.

          July 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
        • bordeauxe

          DJ, We've got a story coming up about a woman in a small town in MN who moved back home to take care of family and is now trying to get a new business going. She is relying on the internet and old fashioned word of mouth to start her photography/media consulting/writing business. She's had some successes but says it's really a steep learning curve.

          July 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  40. Frank P

    Advances in agricultural technology has been the driving force in the demise of small towns across America. The same way it has eliminated many of the manufacturing jobs we tend to say have moved overseas. The increases in worker productivity we read about mean it takes less people to get a job done. On the farm this eliminates the jobs that were available for ones own children let alone neighbors.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • c s

      Frank is very right. Without jobs how can young people stay?

      July 22, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  41. Jonboy

    Thanks to WalMart, my small hometown is all but bust. They moved in, cut all the prices lower than the local stores, waited for them to go under, then raised the prices even higher. Every other building is now boarded up, a pawn shop, or a payday loan place. Now there's a little micro-town cropping up around WalMart, with junk food corps and dollar stores, all of which take the money out of the community and ship it off for cheap products made in China or to CEO's living in another state. Downtown and the former strip on the other hand, looks like a wasteland.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • unretired05

      Jonboy– Sounds like Mytown USA.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You are absolutely correct about WalMart and the other chains driving out the mom and pop stores on main street. I feel horrible about it. But the WalMart's of the world stay in business because everyone around them shop there. I try to buy local, but you can't be throwing away money if you can get the same goods at a better price.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  42. Mike Scott

    This article is hogwash and nothing more than the writer's ignorant attempt at trying to make the current administration look bad. It's nothing more than a political stunt. Bad try...It won't work.

    July 22, 2012 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • J.B.B.

      Your comment is hogwash! Look at what the current administration has done to the economy!
      You need to READ MORE about what is going on in our country!!

      July 22, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Rob

        Anyone who thinks this has anything to do with any particular presidential administration is deluded. These are forces that have been in play since the major shift in agricultural policy that began in the 1970s. Those changes were pushed by a few emerging mega-agribusiness firms that now control almost all of your food. I mean, just give it a moment's thought. The average age of the town's residents is 37. Do you think the average age was 20 just four years ago and that the current administration somehow did this to them? Get your heads out of dark places and start to think for yourselves. This Democrat vs. Republican divide is nothing more than theater to keep us all occupied while large corporations complete their take-over of our country. Until we take back control of our government, it won't matter which party you vote for. That only determines the specific flavor of corporate control you will live under. I encourage you to check out the 'move to amend' movement and start taking back your country. Thomas Jefferson once said, “The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.” A voice from the past is describing your future, unless we all wake up and see what is really happening in our country.

        July 22, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
      • yon

        J.b.b, You are hogwash! How can you say that the current administration has done this to our economy? Whether it was Mccain or Obama, its going to take more than 4 years to fix what Bush did to this country!

        July 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • WeatherNut82

      Its evident you have not looked at the history of the US social structure in any capacity, the patterns of small town growth and decline go hand in hand with economic conditions. As young adults continue to be pushed out of the housing market, their choice of living is urban belts where employment actually exists. The "American Dream" of a house, 2 kids, 2 cars, and vacations died long ago. This is a dead model that will never come back, the younger generations have no intention in trying to maintain a high cost mortgage while working 2-3 part time jobs....having the "house" in the suburbs is not important to generation Y and the millennial.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  43. Sam

    It really surprises me as to how quick people are to blame the government for their sufferings. Times are changing. There are nations which have been suppressed for a long time and really to burst out. Figure out what they did right! China and India: the most populous countries in the world. You truly learn the meaning of the phrase "survival of the fittest" there. There is no place for incompetent weaklings and whiners! ( i think i see many of them on the message board here). You can blame anyone you want for your miseries, but you aint getting anywhere with that. You have to "get off your ass" and do what needs to be done.
    If kiids want to move away from small towns, encourage them. They are doing so for their own good and this nations too. Well, i with i could live in tree houses in the forest and eat off the land, but i cant do that, can I? Because, times have changed since then...
    To keep up, you have to change- change is the only thing that is constant
    God bless!

    July 22, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • minerran

      Government regulations often are unfair. Due to new environmental regulations, they force the city to upgrade their sewage system without thought to if its affordable or not. We have the same issue as homeowners with building codes. If your home is damaged in a storm, the city inspectors will force you to repair using new building codes. They won't let you put it back as it was. This can cost you money that you don't have and that insurance might not cover.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  44. leo

    The destruction of small towns is no accident. Our government is desperate to convince the population that only a massive government can get things done. As the government gets bigger and bigger expect less and less control in your daily decisions and life. Stop looking to the government to solve problems. The only thing the government does is create bigger and bigger problem that then require mor and more government. We the people are rapidly becoming the sheep for our government to slaughter.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam C

      Its a micro economic study... follow the money. Treat each town as its own country and track its imports and exports. If exports are greater than imports the town will survive. Government isn't the problem its commercialization, globalization, and corporations that are killing the small town.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Boricua

        Correct Adam. But globalization is the key to our future, not global exploitation but global cooperation. See http://www.thevenusproject.com .

        July 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • unretired05

      Is it Leo or Teo? You blame the government but don't even think first. As the 80 acre family farms turned into corporate farms of thousands of acres the rural population declined. The rural population is what supported the local businesses while the corporations take their money out of the local community. It's not the government pushing population loss, it's profit.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
      • db

        Even small farms have to incorporate. If not, government (State and Federal) take their cut at when the owner dies.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • minerran

      Do come on leo. This is changing society. It is not some vast "liberal" conspiracy. Geez you talk like Michael Moore but from the other side of the coin.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah

      I grew up in a small dairy town. Now I'm a federal government employee who lives in a small town, buys local, volunteers locally, and is a part of my community. I will never understand the people who treat government workers as if we're mythical boogeymen living high on the hog in DC. You're railing against a strawman.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I agree with you Leo. We need to minimize government by doing away with almost everything that our forefathers did not include in our Constitution. Smaller government, I believe, will help the people have more control. It is the people who elect the persons in government, but it is the government that makes policies and is not governed by the people for the people.

      July 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Cosmo

    Stupid article..146 people is not considered what you would call small town America. But since the subject came up. Heck yes they will survive. As long as White people keep them up. And they will.. more and more are getting out of Dodge as big cities are turning to crap. The Crap people can have them.

    July 22, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  46. Aubrey

    I grew up in a big city, and now live in a small town in Maine. We own a business here. And I love it. You can't beat the sense of community, the bond, the generosity of a small town. We work hard to be able to have this kind of life, and its not easy. The cost of living isn't low, the weather can be harsh, and we are very dependent on a tourist economy and a successful lobster/fish season. Our business does well if other businesses do well, and that can make anyone nervous. Here we are, 10 years in, and I would never move from here. The quality of life here is what we fight for- the safety and well-being of our children, the ability to come together to help others.

    July 22, 2012 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Ashwin

      Best of luck to you and God bless you.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  47. Zorro

    "All this has residents questioning the hand of government: feeling that the government is not promoting new jobs in rural areas and at the same time is requiring those areas to put in new, costly infrastructure."

    Typical. I'd bet the same people who question why the government isn't "promoting new jobs" out in Bumblescrew, Wyoming are the same that call the government a facist organization for requiring them to pay taxes- the nerve!

    You can't have it both ways, kids. You either get a more powerful government who can do more for you, or a less powerful government that can't. And if you vote for a less powerful government, you might see your Nowheresville of a town fade away a little bit faster.

    July 22, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • RoyInOregon

      Right on!

      July 22, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • minerran

      Zorro,

      I think what the townspeople are trying to say is that government is mandating that they spend money which they don't have, to comply with new regulations instead of grandfathering in the repairs under the old regulations, meanwhile the same government making demands is not doing anything to enable the city to have the money. Government is creating an unreasonable expectation.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  48. Dr Haver

    I live in a pretty small town (albeit only 35 miles from Philadelphia). Many of us joined the local co-op (Community Supported Agriculture) and have managed to hold onto some rural lifestyle with a beautiful farm just working a hour a week or so.
    Keep in mind, my real job – senior software developer/ analyst – is done right from my home office. So, I do NOT need to be near a city at all. The Internet revolution SHOULD allow many of us to keep our high-paying jobs in a small town since we can work from anywhere, So, I am not sure why there is a need to be near a city anymore.

    July 22, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      The main reasons many people want to be near cities are shopping, social scene and medical service availability. The frist applies to nealry all people, the second more to young and the last more to older Americans.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • DJ

      Agreed. The internet can be deemed a success when small towns everywhere no longer rely on one or two big businesses as the major employers. As England was once called a nation of shopkeepers I think rural America should strive to be a nation of internet entrepreneurs.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  49. Mark Kulacz

    People live where is work to do. Many of these small towns are not near work that needs doing. With no economic driver to populate the area, it makes no sense for anyone to live there. Yes, it seems sad, but things change and people adapt.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • boyamidumb

      Things change, often not for better. We ride along and accept every change or we managee change so that it improves the quality of life rather than diminish. Small towns and villages are critical to the life and character of a country. In the US they are a symbol of vital element e
      We are losing that may cost us a nation...small but productive manufacturers, vital domestic farming, small businesses of every type. Personally I don!t want to live in a Walmart and McDonalds world!

      July 22, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      yes.. that's very true... however, people often stays nostalgic about the place they used to live.. things come and go.... that's life. Empire rose and fall.... people come and go.... time and tide don't stop for man..

      July 22, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  50. Russ

    I grew up in a small town in MT. I have fond memories of it but when I visited last it has changed drastically. Just one of the food stores is left and many of the old standard stores along main street are gone and the places vacant. The down town barely has any traffic and the place looks almost like a ghost town. Its a bit bigger than the one mentioned in this article ~5k people, but the same issue remains. Why would you stay in a town like this? There is no work and there are no opportunities.

    July 22, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  51. Dano99

    There is a more inexpensive, more environmentally friendly alternative to replacing the sewer system. If I knew the exact number of households, I could get a much more accurate estimate but just based on the number of residents the cost would be significantly less than $400,000. This can be achieved by purchasing composting eco toilets that do not need a sewage system as well as gray water cisterns. Especially right now with the drought in Iowa, gray water cisterns would help farmers and gardners to keep their plants alive. Just a thought but better than being forced to buy infrastructure than in another 50-100 years is going to need updating or replaced again. AND it will save money in the long run!

    July 22, 2012 at 4:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Dano99,

      Thank you for the info. I wish someone had thought of this before the work on a new sewer system began. Maybe this info will help other small towns facing the same situation.

      July 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Randall

    I'm all for the federal Clean Water Act, but forcing these small towns to build new sewer systems that they can't afford seems awfully silly to me, considering just how many cows are freely depositing their filth on the ground across thousands of square miles surrounding these small towns.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
  53. homer

    Sounds like a really horrible place to live, it's no wonder that small towns are dying off. I'd rather die than live in a town of 150 people

    July 22, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Cosmo

      Homer..Your nuts Ill put up my well water against city water anyday.. much much cleaner and cold. and tastes much better.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  54. Heather Whipp

    A lifesaver for small towns in Australia was one initiative for the townspeople to get together and to sell cheaply blocks of land to people of a youngish age group, to come and settle in the town for at least 10 years. Some of the land sold for a small number of dollars. Single parents and others with children grabbed the offer. Some of the vacant houses were included. One small town had a second wind when newcomers filled the need. One town council put a whole town up for sale.I love small towns and communities.There are so many that can offer peace and tranquility at the end of the day to hardworking people.

    July 22, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • John Sherman

      A great idea Heather and some will take this offer up. I'd guess those small towns which are closer to larger cities will be snatched up first. Yet plenty of "traveling sale-people" where a home's location isn't as critical could be another great factor. I personally left Iowa back in the 80s, and never went back. Yet most of my best memories are from there.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:36 am | Report abuse |
  55. Anthony

    Growing up in a small town I understand the dynamics of keeping up with the times. My small Pennsylvania town has transformed itself slow into a small growing city in the past several years. The reason being like in the same case as the article to attract more of the young generation. I am 26 years old and I opted to leave home and attend college with the thought that I will never return back home. After several years returning and visiting home I am starting to miss the home town feel. On the other hand the world is revolving and things change. The best thing to do is evolve with the time but try to hold on to the community's identity.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • bordeauxe

      Anthony, I think a lot of people feel torn about what life they find more appealing. The tough part is, if these small towns do fade away does it remove some options for all of us?

      July 22, 2012 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  56. Pedgies

    There are some people on this board that need to go a take a history lesson as to why and how our government was created. It was not to suppor the individual person but the nation as a whole. We need our government to help pay for the infrastructure for business to grow not the welfare rolls. If businesses grow their need for more labor will also grow. That was how our country was founded. I don't mind taking care of the elderly and disabled but it burns me to take care of people that are just as able to work as I am.

    July 22, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Reggie from LA

      Why is it that everyone who receives public assistance are considered lazy "leeches on the taxpayer dollars"? This has always been a "real American" soap box. There are many, many people who work every day (sometimes more than one job), but still can't make ends meet. When we can't make ends meet, we can lose our homes or the cars that we need to get you to those underpaying job of ours. Many of us have been "had". All that money rich people have does not always come as a reward for hard work and smart investment. There are pilots on welfare. One of the highest paying jobs in the world. You may not get that, but I do. There are military families using public assistance because of the their generally low pay and having families. Where do the wealthy get their money from? From people made poor by paycheck. Then they teach us to hate unions and taxes, then blame the poor for the state of the economy. Keep it up Pedgies. They have a real supporter in YOU. You need to do some research...over time.

      July 22, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
      • Pedgies

        It is called living within your means. If a pilot is on welfare he has a problem with budgeting his money. Sorry, I have lived on min. wages before without asking for a hand out. I budgeted my money. I didn't HAVE to have the top of the line. I bought a house within my means. We did not have all the latest gadgets. When my pay was better I put money back for the hard times. Then I allowed myself to splurge. People in America think if they don't have the best of everything then they are suffering. Since when are ipods, hummers and nike's required to live. People get real.

        July 22, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  57. Guest

    Growing up in a small town,I can say not only is it hard to find a job,but everyone knows everyone and judges everyone.
    You try to mind your own business,but everyone has an opinion about what you're doing.If you apply for a local job,chances are the manager or one of the employees is the mother of a classmate or a neighbor.
    Everyone looks out their windows at you,the cops bother you even if they know who you are already,Its all a bunch of nonsense.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bordeauxe

      We asked folks in LR about that very thing and their take was much more that people know what's happening with you so they help out. But we've also seen small towns with different dynamics in other parts of this country. Where did you grow up?

      July 22, 2012 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      I grew up in a small town and the cops didn't bother me and nobody judged me. Perhaps it was your behavior that was the problem, not the small town?

      July 22, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
      • hannah1

        Perhaps the cops didn't bother you because both of them were your uncles?

        July 23, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  58. NewEnglander

    I live in a small town in New England. We have two major employers, one bio-tech, one cyber-publishing, that employ about 10% of the population of the town. Yes, there are farms, too. But those "big" companies located here because of the small town environment. The people who work here, live here. There are some who commute into the big city nearby, but that is not the majority. As the cyber-community grows it is less and less necessary for people to live in close proximity. Some small towns will continue to suffer, but many will not.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • bordeauxe

      That's an interesting story. Did your town have any incentives or infrastructure that lead the company to move/start and stay there?

      July 22, 2012 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobbie Jo

      @NewEnglander. Hey, your case is an anomaly! This just doesn't happen to small towns in the farm belt.

      July 22, 2012 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  59. Sally

    While this is true that a lot of the small town people are "commuters" to the "larger" towns. Lone rock is probably not that much of a case for that. There is not that many real jobs in that area – ones that you can build a career out of. Algona- which a town of 5500 is the biggest town in the county (the largest of the Iowa counties). There is nothing there either to "commute" to except for two factory's that may close down at any time. While this is not on the horizon it is not the "sure thing" that it once was.

    While it is sad that these small communities are dwindling down and are going bankrupt and don't have the culture and life it once did I don't blame the government for being the cause of it. There are jobs in Algona – 20 minutes or so away from Lone Rock – it is not the job factor. Actually there are too many job openings the factories in Algona can't keep people for long enough to stay open and not overwork all the employees. The ones who do get hired are too immature and lazy to handle having a job that you actually have to work at and get fired or quit within weeks. [ not everyone by any means but definitely enough to cause a shortage in workers]. The ones who used to fill the factories have gone away to college or elsewhere to get an education so they don't have to work in the factory for 50-60 hours a week. Oh no – why would anyone want our young people to do that?

    The issue is generational, transitionary and evolutionary and it happens – its happened several times before and it will continue to do so.

    Young people simply don't feel any need or desire to stay in these small towns. There are not any opportunities there to grow and create a sustainable comfortable lifestyle anymore. It is a nice place to potentially come back to which may just change how small towns operate. Even then I see people moving more inward to places around larger towns and not quite so much in places where you have to drive hours to go to a Target.

    July 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  60. ForgetSmallTowns

    I grew up in rural Missouri in a town that just 10 years ago had 2,000 people and now has 1,800 according to the Census. As a 25 year-old working professional, not only can I say from experience ( I lived in four different towns under a population of 5,000 in three different states) that small towns in rural america offer next to nothing as far as jobs, but are OVERWHELMINGLY SMALL-MINDED AND LACK CULTURE!!! I blame a generation gap and lack of resources just as much as any entity because, why would you live somewhere where people relish consistently judging and gossiping about you, while at the same time they head to their meaningless jobs at gas stations and, if you are lucky, one or two hotels???!!!

    July 21, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      Amen, I grew up in a city of 50,000 and felt the same issues. It is symptomatic of these small towns ( and their politics) they never want things to change

      July 22, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  61. UoSGradstudent.

    I lived in a small town for over 10 years (on and off from 1987 to 2003) in Utah after living in bigger cities. I remember how suppressed the economy was then (much of the economy was based on the oil fields) , gas on average was 20 cents more per gallon then in the rest of the state. Jobs were difficult to come by as most were "mom and pop" shops. So this article does not surprise me. I think it has been this way for longer than people realize. It didn't matter whether a republican or democrat is in office.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Tom

    Small towns are the beginning of every nation, but unfortunately small towns are only as sustainable as their economy and the way of life of their people. This phenomenon of small towns dissapearing is part of not only an American problem but a global one. My father came from a small town in Cameroon, west Africa, and his parents sent him to school in the big city which was Douala at the time. He in return sent his children to France and the United States for school. If you look at the trend you'll see that after school he never returned to the small town to live, and niether did his kids return to his big city to live, instead here we are in America and France etc. They all stayed closer to where they could use the new knowledge they had acquired. It all has absolutely nothing to do with the government, because we as humans define where we live, and how we live, and what we allow to influence the decisions we make, not government. Small towns were never meant to stifle growth, but rather they were meant to be the begining of growth, therefore they will continue to dissappear, and other small towns will imerge until the cycle is complete, and begins anew. In the mean time, you can either ride with the flow, or get angry and drown with it. Either way, nothing will change this situation.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arthur

      Well written. You explained the situation better than the author of the article!

      July 22, 2012 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  63. TitonkaIndian

    I live 20 minutes away from Lone Rock and this story is completely true. All the small towns around my area are losing schools, businesses, and most importantly young people. There just are not enough young people to sustain our communities. Lots of old people though. In Kossuth county, where lone rock is located, there are now only two high schools, both in the same town

    July 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  64. blessedgeek

    Blaming the govt
    – for not providing enough jobs.
    – for requiring the town prevent leaking their poop water into their ground water.
    – for not providing a healthy environment.

    I know of women who says
    – I want a man who is gentle, sensitive but macho and rough and tough.

    Or have you heard a Jew or Muslim who demands a restaurant to provide kosher pork?

    July 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      blessedgeek, What Are You Talking About?????????

      July 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  65. abbydelabbey

    Small towns do not offer young people any opportunities to speak of ... They are barely sustainable ... Food, gasoline, etc. usually cost more ...

    July 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • J O

      I disagree with the prices of goods, gas and stuff being higher priced in a small town...I grew up in a small town and now live in a big city. Prices for gas, food and general goods are twice as high as you can get around a small town than there are in a big city THAT IS A FACT !!!!!!!!!!!

      July 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  66. HonestGeorge

    Farmers aren't the only ones populating small towns. In the northwest logging communities of about 2500 people dot the countryside as do mining towns and fishing ports. Transportation has had as much to do with the demise of small towns as any other factor. Freeways bypass communities leaving them to die on the vine. railroads consolidate and abandon lines which leaves communities without means to transport commodites that once were shipped via that method. The government – both state and federal – consolidate forestry and land offices, usually to a city of much larger size, which takes life-blood jobs away from the very communities and areas that were the reason for their existence in the first place.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      HonestGeorge, thanks for that. V. Good point. The railroads are still such a fixture on so many landscapes and so important for the reasons you listed. Do you have experiences with this kind of infrastructure personally?

      July 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duffy

      Just another boo-hoo story about the death of rural America. Fact is, Iowa's economy is not all built around corn and soybeans. There is great industry and financial business all around us. In my city of 150,000, 9,000 people work in the electronics giant Collins-Rockwell producing commercial and military communications systems. We are home to two General Mills plants (Hello Cheerios), the financial giant Aegon, large manufacturing plants that we lured away from Germany and Korea, and one of the largest ethanol fuel industries in the world, and on and on. We enjoy a great symphony orchestra, two outstanding museums including the National Czech and Slovak museum and the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art which includes lots of Grant Wood art. This week, more than 20,000 bicyclists will spend a rousing day and night in Cedar Raids on the RAGBRAI, the nation's most famous bike event.

      Lots of those little towns in Iowa are home to commuters who love smalltown life and drive 20 or 30 miles to well-paying industrial jobs in larger cities. Des Moines/Ames is home to 600,000 people and Iowa State University, a science/agriculture/engineering giant with 30,000 enrollment. Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, population 400,000, is full of industry and 30,000 student liberal arts University of Iowa. College athletics programs belong to the Big Ten, Big Twelve and Missouri Vally conferences and regularly fill 135,000 football seats any Saturday.

      So keep writing those boo-hoo stories and we'll keep enjoying our fine state. The "bad weather?" We had no winter in 2011-12.

      Iowa population is 3bout 3.l million.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Reggie from LA

        Something to be considered in what Bill Duffy says. In great part larger, populated areas offer more non-labor attractions to young people. Many young folks have had greater travel, educational and cultural exposures in other places than in years past. In larger towns and metros, there is greater potential for having a lotta "fun" (wink-wink) that they can't always have as much of in small town USA. The mating diversity can sometimes be stifled in smaller populations. Oh, they've seen Paris (pronounced par-ree!). Gonna be tough to get them back to the farm or to "Mayberry" if you will.

        July 22, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Yes this is completely true, but when you have to cut your budgets, it does not make sense to have 1000 small offices that you need to provide for when you can have one or two. Yes, it harms small towns, and I have lived in a several that have suffered from it, but at the same time, it is not really cost effective or sustainable for it to stay the way it is. You can't have lower and lower taxes AND all of the services and jobs programs. This is true for everyone. Small towns are going to have to either figure out a way to keep their young people or they are going to die out. It sucks, but that is just the way things are.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  67. IowaFarmBoy

    I was raised on a farm in Iowa. Many very small towns were needed in Iowa when horses delivered grains and supplies. Six miles was about the max distant so now there is a small town about 12 miles apart that served the farmers well. At 45 I quit farming and like so many others I got my degree and moved to LA (engineer in aerospace). I will never regret that move. I write this to say to the youth of the small town, get your education if you can and go for all you can get out of life. I'm now nearly 70 and still hiking the Sierra Mountains that I love and enjoying all the wonderful things I can see and do this great planet earth.

    July 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      Bill, thanks for writing. At nearly every stop in Iowa we meet interesting folks with so much home state pride. You are right that Iowa has more going on then farming and we've got a Q&A that we recorded in Cedar Rapids coming out soon. Incidentally, our meal at Zins in Cedar Rapids was just fabulous.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Sherman

      Hello fellow Iowan.. me too. Similar path.. my guess that the lessons from working in your youth on the great black dirt in Iowa are invaluable. I wish there would be some sort of summer youth farm program where-as parents from other "civilized" states could sent their young in the summer to Iowa for say a couple of months. Get the feel for an honest day labor, eat from the tables (hopefully good ones) of these mid-western kitchens, listen and partake of the socializing that goes on in the many farm communities across this great state. It would enrich all those concerned if there is willingness.

      July 22, 2012 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  68. M.E.

    Good! Middle American small towns are relics of the past and a drain on resources. There's no jobs so people are forced onto welfare because they are afraid to move on to a new and better place, or can't because they're too old. Let the elderly become natural attrition for the populations and encourage the young to seek education so they can get jobs elsewhere. The only people who should live out in the middle of nowhere are the farmers and ranchers. I've seen how it works, my grandparents moved back to Nowhere, Nebraska because they wanted to die where they were born. So my mom had to drop everything and move there to take care of them. After working in the local Wal Mart and a gas station she finally got a survivable job in the kitchen of the local nursing home. This is a person who was a book keeper most her life and can drive a fork lift on the side. In fact, most everyone in the county with an OK or better job works at the local nursing home, hospital, or in another healthcare job. The entire working population exists to take care of their parents who either came back to die or never left at all. It's insane.

    July 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • paddyboy

      Take two prozac and call me in the morning ...

      July 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      M.E., In my opinion your Mother should have stuck to her guns, stayed home, kept her job and made them move to her city. You may say that you can't make people do anything but tough love really does work. I am 57yrs old now but at the time I was still raising my youngest son. I let my Mother know in no uncertain terms that I would help her but I would not allow her to disrupt mine and my son's life. When I left and she could not take care of herself she came around to my way of thinking. And by the way when I left it was for only four hours. That was 8 yrs ago. She is 88yrs old and I am still taking care of her but I did not allow her to turn mine and my son's life upside down.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pedgies

        I feel sorry for you. Someday your son will repay you in kind.

        July 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • bordeauxe

        Kathy and ME, Lisa and I have heard many stories about folks returning home to take care of elderly relatives and loved ones. Thanks for weighing in with your stories.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe D.

      M.E. your name says it all – evidently you are the only one who makes a difference.

      Small towns are disappearing for a lot of reasons. In our area it is because they are becoming bedroom communities where people move to get their kids in smaller schools while they drive to a good sized town for a job.

      July 22, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  69. Mark

    Its called progress. People move to where the jobs are and jobs go to where the people are. Small towns are dying due to capitalism. Its just the way it is. Its a matter of scale. Why build a 5000 person factory in a 200 person town. You need a city with a deep labor pool. It is sad because small town living is awesome, but unfortunately it is not sustainable any more... at least not on the same scale as it use to be.

    July 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      Mark, the folks in LR do wish there were more jobs but many still have strong ties to farming. Curious, what is it that you like about small towns?

      July 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Sherman

      One wonders how even a small town actually obtained a status of functioning. Well back in the 20s-50s say a typical shop-keepers overhead was very small, and usually most of them lived in an area attached to their store. Some businesses could flourish more independently by being a "regional" place of business such as a small car dealership. Or a highly skilled craftsman or woman like a shoe cobbler, or doctor that could make their rounds. Life back then was set up mostly by those merchants who set their own store or practice policies. AND made a decent living by being honest and had skills or products needed for many who did not like to travel to bigger cities. Things have changed, like my grandparents used to intone, its hard to keep Johnnie on the Farm after he's seen Pariee.

      July 22, 2012 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      @mark

      Wait. So you are saying that people will move to where the jobs are, and companies have to build factories where the workers are? Something in your logic doesn't add up. If people will move to where the jobs are, then it stands to reason a company could open a factory anywhere.

      I'm willing to bet the location of a new factory is based more on infrastructure and tax breaks than labor pool. As they say, build it and they will come.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      I agree. Unfortunately, the main reason why many companies move their call centers overseas is because they need a large workforce pool to not only hire and fire at will. What company will move a 300-person call center to a town with only 3000? That would mean they would have to be selective in their firing practices and employees would have them by the balls. However, when locating in a city of 500,000+, they will have their pick of the litter.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  70. Merl Jay

    What's missing here is the definition of a small town. A town implies not just people but some level of commerce. I would say that a town needs a minimum of 2500 people as residents or people living nearby. That number could support a grocery store, small department store, a couple of gas stations, maybe even two restaurants and a branch of a regional bank. That number could also make the per capita cost of sewer systems and other infrastructure much more bearable.

    Lone Rock has 146 people, that may meet the dictionary definition of a town, but really it is basically 146 people who happen to live next to each other. Most likely no family earns their livelihood providing services to their neighbors. There is no "economic glue" holding them together. If towns like Lone Rock disappear, it is of little consequence, social or economic.

    But larger "small" towns with basic services will thrive in the next decades as more and more people work via the Internet or relatively well-to-do retirees move back to the roots. These are really the type of towns revered in our folklore, towns big enough to provide jobs and to have a "culture" that the young people can identify with, even as they leave to pursue careers that can only be found in the city.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      Merl Jay, thanks for your thoughts. Lisa is driving, we've got a couple hundred miles to cover, but she wanted to say: v. Interesting point. I can tell you 50 ppl work at the grain elevator in town. There is also a repair shop and a new sewing shop that is getting good business from ppl in LR. Is that enough commerce or no?

      July 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Merl Jay

        Emma,

        Probably not enough for the town to thrive. Now in speaking of towns, I make a distinction between a "wide spot in the road" and a self supporting social community, large enough to have 4-H, their own schools, a couple of churches, and maybe most important a hospital or clinic. Without that social community, the town is just a place where your house is.

        Now the wide spot in the road towns, they may or may not disappear, but they don't really matter. It is the communities that provide the social network that are important, they are the ones that have provided the Norman Rockwell or Jesse Stuart experience. If we as taxpayers are asked to help out a 150 person town or a 5000 person town, we should put our money in the 5000 person town.

        July 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
        • bordeauxe

          I think the folks in LR would say they've got a social community for sure and we saw a lot of examples of that in action. We spoke with a farmer whose neighbors harvested all his crops one year when he had a hunting accident and was laid up in the hospital. I do see what you are saying about overall economic impact but I am curious what you think the fading of many small towns in one region means for the overall economic/social fabric of a region.

          July 22, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Randall

      Dead on right, here.

      July 22, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  71. jim

    Have lived most of my life in or near big city U.S.A. And I don't regret it. But during a brief period I had the pleasure of living a small town with a population around 5000. The nearest big city(pop. 120,000) was about 70 miles away. The lack of traffic and congestion was a breath of fresh air. Cost of living was a real plus. The trade offs between the two depends on your own lifestyle. Thankfully we have both. And both contribute greatly to the diverse lifestyles our nation has to offer.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      jim, thanks for that perspective. We have seen a lot of small towns across this country on this trip and were struck by the big differences this nation still sustains community to community.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • RD

      5000 is a nice-sized town. County seat sized. Biggest town in the county size. The article was about small towns. I grew up in the countryside about 5 miles outside a town of 400.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  72. chris hogan

    Reality is finally setting in for the Tea Party types. It turns out, you CAN'T do everything yourself. You DO actually need other people to work together and promote prosperity in a community. I'm surprised people actually got together to help that sick farmer or that sick restaurant owner, because, according to the Tea Party folks, that's SOCIALISM!!!!! According to them, they should have just been allowed to go out of business.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      That's a good point but there is a difference. It is not forced on you.

      July 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • bluesman1942

      Romney would've bought that town and spit it out for the profit.

      July 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mitt Romney

        I would do no such thing!

        July 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
        • Linda

          Thank you Mr. Romney! You just earned my vote.

          July 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Britt

      @ChrisHogan
      Socialism is not helping your neighbor. Socialism is the government taking my money and giving it to someone else without me having a choice in the matter. Quite a bit of difference in those.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nat

        Britt. Extreme socialism is a failure. Democratic- Socialism is not. The U.S. has many forms of democratic – socialism. What do you think Medicare is, or your local fire dept, or police force, or border control, or coast guard? All these things are paid for with the redistrubution of wealth through taxes. The U.S. has become such a dog eat dog soiciety. Sad, very sad.

        July 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pedgies

      Actually that is exactly what the tea party is about. People helping their neighbors during hard times. What they are not about are people living on the tax payers money their whole life and thinking they are entitled to it without working for it.

      July 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Mike

    Just great – the solution is to have all of us live on top of one another in single room crappy apartments where we can have one big liberal utopia. Barf. No thanks, I'll take my 3 acres, big pool, & lots of room. You hippies go do your communal living. Im out. Clowns.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      If we all got 3 acres to ourselves there wouldn't be enough room for all of us. There is nothing economically or environmentally sustainable about small towns.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • jb

        Actually, there are enough acres in America for everyone (all 322 million of us) to have 7.14 acres of land. So... yeah.

        July 21, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • musings

      Strange you should imagine "hippies" are city folk who want to live in some crowded apartment building. I suppose such types exist, but the ones I know about are very much back-to-the-land types and they have been farming in Northern California, Oregon and Vermont ever since the sixties. They are very much into small towns. So don't assume you know it all.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      @Mike

      Right on. I'm with you. I prefer small towns over a city where everyone is fighting over resources.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  74. McIver3

    I live in San Diego, CA, a city of 3.1 million people. I would give anything to move to a smaller town (under 100K), but for the fact that our jobs are here, and my elderly father and mother live here. The traffic is non-stop from 6am – midnight. I recall in 1979 when I used to be able to drive down some of the main roads at night and there was maybe 1 car on the road. There are serious, fatality accidents nearly every other day. If you live in a small town, you may have some inconveniences, but at least you know your neighbors. I dream of a smaller town.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Veefor

      San Diego is a large city. Often times we find loneliness surrounded by millions of people and happiness surrounded by a close knit group of few people.

      July 22, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
  75. J

    I absolutely despise the city, but unfortunately I have to live in one of the biggest in the U.S. People are disgustingly rude and it can be lonely as hell. Stick to the small towns people – cities are full of people you don't want to associate with.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Nicole

    Small towns do not make sense environmentally or economically. Really, almost all of us should live in urban or semi urban areas, within close proximity of work, schools, and shopping, in multifamily homes. No sprawling suburbs with McMansions, no living in a small town an hour from work. And I speak as someone who grew up in a town of 800 people, 15 minutes from the closest grocery store.

    People directly and indirectly involved in farming and similar work are the only people who should live in rural areas. It simply is the only sensible reason to live in a rural area. Now moderate sized towns, with, say, 10k or more people make some sense, but the tiny quaint hamlets do not.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Yeah small towns don't make sense. Large Mega cities that produce pollution and dominate the landscape do. Maybe the problem is there are too many cities and NOT enough small towns.

      July 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tell the Wizard that you need a brain

      Nicole,

      People like you should seriously be examined, and\or institutionalized. Take your "global village" mentality and jump off a bridge, please.

      I was raised in Ohio farming country, with my nearest neighbors being almost a half mile down the road. I then went off to college, obtained a degree in Computer Science, and moved to San Francisco for work. I have also lived on both ends of the spectrum, and will NEVER go back to a city again. I live in a small town and commute 1 hour to a suburb, where I run a Data Center consolidation firm. It works great for me. I do not want ANYONE living near or around me. I do not want to deal with constant traffic and inner-city idiots. Not to mention, I prefer to pick MY demographics and schools.

      July 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mumbo Jumbo

      Wow, you really are an extreme Socialist. You need top get out of America and leave our freedom alone! The Constitution guarantees us Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That means some opinionated, Politically Correct, One World conformist can't tell people how or where, at least in general terms, they should live. Hmph!

      July 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Paul

        "Mumbo Jumbo" is about right. You'll never find those words in the Constitution, the Constitution is about RIGHTS not about GUARANTEES. Try looking in the Declaration of Independence, still not a guarantee, just the "pursuit of".

        July 22, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • MzzMommaD

      Your statement makes no sense. Why should small town not exist or be somewhere people shouldnt live? Thats how this country started. Small Communities. In fact here is an example, Scotia California and the surrounding towns, super small towns, but the logging industry and fishing is huge there! We as a country NEED small towns to keep us remembering of where we all came from. Whether your family immigrated here later on or you came over on one of the first ships, or were already here as a "native" we are all one people. If you take away small towns and leave only big cities, the pollution, violence, saddness, and all things related will sky rocket. Small towns keep us sane. In fact, we are moving out large family to a small town to get out of the big dirty city.

      July 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue Hutson

      Nicole, who are you to tell me I need to live in a damn noisy city full of rude impatient people??? I can see the stars at night in my little town of 750, where all the neighbors wave to each other, help each other out, exchange food from our gardens and organize lots of community events. I am never awakened by any noise, and feel perfectly safe taking a walk at 2 in the morning if I so choose. Once per week I drive 80 miles round trip for volunteer work, errands and appointments, 80 miles of open highway at the foot of the mountains, no traffic, no congestion, no stress. My dog and I walk/bicycle for miles over dirt roads nearly every day. NONE of this would happen in the city!! Retired on a small fixed income, I have never been happier.

      July 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Oh, wow, defensive are we?

      Research demonstrates both economic and environmental improvements with urban and semi urban living. It's "greener". Obviously no one should be forced to live in an urban environment, but I won't lament the disappearance of rural towns.

      And I've lived in both also (first sixteen years of my life were in a very small town), and I'll take an urban neighborhood over a rural town. Walkable, people are less judgemental, and just more opportunities. Urban areas require a lot of planning, and highly dens high rise areas aren't psychologically healthy, but neighborhoods with low rises, parks,and community businesses are.

      July 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  77. PhillySW

    You know, I'm am soo sick of some of you acting like the govt. is the boogie man for some reason. Let's remember something, the govt. is made up of people that you elect. People are not perfect. Therefore, the govt. can't and never will be perfect to everyone, or anyone.

    There are some things that the govt. does not do well, but there are things it does do well. In fact, I'm willing to bet that the main ones claiming they don't want govt. for everything are the same ones waiting for their unemployment check to arrive on time when they lose their job... Still not good enough for> Well then just be the first one to give your unemployment check back, to set the example of keeping govt. handouts away from you, as you like to put it.

    Or let a tornado, or hurricane come through your town and see how hard of a task it would be for all the citizens in your area to get debris removed, an assessment of who's where, and food, water, and shelter, and medical supplies to everyone that needs it all at once. The govt. does that, not you. So please stop with you not needing anyone's help. Everyone needs someone's help sooner or later in life, you just haven't been faced with that tragedy yet.

    As far as small towns, I wish everything could go back to small town environments. Where everything is simple, and slow, and friendly. But, capitalism has a lot to do with that wish changing forever in the US.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • ruth

      I agree ,I miss the America I grew up in I am 64...but we had a tornado come through in 1985, Ohio, no one from the government came around to help just the Red Cross,never saw one revenuer !! I have never taken anything from our government ,I have only given to our government ,worked for 40 years ,paid my taxes and have never been given a handout

      July 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        You are just to stupid to realize that government has done things for you.

        July 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joe

        I know. You never drove your automobile on a public road. You did not receive a public education. The public military does not defend you. Get real!

        July 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • jamesnic

        Ruth, you might want to think about the big picture and ask yourself how it came to be that you live in a country where you can even think you have taken nothing from the government. Tell you what, there are still some WWII combat veterans around. Why don't you go find one, look them in the face, and tell them they didn't do anything for you. All these hardy, Daniel Boone types need to wake up and realize that the only reason they are living in a free country is because somebody else set it up for them and then others sacrificed much, or all, in order to keep it good and free. The government is nothing more than US, all together, doing things for the betterment of society that would be impossible to do alone.

        July 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris hogan

      You are absolutely right, PhillySW,
      All you hear day in and day out is how terrible government is. The government wastes hard earned money. The government just wants to TAKE money away from people who work. If people's attitudes were like that for most of the last century, we would have NO interstate highway system, NO dams, NO way to keep elderly people from living in dumpsters, etc. Do these Tea Party folks honestly think they could patrol their own cities, give themselves clean water, repair the roads they drive to work on, and put out their own house fires? This is getting absolutely RIDICULOUS! And to the Obamcare naysayers, I say, "Fine. You go ahead and write a check for your $77,000 operation when you need it. Be my guest. But stop telling me I should keep paying for poor people to go to the Emergency Room for a soar throat when it would have cost a lot less for them to go to the doctor's office."

      July 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • Southerner01

        Chris,

        You obviously have never listened to what the Tea Party has to say, nor have you listened to any non-biased reporting on what small government types want. Nobody wants the government to stop defending us with police, military and firemen. Nobody wants the government to stop paving roads. It is all of these other government programs that we want to see stop. Why did the givernment subsidize corn based ethanol and not sugar cane based ehtanol, which is much better? Why did they subsidize CFL light bulbs and not LED which are much better. Why did they spend billions of dollars propping up companies like Solyndra? None of that falls into the "collective services" that government is needed for. There are private sources of capital and those sources are very good at picking viable businesses, and when they are wrong, it doesn't cost taxpayers anything. The reason Solyndra and all those other companies needed government money is because they were not viable businesses and therefore could not secure private funds.

        July 22, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      After Katrina, Wal Mart had emergency supplies on site well before the federal or state government. In fact, the only thing that slowed down distribution was the government goofballs trying to stop Wal Mart from handing out the free food and water.

      July 22, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  78. sainsa

    I grew up in one-traffic-light Ohio town of approximately 1,000 residents. I left 30 years ago. My mom still lives there. The population remains about the same, as people from Columbus, OH are finding the home prices are incredible steals (vs. suburban home prices), but businesses...Main Street is gone. There's one restaurant, a convenience store, a doctor, an auto repair/hardware store, two gas stations and two banks. Big box stores 25 miles away are too much of an enticement. I've told my mom, in all seriousness, the town needs to sell itself to IKEA. Halfway between two of the state's largest cities, entice them to build a store in the heart of what was once a thriving small town. People would come everyday, new businesses would spring up, jobs would be available, people would move for the jobs–in essence creating a new suburb of the city from a bedroom community. It seems plausible, if only the townfolk could convince IKEA to throw out its business model.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  79. george coulson

    Most of the small towns were formed when horses were the main way of getting around so usually towns were about five miles apart. As about half the work force was engaged in farming and the other half provided services for them. When farming became less labor intense thanks to technology more people moved into cities to find work. Presently only about 14% live in rual areas now and most likely will get even smaller as it takes fewer people to run machines that get bigger and better at logging, farming and mining. The internet has made it possible to get goods without going to the local merchants bick and morter stores which of course makes local jobs even harder to come by. It makes some folks sad to see the small towns disappear but its the price we pay for a changing economy.

    July 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  80. D Rock

    About the small town of the usa building community through the smaller town feel economy, it must be said on how strong economic challenge and politics with both candidates today; so entirely the answer of small town growing economic 'boom" through solid policies of growth through small town economic politics. Ideally, with the hard work of the small town community candidate power and work ethic not urban but sprawl economics. Decisive through mulling and growth economics championed through powerhouse urbal rural growth initiatives.

    Jeez, with all that splatter-broth I could run for president.

    July 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  81. t

    Here is the thing.. either no help and no regulations OR provide for both.. I agree that these regulations are steep, but who wants to drink toilet water? Its time for everyone to stop looking to others for money, assitance, laws, and figure this crap out!
    If something in my home broke, I pay for it and get it fixed or learn to get what I need a different way. It is time for people to stop looking to government for everything and take back their personal responsibility. I am sick of this Nanny state that we have backed ourselves into.
    I live rural in order to be away from people telling me what to do with my own property. I fix my stuff up and make it work with out help from the government.

    July 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  82. Ralph

    It may look bleak for small towns now but the future may bring a big surprise. I think it entirely possible that cities will become obsolete within the next ten to twenty years. Firstly because they become less and less necessary the more wired the country becomes. And then, to refer merely to today's news, there are Syria's chemical and biological weapons. Which apparently exist in abundance and may easily become the al-Qaeda weapon of choice once it gets its hands on them. Would you want to live in a big city then or would you rather have a nice home in an obscure little town far away from it all?

    July 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      This guy is the first answer that is truly correct. When you see movies like the Sum of all Fears or I am legend you have to think that they are far fetched and a story, however provide an incubator for reality. I lived in NY and moved 3 months before 9-11. I worked at the trade center. I moved back to ho hum Wisconsin smallish town. When a man cannot feed his family with dignity he will do whatever is required to do it. That is either kill and steal (big town) or move to where you can live off the land and your neighbor is there for you. You are all kidding your selves that small towns will go away. It will be the occupants that give them up.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  83. michael

    CNN is funny, you lefties need to make a decision. Continue to destroy middle america with your crazy Obama style economic deals or wake up and get out of the way and let the middle class and small communities survive away from all the insaine regulations you impose on them. Wake up

    July 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • musings

      Michael, if you think clean groundwater is insane regulation, then you of course do not mind fracking up the aquifers either. And being poisoned by the greed-heads.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  84. BLB

    I grew up a few miles from Lone Rock and my parents still live in the same small town. 24 years ago when I graduated high school was the last year for the high school due to dwindling enrollment. The writing was on the wall then that fewer children mean fewer adults which in turn means even fewer children as the cycle continues. Overall, I am quite happy that I grew up in a small town. I wish my children could do the same, but in a small town from 25+ years ago as they are now quite different from what I experienced.

    July 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  85. teresa

    great topic to write about! I've lived in small town USA all my life, though it is a College town. It has been a great place to live, grow up and get older in. However, in the economic downslide.... college enrollment has gone up and families are moving out of our town. We simply can't afford all the new construction going on supposedly to help bring in dollars and more students. We also can't figure out how they are renovating our whole "down town". The local govt is trying to get a new police station now and starting their campaign that the place is falling down. Until 6 months ago.. it was the nicest looking building in town.

    As the town seems to be progressing with new construction, the Powers That Be are going to soon find out, we families
    don't want to live here anymore and are going to take our tax dollars elsewhere. Within the next year or so, I am saying NO to my small home town that I loved. I aint no fool. In 20 yrs. or so, I believe my hometown- that almost everyone in the USA would know if i said it- may very well be down to skeleton size. The City govt. is making this town very very un-family friendly. The family atmosphere is what brought students from all over the world to this small town USA for skool

    July 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Equator

      Your small town is Tucson, Arizona.

      July 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Jonathan

    I don't get it. The last paragraph says citizens are question why the government isn't promoting jobs in these small towns. Why should it be the government's responsibility to bring jobs into small towns that young people would consider sticking around for? These towns have to evolve and progress or they die off. Simple as that. It's sad but that is the direction our society is moving towards.

    July 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • t

      Funny how they want the government to "create more jobs" but they don't want to follow and of the new regulations that come with Government..

      July 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      The young people don't leave over jobs, they leave to go somewhere that has a vibrant nightlife. Living in a town of 150 people with only 3 other young people within a 5 year window of age to date is not much fun.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Dr Feelbad

        Young people sure as all heck leave for jobs. A growling stomach supercedes dating desires.

        July 23, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  87. John

    The first four comments show the sheep mentality of the Liberals. Obey the government no matter what; attack anyone that does not trust the government. You are already slaves-you just do not realize it.

    This same government that is bankrupting America; that you so SLAVISHLY obey. Dumb Gomers

    July 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      @JOHN: while what you say is 100% true... it never will be recieved in others' minds if you toss in name calling and belittling.

      July 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • michael

        I disagree with you teresa and agree with John. We have tried to reason wtih the nutjob leftest sheep. You only know one thing. Attack anything that is not the left and show ignorance. So if that is all you guys know we will respond in kind. I am tired of the ignorance and lies spread by the left media and the insaine left posters on these boards. All you guys know is hate, so we will start to match that because that is all you guys know.

        July 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
        • Pritco

          Many studies have shown that liberals tend to be more-intelligent than conservatives. As far as "lies", the conservatives have the market cornered there.

          July 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
        • Southerner01

          Pritco,

          If liberals are more intelligent than conservatives, then why is it liberals who are worried that requiring something as simple as a photo ID to register to vote will "disenfranchise" their voters? Besides, these "studies" are designed specifically to show the desired results. Take the U of Maryland study that found Fox viewers to be "more misinformed" than other news viewers. Half the questions were about popular right wing conspiracy theories. None of them were about the popular left wing conspiracy theories. If they had added some about the givernment causing 9/11 or Bush lying about the intelligence about WMDs in Iraq, the liberals would have gotten those wrong in greater numbers. If you make a survey specifically to show that one group is smater and tailor the questions to that purpose, not surprisingly, you will usually get that result.

          The truth is that as education levels rise, all the way up to the Master's degree level, people become increasingly conservative, and then there is a shift back toward liberal among PhDs. So Democrats have a disproportionally large share of both the most and the least educated, while Republicans have more of a normal distribution.

          July 22, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • dzerres

      You apparently prefer drinking well water contaminated by sewage. Fox News is sewage for the brain and now you advocate drinking sewage water for the rest of you. Makes sense, though.

      July 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  88. MannyHM

    Invite and encourage folks to immigrate to your place. Somebody still has to do the work, not just count money and profits. Use of septic should be discouraged instead use composting toilet.

    July 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Random Commenter

    What's the problem?

    Mankind's encroachment on wilderness has devastated our natural fauna. Especially in places like Iowa where herds of North American Bison once roamed in the millions across the continent grazing on the grasslands, now we have people with fenced in yards, highways, and all that. May this be the first step in restoring the natural balance.

    It is highly impractical as a society to be so sprawled. And we wonder why our resources dwindle.

    July 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justme

      the problem is that if we leave our small towns we will have to live in cities with people like you. Who wants that?

      July 21, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  90. thebest12211

    All this has residents questioning the hand of government: feeling that the government is not promoting new jobs in rural areas and at the same time is requiring those areas to put in new, costly infrastructure
    You are kidding, right? The MidWest and the South exclusively vote Republican and want LESS government spending EXCEPT when when THEY are in need and then they WANT the government to spend money.

    The midsection of the country continually vote for States Rights with the support of Justice Scalia and as soon as they get in trouble, they want to be bailed out by the Federal Government. My suggestion is that we need to force the South and Mid West to live by the philospophy that they live by...Learn to be self reliant and not dependent on the Federal Government...
    How is going to work for them?

    July 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Exactly. They seem to miss the point that the more they support tea party and big business candidates the less they help they will have. Sadly in places like kansas, the dakotas, iowa and other places, big business like Koch industries can buy all the elections they need and they are definately not the give back to the community type

      July 21, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      It would work just fine if you also cut off the federal taxation of those states.

      July 22, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Bev

      There was not one thing said by any of the people in the interview about wanting a government hand out or the government to give us jobs or fix our problems. If the government would stay out of things and let us take care of ourselves and each other, everyone including Lone Rock would be better off.
      The last thing we are is a nosy town, feeling sorry for ourselves. We are simply a tiny town struggling to survive as long as the Lord see's fit to let us do so. When He says it is time to move on, we will.

      July 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Bev Householder

    Lisa & Emma, We just read and listened to your Lone Rock article. We are very impressed, you did a great job. You gals have been the topic of conversation in town all week. Thanks so much for choosing us. It was a joy meeting you and sharing our stories. I even enjoyed my short stint as chauffeur. Have a great remainder of your trip.
    Bev & Larry Householder

    July 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emma

      Bev, we couldn't have asked for a more lovely chauffeur! Cheers!

      July 21, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Wow, your story is almost exactly what my sister went through with my mom. The only difference is that it took my mom about 12 hours – mom was particularly hard-headed🙂 She didn't realize how much she depended on my sister until she had to cut off her shirt because she couldn't get it off over her head. Yeah, mom had a temper, too. BTW, I'm also 57😉
      And as a result of all this drama, my sisters and I have resolved that we will NOT put our children through that pain – yes, it is painful making your mother face her dependence, particularly one as independent as ours. We have all resolved to help each other face assisted living when the time comes and not wait until it becomes a family crisis.

      July 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
      • hannah1

        Would someone tell me what this has to do with the subject article????????????/

        July 23, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |