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Thirteen Ways to Kill Your Community is the title of a book co-authored by Doug Griffiths, and Kelly Clemmer, an award-winning journalist with The Wainwright Review and The Wainwright Star Chronicle newspapers.
Their ambitious goal in writing the book was not to provide a manual for those wanting to drive away people, eliminate jobs, undermine businesses and wreck a town, it’s really about how to improve a community by promoting growth, ensuring prosperity and building for the future by following the advice in reverse.
The authors point out that everyone has visions and plans, but constantly do things that sabotage those goals and dreams because it’s difficult to remain conscious of how each of our decisions and choices fits in with our long term plans.
Similarly, communities want to be successful, but they make decisions that may seem inconsequential or suit their short term needs, but that circumvent their long term goals for success.
When I read the list of the thirteen ways communities ruin their futures with decisions they make or fail to make, and emphasizing that the most important aspect is understanding and recognizing the underlying actions, I was totally excited that we have or are actively addressing each and every one of them.
Here’s the authors’ complete list of ways to kill your community:  1.) Don’t have quality water;  2.) Don’t attract business.  3.) Ignore your youth;  4.) Deceive yourself about your real needs or values;  5.) Shop elsewhere;  6.) Don’t paint;  7.) Don’t cooperate;  8.) Live in the past;  9.) Ignore your seniors;  10.) Reject everything new;  11.) Ignore outsiders;  12.) Become complacent;  13.) Don’t take responsibility.
We have quality water and the city’s investment in our state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility has assured that for years to come. Our local businesses have an active voice in the community and market well the shop at home first concept. This community is in love with its youth, offering first class education and recreational facilities. The chamber and Industrial Development Authority are focusing the community toward a collective, beneficial vision and promoting the benefits of achieving a better place to live. City, county and community groups are working to make the city and county a cleaner community. BetterWay is directing us to become a community of mutual cooperation and one that respects our past, lives in the present and keeps its eye on the future. We love our seniors. We love visitors and we are just itching to make this community even better so we can show it off even more.
 I had a major reaction to # 13 – don’t take responsibility – because I’ve lamented the tendency for some of us to blame others for our problems instead of taking responsibility for our contribution to those problems and working cooperatively to seek solutions.
Although I was not born or raised  here, this is my community now and I have a vested interest in its future and I am determined to give 110% to make it the best it can be for all of us who have the wonderful opportunity to call it home.
How about you? Let’s find a way to put aside our petty differences, work together and make our home even better – now!

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