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    Jeffrey City, WY: A mining boomtown gone bust

    A boomtown is a community that experiences rapid population and economic growth; very often it is in conjunction with a new profitable industry. There are over 50 such communities within the United States and Jeffrey City, Wyoming is one of these communities. Jeffrey City is located in Freemont County Wyoming, on highway 287 about 90 plus miles west of Casper and about 60 plus miles east of Lander.

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    First Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years Begins Operation

    The United States first “new” nuclear power plant, the Watts Bar 2 reactor, has become operational in Tennessee. This Tennessee Valley Authority, (TVA) 1,150-megawatt reactor is online and producing electricity for 650,000 homes and businesses. The Watts Bar 2 is the 100th nuclear reactor to operate in the United States and the first new reactor to open in 20 years.

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    Colorado Fracking, Faulty Wells and Water Contamination

    Neela Banerjee of Inside Climate News wrote an article on how a study of fracking does not necessary contaminate drinking water wells. The research finding shows that methane contamination of water wells in Colorado is due to faulty oil and gas well construction rather than hydraulic fracturing. The study of aquifer contamination within Colorado was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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    People Skills in Leaders

    Richard Leider, a founding partner of the Inventure Group, wrote in Forbes magazines, “People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.” In our world where internet openness provides a format for making quick, and sometimes regrettable comments, and where email and text communication is used too frequently in place of a personal conversation, how important are people skills in leaders?

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    Being Present

    How can you tell if someone is listening to you? I mean truly paying attention and comprehending the words you are saying. Being present has become a profound topic because we seem to come up with more distractions all the time. We can easily blame our distractions on our electronic devices, our workload, and the appointment we need to keep tomorrow. While we value connection, we often fail in connecting with the people who matter the most.

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    What Keeps Steering Committee Members Coming to Meetings?

    There are a couple of regional projects developing that I am lucky to be a part of because great people keep coming back together to work towards a common goal. What encourages them continue to make these projects, and the necessary meetings that go along with them, a priority? According to Abigail Stevenson, Collective Impact Forum, some “f-words” could be the deciding factor in keeping steering committee members coming back.

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    The Real Trends to Follow in 2016

    Every year experts make predictions about the new trends to watch in the future. This year is no exception, but I came across an interesting article by James Manyika, Director of McKinsey Global Institute that really hit some trends that I think are worth noting. Manyika cites four powerful forces disrupting the global economy and throwing many of our old assumptions into question. Each one is big on its own, but they are happening together and amplifying each other.

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    Does Your Organization Have an Innovative Mindset?

    Every organization, large or small, has a culture. Sometimes that culture is intentional and strategic, and sometimes it happens through a reputation that is built organically. Some organizations post their mission statements visibly and others would have a hard time finding theirs’. Other subtleties make culture evident when meetings are allowed to consistently start late, or in the way new Board members are selected.

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    Face-to-Face Interaction Grows Your Network

    The balance between face-to-face interactions and other fast, easy ways to communicate with many people at the same time is in question. Today’s technology offers options never before possible like mass email messages, Facebook alerts, Twitter feeds and even meetings over personal computers. How do you measure the impact of fast and easy versus the importance of in-person contact?

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    Board Development: Elected & appointed services

    SDSU Extension can provide what is called situational leadership program design. The Community Vitality Team will analyze the situation that the board is in and determine what training might be appropriate. The program can be tailored to meet your specific board development needs. The Board Development Program can be delivered in blocks of 4 hours of training. The content varies depending on the analysis of the individual board.

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    Sustainable Local Foods

    SDSU Extension programming in sustainable local food systems is a multidisciplinary programming area involving Community Vitality, Food Safety, Horticulture, Livestock and Nutrition. Extension Community Vitality focuses on increasing access to food by helping local teams develop or enhance their community food projects. We work to provide development opportunities for local food entrepreneurs through trainings and personal coaching. Additionally, we partner on state-wide efforts to enhance the local food system of South Dakota.

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    Small Business Beginnings

    Small business is a vital part of South Dakota’s economy, representing nearly 97% of all employers and more than 60% of the state’s private sector workforce. SDSU Extension has developed a series of tools designed to provide technical assistance to early stage entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and existing small firms. These tools assist business owners in determining the feasibility of a proposed business venture and creating a solid business plan to support it.

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    Stronger Economies Together

    Stronger Economies Together (SET) is a partnership between USDA Rural Development, the Southern Rural Development Center and SDSU Extension. The program has been used in 25+ states and has a proven track record. Stronger Economies Together (SET) enables communities and counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint for their multicounty region that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of that region.

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    Great Community Book Read

    The Great Community Book Read is offered to encourage citizens to learn about and discuss  community-wide issues that are impacting the sustainability of South Dakota’s small towns. Each participating community will be challenged to identify and implement simple action steps to address the issues that are selected. SDSU Extension Community Vitality will provide community coaching during the implementation of the action steps.

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    Congratulations Graduates! Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

    Congratulations to all the young people celebrating graduations this month, whether is it a high school graduation or a college graduation. You have a reason to be proud. You have dedicated years of learning and now it is time to go out and spread your wings! Yes, this is an exciting time for you. There are so many options! You can continue your education. You can get a job. You can start a business. And then remember, once you have had some of the adventures you always dreamed of, you can go home.

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    Entrepreneurial Resource Provider Conference Insights: Why didn’t I think of that?

    Members of the SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team spent two days in April attending a “Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities” Conference in McCook, Nebraska. The conference, hosted by University of Nebraska Extension, offered an interesting venue twist: conference sessions were held in main street businesses. First tried by Michigan State University with success, McCook replicated the innovative idea.

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    Lemmon Area Charitable & Economic Development: In the Spotlight

    Like many small rural areas, Lemmon Area Charitable and Economic Development (LACED) faces challenges and they have succeeded in overcoming these challenges to attain several wins with economic development within Lemmon. I had an opportunity to speak with Dave Johnson, executive director for Lemmon Area Charitable and Economic Development (LACED). Below you will read his responses to the questions I asked.

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    Campbell County Economic Development, SD: In the Spotlight

    Like many small rural areas, Campbell County Economic Development Corp. faces challenges and they have succeeded in overcoming these challenges to attain several wins with economic development within their rural communities. I had an opportunity to speak with Andrew Van Kuren, coordinator for Campbell County Economic Development Corp. and below you will read his responses to the questions I asked.

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    SDSU Extension Community Vitality Team Bits & Pieces

    SDSU Extension uses the Appreciative Inquiry approach as we assist organizations and communities with strategic planning. Our 1-day session, recently used by the Yankton Chamber of Commerce, allows groups to find their strengths, and then to build on those strengths for future growth. As participants reflect on what has gone well in the past, they can vision about possibilities for the next 1-3 years that eventually turn into action ideas for the future.

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    South Dakota Road Trip – Headed East: Part II

    Taking the less-traveled roads in South Dakota may very well mean great incentives for the traveler – such as a slower pace and the opportunity to discover treasures that others may simply pass by. If you read my previous article, I hope I convinced you to take a quick trip yet this fall to visit some of our communities and locations that offer opportunities to enjoy nature and explore.

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    Wagner Area Growth Sponsors Small Business Beginnings

    Aspiring and current business owners in the Wagner and Lake Andes area recently participated in Small Business Beginnings, a series of five business classes offered by SDSU Extension Community Vitality an organized by Wagner Area Growth. During these classes, participants planned for success in business by having the opportunity to write or update their business plans, participate in “board” meetings, and learn from a variety of speakers that covered everything from business structure to taxes and licensing to financial statements and finance options.

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    Conference Promotes Business in South Dakota

    Each year the Governor’s Office of Economic Development hosts a conference aimed at promoting and growing business in South Dakota. This year’s conference was held in Sioux Falls in mid-April, and featured a keynote speaker on customer service, common-sense breakout sessions for communities of all sizes, and awards given to individuals and a community for their efforts in economic development.

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    Selling Doesn’t End at the Purchase

    What is the difference between making a sale and building a business? Making a sale is just that. You exchange money for the purchase of a good or a service. Building a business is what you do to encourage that customer to return to make future purchases. There are businesses that do a good job of what you may call “catch and release”. The customer is there, makes a purchase, and then leaves – maybe to never return again.

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