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Heartland Center in the News

Below are some recent news articles featuring the Heartland Center and its programs.

“Field Trip Shows Off Success Stories: Iowa Delegation Visits Holt County”

By Luann Schindler Norfolk Daily News

O’NEILL — When the Western Iowa Development Association wanted to scout out the best practices in rural development, the group headed west — to Holt County.  On Monday and Tuesday, 20 visitors from 12 communities located in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, visited three

Holt County communities to see the HomeTown Competitiveness (HTC) framework in action.

HTC provides a long-term approach to rural community sustainability through four pillars: building leadership, expanding community philanthropy, energizing entrepreneurship and engaging youth.

“HTC has helped individual communities, as well as the county, and this field trip shows our guests what we’re doing and what we’ve accomplished,” said Nicole Sedlacek, Holt County economic development director. “It’s an opportunity to show how far we’ve come in the last five


The Iowa delegation was made up of a diverse cross-section of Pottawattamie County residents, including government officials, business owners, economic development personnel and interested citizens.

“Rural Nebraska Reaches Inward to Meet External Changes”

W.K. Kellogg Foundation website – 2009

When author Willa Cather talked about the “human yearning for something enduring, without shadow of change,” she could have been describing the wishful mindset of small-town America at the end of the 20th century. In too many rural areas, a steady stream of decline has drained communities of population and opportunity.

In Cather’s native Nebraska today, an initiative called HomeTown Competitiveness (HTC) is teaching small towns statewide that collaborating to take control of change may be the key to preserving rural towns – with 21st century improvements. Read more.

“Model of excellence”

Omaha World-Herald – September 28, 2008

Examples of excellence in entrepreneurship dot the Nebraska landscape. Such economic vision is critical to maintaining and growing businesses and communities in rural and urban areas.

Outsiders are paying attention. Recently, a group of 30 entrepreneurship coaches from south-central Kentucky visited the Cornhusker State and came away impressed by what they observed. Read more.

“Mythology feeds debate on future of small towns”

Lincoln Journal Star – September 8, 2008

The Journal Star’s editorial on Aug. 17 called for a public debate to spawn new and creative ideas on how to help Nebraska’s small towns thrive. The editorial cited data indicating that Nebraska towns since 1890 have shrunk in median size. On the average, however, town size grew from 939 in 1890 to 2,147 in 2000, counting the towns that survived between then and now (and excluding Omaha and Lincoln).

Conventional wisdom, so-called, often drives what we think is true about small towns. Here are the Heartland Center for Leadership Development’s “Six Myths about the Future of Small Towns,” which turn conventional wisdom on its head. Read more.