Editor’s Column: Tourism is good, stopping economic leaks is good, too

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There’s been a lot of talk about tourism in the last few months. How can we attract people to our

Niki Turner
communities? What will make day trippers and weekend travelers and long-term guests come visit? We’ve packed our summer calendars with festivals and activities that will appeal to residents and visitors alike, and prepped ourselves to welcome out-of-town visitors. Those are all good things to do. Tourism is a fabulous way to boost the local economy, as our neighboring communities have learned. As I crossed off days on my planner for all our summer events I had a random thought. (Beware of random thoughts, they can be disruptive.)
Our little towns used to be much more self-sufficient. Meeker once boasted three grocery stores, clothing stores, a general store and more… all at the same time. Rangely had two grocery stores, and multiple small shops to meet the needs of its citizens. Going out of town to shop was always an option, of course. During Prohibition the editor of the Meeker Herald pointed out that folks who were missing their booze simply traveled to Garfield County to stock up. Some things never change. People leave RBC to stock up on all sorts of things they can’t get at home (or don’t feel like they can afford at home) every week.
So what if devoted some energy and attention to making our communities more self-sustaining? It’s one thing to go out of town to visit family, or for a weekend away, but we shouldn’t feel compelled—by price constraints or by limited selection—to leave town once a week to keep our cupboards and closets filled. What can we do to reduce economic leakage, to strengthen our commercial infrastructure and make it easier to stay home and shop than it is to make the trip out-of-town? Got ideas? Share them with us!

I’d like to extend thanks to the person who declared us “fake news” last week. Your comment caused me to go back and review my research. I don’t mind doing that. Fact-checking is fun.
Facts, unfortunately, are irrelevant when it comes to human nature. As humans, we like to latch on to a thought, an opinion or a belief, and attach our personal identity to that ideology. By definition, an ideology is “a system of ideas and ideals, especially one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy.”
We don’t want to define ourselves from within, we want to be defined by something external.
That’s frequently revealed by a tendency to parrot trendy catchphrases that garner attention from those who agree with us, which strokes our egos and make us feel justified and self-righteous, but does nothing to improve the state of the world in which we live. That tendency is not limited to either side of the aisle, either. We have “sensitive flowers” and “snowflakes” on both extremes. It’s high time we all stop being so hypersensitive and start acting like mature adults, which is challenging. Adulting is hard. We don’t have to agree with each other on every point, we don’t have to share the same belief system to work together for the common good, and if we disagree we don’t have to call each other names to justify ourselves.

At least once or twice a week someone calls and asks if we got his or her email. When we say “no,” we often ask them to spell out the email address to which they sent their information. Almost across the board they’ve got “herald” misspelled—“hearld” is common, so is Harold. An advertiser I was talking to (spelling my email address for) last week said, “Oh, like ‘hark the herald angels sing’.” That’s a nice way to remember it, I think.