LSTA.com releases eye-catching new website features!

LSTA.com homepage

Vivid background photos, an eye-catching header image, and custom font choices for the page title give LSTA members even more ways to draw in visitors and display their community’s unique personality.

LoveSmallTownAmerica.com proudly introduces exciting new features to add an additional level of personalization and flair to community websites.Community webpages now include an eye-catching header image and premium level members have additional custom options designed to make a bold impression on visitors. Continue reading

Sheridan County Awarded $600 for Community Development

Sheridan County and Hoxie received nearly $600 as part of the Love Small Town America Shared Success Program.

Sheridan County and Hoxie received nearly $600 as part of the Love Small Town America Shared Success Program. Left-right: Brent Moss, Nicole Godek, Mitch Moss, Julianne Shoup, Darnelle Keith, Darren Oelke, Krista Rice.

Love Small Town America, Inc. awarded Sheridan County with $576 as part of the Love Small Town America Shared Success Program. Sheridan County and Hoxie received an award for helping enroll small businesses and other organizations as members on the county’s new webpage.

Sheridan County Extension Community Development PDC will use the funds to advertise the webpages and to pay for maintaining current information on the webpage. The committee plans to invest those funds in updating business listings and using newspaper ads to publicize the county’s new online presence www.discoversheridancounty.com  on the LoveSmallTownAmerica website.

“In the past, our community has not had a strong online presence or a central location for community members to find community information. That is what we hope our Love Small Town America sites will become for our community. Our goal was to create a sustainable website that the community interacts with and we are excited to see how it will grow through Love Small Town America,” said Julianne Shoup, Twin Creeks Extension Agent.

Residents are encouraged to submit events, job postings, and community pictures to the website (sheridancountyks@lovesmalltownamerica.com), follow the Sheridan County and Love Small Town America Facebook pages, and consider how their business could benefit from creating a page on the Sheridan County and Hoxie websites.

The additional exposure the county and city get due to the Love Small Town America webpage are key for awareness of what our community has to offer and for growth, says Shoup. 
 
“The Shared Success Program is a great way to create a maintenance fund that will sustain your website over time and help keep the content current, which is vital to the success of a community website,” explains Shoup. 
 
Sheridan County received a scholarship from the Kansas Department of Commerce to cover the cost of their first year of membership on Love Small Town America as part of a campaign to provide websites to ROZ counties. Another scholarship round will occur during spring 2014. 
 
Love Small Town America is dedicated to providing small towns with an affordable, comprehensive online presence and access to a national network of small town promotional opportunities and resources. Love Small Town America integrates a comprehensive website package with free advertising for members and rich features like job listings, a community calendar, and a photo gallery.
 
For more information about joining Love Small Town America, contact:

Luke Mahin, Sales 

E-mail: Luke@LoveSmallTownAmerica.com

Phone: 785-374-3067

About Love Small Town America: 

Love Small Town America, Inc. is a Grainfield, Kansas based online network for small towns founded by Nicole Godek providing full-service online solutions for small towns to get their town, local businesses, real estate offerings, events calendar, and more online and to promote their needs and assets while also building an international network that members can leverage to reach their goals.  Love Small Town America provides professional and innovative webpage design, content writing, webpage updates, website marketing, web hosting, website maintenance, SEO, website renovations, and social media advertising for members. All-inclusive webpage packages start at $225 annually. For more information, visit www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com

 

Highlights of Ness County

Scenic vistas like this await you in Ness County.

Scenic vistas like this await you in Ness County.

It’s hard to know which historical treasure defines Ness County, Kansas most. Is it the homestead of famed inventor George Washington Carver? Or is it the 19th century limestone bank building known as the “Skyscraper of the Plains”? For all these reasons, and many more, Ness County is a proud home to heritage that celebrates the past while looking to the horizon. Continue reading

Everyone’s Favorite Home-Grown Festival: The Sheridan County Fair

The Sheridan County Fair is fun for the whole family.

The Sheridan County Fair is fun for the whole family.

Amidst the whirling carnival rides and stalks of corn (entered in Tallest Corn Contest, of course), the heart of the Sheridan County Fair beats in time with the community. This Kansas fair is completely volunteer-organized and run and unique, personal touches fill the summer event from start to finish.

The 2013 Sheridan County Fair theme is “Blue Jeans and Children’s Dreams” – a fitting homage to an event that figures in many fond memories and draws participants to Sheridan County every year.

Sheridan County Fair

The Sheridan County Fair is an annual treat.

“Everyone comes home for the Sheridan County Fair!” says Julianne Shoup, K-State Extension Agent.

The Sheridan County Fair features family favorites like the Friday evening parade, the rodeo, carnival, Kiss the Pig Contest, Tallest Corn Contest, and 4-H food auction and livestock sale. These events are a good time for spectators – but why watch when you can get in the middle of the action? Everyone is invited to enter something in the Sheridan County Fair, which showcases unique talents and crafts like restoring antiques and growing prize blooms.

The Sheridan County Fair carnival offers fun late into the summer night.

The Sheridan County Fair carnival offers fun late into the summer night.

Don’t miss the event that has northwestern Kansas talking, year after year. There’s still time to submit entries for the fair. Visit the Sheridan County Fair Board webpage for more details and entry forms or join them on Facebook.

Download a full schedule of events.

We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

Get the Best of the Internet with RSS

RSS feed

“Subscribe” to RSS Feeds from Love Small Town America Community Calendars.

Instead of browsing the internet, checking websites for updates and new content, wouldn’t it be great if you could instantly access the latest from your favorite sites? RSS (Often believed to stand for “Really Simple Syndication”) is technology that delivers up-to-date information from your favorite websites directly to you – in a format that saves you time and is saved for you to review at your leisure. Think of it is a subscription version of a news feed.

Using RSS feeds can not only make your internet browsing experience more fun – you can use them with Love Small Town America to keep up-to-date on important things like:

  • Updates to community calendars – know if the time of an event is changed!
  • New events on community calendars
  • To receive the latest from our blog about small town life and new LSTA opportunities

How to Use RSS

Depending on what type of computer and internet browser you’re using to surf the web, there are a few different ways of using RSS.

Get an RSS Reader – A variety of free “reader” programs exist online to aggregate the content you desire. Bloglines is a popular option, but there are many programs to try (search for “RSS Reader”). Using a reader allows you to “subscribe” to feeds from your favorite websites. New, unread content from the sites you’ve subscribed to will show up in your reader with bold headings. You can read all your content within the reader, instead of going to dozens of different websites, or click through to visit the site. It’s easy to track what you’ve read and notifications of new content is instant.

Clicking the "Subscribe" button on a webpage or blog will add that site to your reader.

Clicking the “Subscribe” button on a webpage or blog will add that site to your reader.

Use Your Internet Browser – Many internet browsers now have built-in RSS capability. You can use the “in-browser” reader directly through your browser, or you can use your browser preferences to designate an alternate RSS reader program (see above). If your browser visits a website with an RSS feed, the address bar will often display a “reader” graphic or another designation that lets you know that page has a feed. You can add content to your RSS reader by clicking the graphics during your web surfing session and read the marked content later.

In Safari, text like "RSS" or "Reader" appears in a blue  box on the right hand side of the address bar. Clicking it adds the current webpage to your feed.

In Safari, text like “RSS” or “Reader” appears in a blue box on the right hand side of the address bar. Clicking it adds the current webpage to your feed.

Deliver Straight to E-mail: Many websites also allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds via e-mail, if you don’t want to use an RSS reader. By subscribing via e-mail, you can get a daily summary of latest posts delivered straight to your inbox. Not all RSS feeds are available this way, but it can be a great way to get digests of information in a convenient format.

Sources:
http://www.problogger.net/what-is-rss/
http://paulstamatiou.com/how-to-getting-started-with-rss

Annual Race Celebrates Lifetime Fitness in Quinter, KS

runner in field

THE FUN RUNNER Here’s a fellow out for a run He takes it easy and its great fun. He may go one, three, or ten miles – He’ll be back late but all in smiles. If challenged to a race, He can set a fast pace. His moves are gentle, rhythmic and free, Whether he’s 14, 15, or 83. -Waldo McBurney

The annual Waldo McBurney 5K, 10K, 1 mile (marathon mile) and 200 meter kid’s race will be held in Quinter, KS on June 8, 2013. The race is sponsored by Castle Rock Wellness Center and has grown into a popular event for all ages.

“Participants have ranged in age from 2 to 85 over the years,” said one of the race organizers, Shelly Gruenbacher.

The race is named after Waldo McBurney, a Quinter resident who took up long distance running at age 65 and made waves internationally competing as a runner into his 100s before finally passing away in 2009 at age 106.

“Mr. McBurney himself really embodied our mission of ‘life-long fitness in Gove County’,” said Gruenbacher. McBurney was known for being America’s oldest worker, walking to his  office most days of the week even in his 100s.

The same group, including Gruenbacher, who organized the first Waldo race 6 years ago also rallied support for the Castle Rock Wellness Center. Now, the race serves as a fundraiser for the health and wellness facility. Participation has grown to well over 250 each year, said Gruenbacher, with many walkers and runners without local ties making the annual trek to Quinter.

This year, the race includes a 200-meter fun run for kids, a 1-mile walk/run for kids and adults, a 5K and a 10K. The 5K and 10K will kick off the races at 8:00 a.m. in the city park, with the 1-mile following at 9:30 a.m. and concluding with the 200m run at 10 a.m.

runners at Waldo McBurney race

The Waldo McBurney race is fun for all ages of walkers and runners.

All kids younger than 12 will receive a medal for participating, plus many children will complete a marathon mile that will be awarded at the end of the race. Grade school children will finish the final mile of a marathon, completed in short increments over the course of the months preceding the race, explained Gruenbacher.

racers at the finish line

All kids under age 12 will receive a medal.

“The variety of distances makes it a perfect race for any fitness level. Some years we have even had long term care staff or the Hope House kids pushing nursing home patients in wheelchairs across the finish line!”

A pastoral park setting adjacent to a community playground makes for a perfect family event. The Gove County Medical Center Is sponsoring a community health fair at the park and nearby city building to correspond with the race.

“This race and the fitness center itself would not be a reality without help from sponsors, donors, and volunteers all coming together to work for something positive in our community,” said Gruenbacher.

More information, including registration documents, is available online here.

Share it from the Rooftops – New Features on LSTA

Share pages and content, like new job postings, with the networks you use the most!

Share pages and content, like new job postings, with the networks you use the most!

We’re excited to announce that several new features are fully operational throughout our site! If you’ve visited recently, you may have noticed some new buttons at the top of each page.

New features allow visitors to share pages, subscribe to events, and more.

New features allow visitors to share pages, subscribe to events, and more.

Visitors to any of Love Small Town America’s community and business pages can now share specific content on a variety of networks. The above screen capture shows the options available on the community calendar page. You can share events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more —  AND you can even subscribe to receive updates via RSS feed. That means that residents of Quinter, for example, could subscribe to the Quinter calendar, and then be notified instantly each time an event in their community is added or changed.

On the far right, the iCal button allows visitors to add events directly to their Apple iCal, making it easy for everyone to stay in synch. Imagine you’re at the grocery store, and your iPhone buzzes, letting you know your son’s baseball game this weekend was canceled in time for you to pick up extra snacks for him and his friends – who you now know will be hanging around the house! With these new features – that’s a real possibility!

Pin it! You can even pin content from LoveSmallTownAmerica.com directly to Pinterest.

Pin it! You can even pin content from LoveSmallTownAmerica.com directly to Pinterest.

Or, the new sharing options make it a breeze to share, remember, or promote anything on our site. You could pin photos of a small town that you’d like to visit to your Pinterest “Vacations” board. Or, maybe you saw a job posting that would be perfect for someone you know. With a click, you can e-mail it straight to them, or post it on their Facebook page.

These are just a few of the things that you can do with our new features. We designed these with our members in mind, but they give our visitors just as many options. What do you think?

 

New Features Coming Soon

Google

Image source: phandroid.com

We’re always working on ways to make Love Small Town America more responsive to our members’ needs and more engaging. That’s why we’re excited to announce a few changes coming soon that we think will make our members’ webpages even more fun and useful! Which of these ideas do you like the best? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Social Media Share : We’ve harped on how important social media is before. Now, it will be easier than ever to share content from Love Small Town America through social media. We’re adding a “social media bar” to every page so people can easily share the news from those pages.
  2. Google Calendar : We are transferring our current calendar system to Google Calendar. This will make updates easier and will allow people to sync their Google Calendars with ours. This will also allow us to integrate RSS feeds on the calendar pages so people are updated when events have been added or changed. Let that sink in for a moment. This means if you follow the calendar of your son’s school sports team, if they change the time of a basketball game — it will be updated on your personal calendar!
  3. Pop-up Boxes : For the events calendar and business listings, we’re adding pop-up boxes to share more information for those events and business listings. It will be easy to find the phone number of a local business, for example, or see at a glance important details about a church bake sale.

What new feature do you think you would use the most? 

We are always growing our network of small towns, organizations, and businesses. If you’re interested in joining Love Small Town America and getting an affordable home on our small town network, e-mail us to get started or learn more here

 

Double D Family Mat Shop Thrives in Small Town

Double D's Non Slip Mats

Weather-resistant, Non-slip Double D Mats™ can be used inside or outside to provide sure footing and a quiet, firm, but resilient surface for livestock. Each tire tread woven into the mat is secured on both ends and fastened with stainless steel bolts in two places. Source: http://www.ddfamilymats.net/products/

Love Small Town America is the online home for some of small town America’s best businesses. We’re giving them a chance to share with the world just what makes them so special. Please welcome this month’s featured business to the Love Small Town America blog: Double D Family Mat Shop, Inc.! 

This year, Double D Family Mat Shop celebrates 17 years in business with a brand new website and branding overhaul that show this time-tested family business is growing and thriving in the 21st century. After nearly twenty years in business, the company has learned a few secrets to success. Continue reading

Fall 2012 Contest Winners!

First of all, we’d like to sincerely thank EVERYONE who entered our two contests. We’re always learning and growing and this was the first time we had tried a giveaway! The good news for all of you is that we LOVED it! So, keep your ears open for your next opportunity to enter to win some great small town goodies (like the fabulous Country Sudz gift basket!) or a chance to join Love Small Town America!

Now, without further ado, we’d like to announce our lucky winners! One will be receiving a luxurious spa basket from one of Love Small Town America’s great small town businesses and the other will join us in showcasing the best small towns in America!   Continue reading