News Release: Eight Kansas ROZ Communities Awarded Scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce to Create Websites

Grainfield, Kansas, February 4, 2015 — Love Small Town America, Inc., an online network for small towns, announces eight Rural Opportunity Zone communities were awarded website scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC). Four counties and four cities in Kansas were awarded website scholarships to sponsor community webpages on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com and membership in the Love Small Town America (LSTA) network. Counties: Comanche County, Graham County, Montgomery County, and Sheridan County Cities: Galena, Hoxie, Palco, and Summerfield.

All eight of the selected communities participate in the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zone program. The website scholarship awards were made by the Kansas Department of Commerce after a competitive application process.

“As a non-profit foundation it is important to make sure our mission and information is heard by not only our county residents, but by friends of Comanche County far and wide. We knew when applying for the Love Small Town America website scholarship that it was a fantastic opportunity to share our mission. We look forward to LSTA providing an informative, professional and interactive site that will show what a great place Comanche County is to live, work and raise a family and keep our residents and friends of Comanche County up-to-date on current happenings and all of our great plans for the future,” said Loretta Heft, Executive Director of the Comanche County Economic Development Foundation.

Webpages for Comanche County, Galena, Hoxie, and Sheridan County are already online. The other four community webpages will be online during winter/spring 2015. Hoxie and Sheridan County received a website scholarship from the KDOC for the second year in the row.

These eight ROZ communities join twelve other Kansas communities on the LSTA network, which is expanding across the state and nation.

“Offering small communities and counties an avenue to showcase themselves to people across the world is so important to us. W’re thrilled to have partnered with the Kansas Department of Commerce for a second year to make the important task of building and maintaining a web presence easier for those ROZ Scholarship winners. Now they can sit back and feel like their looming to-do lists are lighter and in good hands,” said Nicole Godek, LSTA CEO.

The scholarship is designed to provide another powerful tool for ROZ communities to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

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.

“As small towns we have pride in our quality of life and work ethic. Finding this type of lifestyle doesn’t have to be difficult for those looking for it,” said Godek.

Love Small Town America’s mission and experience with web design spurred a partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce in order to offer more communities a resource to make their efforts to grow successful.

For more information about joining Love Small Town America, contact:

Shelley Paasch, Sales 
E-mail: Shelley@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 businesses and $499 annually for communities. For more information, visit www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com.

Small town population: The story behind the numbers

73 Kansas counties participate in the Rural Opportunity Zones program.

73 Kansas counties participate in the Rural Opportunity Zones program.

Small communities are often worried about population. According to a Carsey Institute report, rural America contains 75% of the country’s land and 17% of its population. Understanding shifts in population and 21st century opportunities in rural America are important for everyone.

Stereotypes abound about small town, rural America. Stereotypes like backwards towns, where everyone wears overalls and drives a tractor. Stereotypes like isolated ghost towns. Stereotypes like a dead end road of limited opportunities.

In reality, only 6% of rural residents are employed in agriculture. In reality, many small towns are meccas for new types of industries, or at least, new-to-them industries. In reality, many small towns are becoming tourist destinations, research centers, or tranquil homes for telecommuters.

Population numbers mean a lot to small communities. Population means workers filling jobs, families purchasing homes, and children filling schools. Population means a tax base, voter base, and volunteer pool. Population means friends and neighbors and a vibrant existence.

The Rural Opportunity Zones program is one way Kansas is turning the tide of out-migration. Young people in their 20s are predominantly the demographic moving out of rural America. The ROZ program extends a tempting offer – move to certain Kansas counties and start life fresh, without the monkey of student loan debt on your back and with enticing income tax offers. Start your life where your community appreciates you, where your presence is vital, where you can fill an important role.

Since the program’s launch in 2012, 1,450 people have applied to move to ROZ counties. Many of these people have spouses and families. Maybe 1,450 seems like a huge number to you; maybe it seems small. But, in a town like our headquarters of Grainfield, population 277, even one new family makes a difference.

If one new family moved to every small town in the country, how would that change the landscape of rural America? It’s an exciting thought. Maybe one town would get a doctor, or another would find the perfect volunteer to run the school carnival, or to restore a beautiful Victorian home. Every person moving to rural America makes a difference. That’s why we’re so excited to support a program that has thousands of people interested in moving to rural Kansas.

Currently, we’re proud to call 6 of the 73 counties participating in the Kansas ROZ program LSTA members. Hopefully, this number will continue to grow! Our 2014 ROZ Website Scholarship is accepting applications until May 1, 2014. Learn more here.

Eight Kansas ROZ Communities Awarded Scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce to Create Websites

It’s here! It’s here! The day has finally arrived when we can share with you the new communities that will be joining Love Small Town America as a result of the Rural Opportunity Zone website scholarships! Keep reading for the full text of our news release!

Eight Kansas ROZ Communities Awarded Scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce to Create Websites

Grainfield, Kansas, June 24, 2013 — Love Small Town America, Inc., an online network for small towns, announces eight Rural Opportunity Zone communities were awarded website scholarships by the Kansas Department of Commerce (KDOC). The KDOC sponsored a limited number of scholarships that pay for ROZ community webpages on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com and membership in the Love Small Town America network. Four counties and four cities in Kansas were awarded website scholarships. Counties: Ness County, Republic County, Sheridan County, and Smith County. Cities: Bird City, Courtland, Hoxie, and Lebanon.

All eight of the selected communities participate in the Kansas Rural Opportunity Zone program. The website scholarship awards were made by the Kansas Department of Commerce after a competitive application process.

“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, Sheridan County K-State Extension Agent.

Webpages for Hoxie and Sheridan County are already online. The other six community webpages will be online during summer 2013. These eight ROZ communities join eight other Kansas communities on the Love Small Town America network, which is expanding nationwide.

“I’m ecstatic to bring eight fellow ROZ communities to Love Small Town America. This not only means providing a place for their residents and nearby townspeople to go to find information about events and businesses, but also provides more options for the audience that visits the Love Small Town America site looking for a small town to settle in or visit,” said Nicole Godek, LSTA CEO.

The scholarship is designed to provide another powerful tool for ROZ communities to recruit new residents by providing a package of webpages to establish a community portal on www.LoveSmallTownAmerica.com. This opens the door for other community attractions, including businesses, churches, schools, organizations, and more, to have a web presence as well.

“The Smith County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) does not have a website and we are so grateful for the opportunity to more widely advertise the events and places of interest throughout Smith County. Many already know of the great hunting and fishing, but there are lesser-known places of interest that have not gotten recognition before. We want to get the word out that it’s easy to come and experience Smith County, Kansas,” said Cindy Stones, Smith County CVB member.

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.

“As our network continues to grow, so do the opportunities and the future for our small towns and counties. It’s a win-win situation in my eyes. Plus, I’m excited to utilize the site to see what events my family can venture to. I’ve always said every small town has a treasure, whether it’s a unique business, fun event or great restaurant. Now it’ll be easy to find them!” said Godek.

Love Small Town America’s mission and experience with web design spurred a partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce in order to offer more communities a resource to make their efforts to grow successful.

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.

About Nicole Godek:

Nicole Godek graduated from Kansas State with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. Since then Nicole has worked as a designer at large and small firms across the country before founding her own graphic and web design business, StirStick Studio. As CEO and founder for Love Small Town America, Nicole oversees a team of professionals located across the Midwest as she pursues the mission of bringing small town America online and into the future. Love Small Town America assists small communities, businesses, and organizations by integrating cutting edge web programming with modern marketing concepts to make professional web pages affordable for small towns and increasing their reach through the power of the Love Small Town America network.

LSTA & KS Dept. of Commerce Offering ROZ Communities Free Webpages

Love Small Town America and the KS Dept. of Commerce Have Partnered to Bring ROZ Communities Free Webpages

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

ROZs Can Join LSTA for FREE

From now until Feb. 13, ROZ Communities (towns or counties) can apply for a free webpage and Love Small Town America membership. You get a great, worry-free web presence, free advertising and promotion, a listing in our directory of towns and/or counties, and connections to a growing network of small towns. It’s easy, it’s free, it makes a difference. The Kansas Department of Commerce feels so strongly that this is a vital step for ROZ communities to take, they’re footing the bill so ROZ communities can get in on this great opportunity. Scholarships are limited, so apply as soon as possible to ensure you are one of the lucky ones!

What is the ROZ Webpage Scholarship?

A one-year scholarship (valued at $225+) that covers the cost of a community webpage and membership in the Love Small Town America network to provide accurate, interesting information about your community, share events, post jobs and real estate listings, connect local businesses with publicity and affordable webpages of their own, and get your community noticed!

Check out a community webpage and click through the different tabs to see the many features. Visit: Grainfield, KS.

What Are the Benefits of a Love Small Town America Webpage?

Our members are part of a network of small communities. Every member gets a full-featured web presence that is completely hassle-free. We do all the work, from building the site, to writing the copy, to performing maintenance and updates. We also include free promotion as part of the deal to help you show the world why they should call a small town home and to showcase the best small towns in America. Learn more about the many benefits you’ll receive as a Love Small Town America member when you apply for the webpage scholarship.

How Do I Apply?

Fill out a scholarship application and return it to Chris Harris at charris@kansascommerce.com. Communities (counties or towns) participating in the ROZ program with a population of 5,000 or fewer can apply.

Or: Contact Luke Mahin at Luke@Lovesmalltownamerica.com or 785-374-3067 for assistance filling out your application or to ask questions.

Rural Opportunity Zones can get a FREE Webpage!

Some of you may have heard this before, but we want to make sure EVERYONE hears the news today. Rural Opportunity Zones – those 50 Kansas counties offering awesome “recruitment bonuses” to qualifying new residents – are eligible for an absolutely FREE Love Small Town America website*. This is no gimmick – the Kansas Department of Commerce is actually paying for scholarships that provide webpages to ROZ counties or communities within ROZ counties so that they can help leverage the nationwide interest in these fantastic Kansas counties.

Did you know?

More than 600 people have already applied for the ROZ incentives. The ROZ program is working. Imagine if all these counties had full-featured webpages with all the information new residents wanted to know in one, easy-to-navigate spot. That’s what Love Small Town America provides. ROZ counties can plug into a dynamic network that showcases what their communities has to offer and opens the door to affordable webpages for local businesses, free promotion, and more. Signing up is easy, it’s quick, it’s free. There’s no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity! Scholarship applications are due Feb. 6, 2013.

How Can you Take Advantage of this Offer?

If you live in a ROZ county or town – share this information with your local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader and let them know you want to see your community on Love Small Town America. Even if your community already has a website, being a part of LSTA gets your community listed in a vibrant network of small towns across the country and provides free publicity for town events, businesses, and more.

If you’re a local economic development director, chamber director, or other community leader, you’re in the right place! Contact us today to learn more and to get help filling out your community’s scholarship application. Hurry – applications are due Feb. 6, 2013 and there are a limited number of scholarships available.

Contact Us:

Luke Mahin, Sales

Phone785-374-3067

Email: luke@lovesmalltownamerica.com

*Package C: $225 value

ROZ Scholarship Applications Announced

You know how passionate we are about small town survival – and about the Rural Opportunity Zones program as a great way to recruit new residents to participating Kansas counties. That’s why we are so excited that the ROZ Scholarship Application is now open. We’ve been working with the Kansas Department of Commerce for some time now, and they agree that Love Small Town America gives small counties and towns the right kind of web presence. They have decided to offer scholarships to Kansas ROZ counties or towns within those counties to cover the cost of a 1-year membership on Love Small Town America. Can you believe that? Lucky ROZ applicants could receive a FREE webpage on LSTA as part of our network for a whole year. That is phenomenal!

This kind of support from state government is what makes us so proud to be from Kansas. We hope all the ROZ counties will feel the same and want to take advantage of the chance to join our network.

In the meantime, we put together a page on our site to help explain what the scholarship covers (and what it doesn’t), why you shouldn’t wait to turn in your application, and what the next steps are.

As always, we’re available to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

We’re so excited to realize that sometime this summer (fingers crossed) we’ll be joining a BUNCH of new communities to our growing family on the web. This means lots more exciting developments ahead, so watch our facebook page and twitter feed for the latest breaking news.

Links:

ROZ Webpage Scholarships

Joining Love Small Town America

Rural Opportunity Zones (KS Department of Commerce)

 

Rural Opportunity Zone Incentives Take Effect January 1, 2012

Would you like to move to a small town? How would you like to move to a small town and pay no income tax for 5 years and get help paying off your student loans? Well, who wouldn’t want that?! If you live outside the state of Kansas and are dying to call a small Kansas town “home”, you may qualify to take advantage of an ingenious new incentive program that is luring people to the heartland.

Small towns in Kansas have taken the Rural Opportunity Zones program and run with it. This program is a creative way to help people take advantage of the benefits of small town living while giving rural counties in Kansas an incentive to attract young professionals and families and reverse the rural brain drain. The program benefits took action as of January 1, 2012.

From the Kansas Department of Commerce: On April 11, 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law the Rural Opportunity Zones (ROZs) program. ROZs are designed to reverse dramatic population declines over the past decade in rural areas of Kansas. The program is a central component of a broader plan by the Brownback Administration to spur economic development and expand job growth in 50 counties around the state. The program took effect July 1, 2011.

With two attractive incentives, moving to a small town just got a lot more enticing. A state income tax exemption applies to individuals moving to an ROZ from outside the state. Forty-four of the fifty participating counties are offering a student loan forgiveness program as well that could net participants up to $15,000 off of their outstanding college loans.

Kansas reported a slight increase in population for the year 2011. By December, more than 150 people had already applied for the ROZ program, so we may see that number continue to rise. Most of the people who leave Kansas move to Texas and the Governor links this out-migration with income taxes. The idea is that ROZs offer an opportunity for Kansas to compete with states that offer more aggressive tax situations.

Gove County, home of the LSTA headquarters in Grainfield (and LSTA towns Park and Quinter), opted in to the ROZ program at the end of December and we are very excited about welcoming some new residents to our wonderful communities to enjoy small town living! The decision to participate in the ROZ means that Gove County (and all the other ROZ counties) are choosing to embrace change and take brave steps to a brighter future. It’s not an easy step – but we think it is a good one.

We hope we see more of these kinds of incentives: programs that support small towns, bring growth to rural areas, and give people the chance to create their own opportunities.

For more information on the program or to apply to move to a Rural Opportunity Zone, visit the Kansas Department of Commerce website.

ROZs-designated counties are Barber, Chautauqua, Cheyenne, Clark, Cloud, Comanche, Decatur, Edwards, Elk, Gove, Graham, Greeley, Greenwood, Hamilton, Harper, Hodgeman, Jewell, Kearny, Kingman, Kiowa, Lane, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mitchell, Morton, Ness, Norton, Osborne, Pawnee, Phillips, Pratt, Rawlins, Republic, Rooks, Rush, Russell, Scott, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Stafford, Stanton, Trego, Thomas, Wallace, Washington, Wichita, Wilson and Woodson