Erie, Kansas Launches New Community Website

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June 4, 2015: Erie, KS has launched a new community website on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, an online network for small towns, at: http://www.lovesmalltownamerica.com/erieks.php

Love Small Town America provides another powerful tool for Erie 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.

Erie’s new website features community information, a community calendar, photo gallery, business pages, job listings, real estate listings, and more. The calendar will be updated monthly with new events and residents can subscribe to receive updated listings by e-mail.

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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

Shelley Paasch Joins LSTA Team

Love Small Town America sales

Shelley Paasch brings a focus on small business and a “paasch”ion for small towns to the LSTA team.

Thanks to the continued support and enthusiasm for what Love Small Town America has to offer, we have recently expanded our team. Shelley Paasch has joined the other six members of the Love Small Town America core group to bring a heightened focus to serving Love Small Town America’s members and helping more small towns join the network and access an affordable web presence. Shelley Paasch laughs that she is “Paasch”ionate about small towns but her impressive experience makes it clear that her enthusiasm for small towns is no joke. Continue reading

Blue Skyways Shutting Down June 30, 2014

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For more than 250 Kansas communities, Blue Skyways has been an online home. The website is a service of the State Library of Kansas and has served as a hub for resources about Kansas communities, heritage, government, and libraries. Now, Blue Skyways is shutting down.

The Blue Skyways web service will end as of June 30, 2014, citing the state of the State Library budget as the primary cause. We received the following announcement and request to spread the word to communities who may have benefitted from Blue Skyways in the past.

“While Skyways has been a highly successful and beneficial service in its day, with the widespread availability today of affordable, functional web hosting options, it is no longer central to our mission.

State Library and our host KU Medical Center’s Internet Development Unit will be working together to develop a plan for notifying account holders, and identifying ways to facilitate migrating sites and content where the owner wishes to do so.”

Questions? Contact:

Jeff Hixon
Director
Statewide Services
State Library of Kansas
300 SW Tenth Ave | Rm 312-N
Topeka KS 66612·1593
785·296·3154  | 800·432·3919
785·368·7291  FAX

We are proud to offer communities an affordable alternative with even more benefits than Blue Skyways. To begin migrating your Blue Skyways website content to a new home on LoveSmallTownAmerica.com, contact us today.

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

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

 

Celebrate 5 Years of Cruise, Shoes & BBQs in Grainfield!

Colorful cars line Grainfield for the "Cruise" heralded in Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.

Colorful cars line Grainfield for the “Cruise” heralded in Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.

Cruise, Shoes & BBQs – it’s the small town event that keeps people coming back for more. The small town of Grainfield, KS, population a mere 277, plays host every Memorial Day weekend to one of the biggest bashes in the region. Originally hosted by Grainfield’s Harvest Market, the event was taken over by Grainfield Community Development Committee in the 2nd year in order to grow it into a flagship event for the town. This year marks the 5th anniversary of CSBBQs – as it’s called by natives – and it promises to be another full 2 days of fun. This year, the event has been moved to Saturday/Sunday but promises the same fierce horseshoe competition, mouthwatering barbecue, and eye-catching car show that attendees love.

All aboard the Nex-tech express! Kids can enjoy a train ride from this popular attraction.

All aboard the Nex-tech express! Kids can enjoy a train ride from this popular attraction.

We’re going behind the scenes with two of the events original organizers, Dan Godek and Kay Hartman Haffner, to find out the secrets to CSBBQs’ success.

1.) It’s not every day you hear a name like, “Cruise, Shoes and BBQs” (CSBBQ). Where did the idea for this event come from?

Dan: “I had competed at my very first BBQ competition in Studley, KS at the Cottonwood Ranch and enjoyed it very much. One morning I was discussing it with “The Coffee Drinkers” at Harvest Market and said to them, “Why don’t we organize our own BBQ competition in Grainfield?” One guy said we should include a car show. Then, I added that we should get the horseshoe pits going again and highlight them that weekend. Next I was throwing together some names and scribbled down on a sheet of paper, “Cruise, Shoes & BBQs.” So let it be written, so let it be done. Just a few short months later, cars were rolling into the city park as smoke rolled out.”

2.) With a BBQ competition in the mix, food must be an important part of CSBBQ. Where can attendees find the best “eats”? 

Dan: “This year I highly recommend a slice of homemade pie from Ramrod Cooking Crew! Smokin Sprays team captain Roy Sprays makes his own fresh sausage, slow smokes it, then grills it, then puts it on a stick. And who doesn’t love meat on a stick! Of course, the BBQ buffet features all the competition teams’ meat… beef brisket and pulled pork.”

The mouthwatering aroma of BBQ fills the city park for two days.

The mouthwatering aroma of BBQ fills the city park for two days.

3.) Can you tell us where the BBQ teams are coming from?

Dan: “They’re descending on us from Grainfield, Grinnell, Gove, Hoxie, Selden, Oakley, Hays, and… Colorado Springs!”

4.) All the festivities at CSBBQs sound like fun. But, if you had to pick one event, what would you say is a “can’t miss”? 

Dan: “The GCDC held back nothing for this 5 year anniversary… Paramount is coming to Grainfield! Paramount is an ‘80’s cover band out of Hays & Salina. They perform in Kansas City, Lawrence, Manhattan, Salina, Hays, Colby and of course the pinnacle of their careers, the piece de resistance, their crowning moment, their epic climax will be their one night stand in G-Town!!  If you liked the ‘80’s, you’ll love Paramount!

Kay: “I agree 100% with Dan, Paramount will be the best part of weekend. Nothing better then a slab dance to a live band!”

Pony rides in the park are a favorite event.

Pony rides in the park are a favorite event.

Photo opportunities abound at Cruise, Shoes & BBQs!

Photo opportunities abound at Cruise, Shoes & BBQs!

5.) CSBBQs is full of great events for adults, but what can kids look forward to at this year’s event?

Kay: “Saturday will feature the sand volleyball tournament aimed at older kids aged 15 and up. Then on Sunday, Bumpy Knuckles the Clown and Miss Rebecca the very talented face-painting artist will return for the second year. We will also have pony rides, games and prizes, and the Nex-tech train. A local boyscout troup will be selling delicious sno cones both Saturday and Sunday.”

A devilish pig got into many comical situations at a past CSBBQ event.

A devilish pig got into many comical situations at a past CSBBQ event.

6.) This is CSBBQ 5th anniversary. What’s the most unusual thing you’ve seen during the past 5 years of CSBBQ? 

Dan: “The Dancing Pig!  Two years ago I busted out my full body pig costume and got a little jiggy with it. Several friends and relatives took turns in the pig suit and things got crazy. Long story short, Nicole [Godek, Dan’s wife and LSTA CEO] has promised we’re never doing that again.”

Kay: “Last year one of our BBQ teams camped out in an authentic Native American teepee. The wind that night reached over 50 mph and the results were tree limbs down, fences broken, destruction to buildings…. but, the teepee stood the storm!  I couldn’t believe it.”

An authentic Native American teepee sheltered one BBQ team from devastating winds - and attracted quite a bit of attention!

An authentic Native American teepee sheltered one BBQ team from devastating winds – and attracted quite a bit of attention!

From the Grainfield Community Development Committee Webpage:

Cruise, Shoes & BBQs – May 25 & 26, 2013
2013 marks our 5th year and we have a lot of exciting things happening! To accommodate our event-goers and make the best of the holiday weekend, we are moving our 2-day event to Saturday/Sunday. Including our unique car show, horseshoe tournament and fierce bbq competition, we’ll also have:

  • Paramount – 80s Tribute Rock Band playing live Sunday night. So join us as we rock to the 80s (big hair optional)
  • Lots of kids activities available including a repeat appearance from Bumpy Knuckles the Clown.
  • A co-ed sand volleyball tournament will bring fun in the sun
  • And so much more!

Click here to learn more.

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

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?

 

Help Bart and Rorie Discover the Best of Small Town America

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Bart Russell was called the “voice of small town America” by none other than Ronald Reagan. So, why does he need your help?

After retiring last year from a career in small town advocacy, Russell is taking his passion for small towns in a new direction – quite possibly, in your direction.

As leader of the municipal advocacy group Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), Russell served for 18 years bringing small town issues to prominence. During that time, he also served as CEO of the National Association of Towns and president of its National Center for Small Communities.

Now, Russell is taking politics out of the equation and promising to shine a light on the 144 million small town residents in America and what they have to offer as part of a venture he calls “Everything Small Town.”

The mission: Everything Small Town™ shines a global spotlight on promising projects and programs designed to make America’s 30,000, plus smaller communities better places in which to live, work and do business.

Now, Everything Small Town™ is hitting the road for its inaugural “Discover Small Town America” tour this June. They’ll be heading to the west coast taking Route 40 to SoCal for 4th of July weekend and returning via Route 70 to the east coast in late July.

In between, they’ll be soaking up as much of small town America as they can.

Says Russell, “We’ve received invitations from wonderful people to check out wonderful towns, like Cloudcroft and Ruidoso, NM, Greenville and Dresden OH, Ligonier, IN, Grainfield and other [KS] towns. Some of you have said you’ll get back with your recommendations for experiencing the best of small town America on byways close to I-40 and I-70 in Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. WE CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR FROM YOU…”

We here at Love Small Town America would love to show them what OUR great small towns have to offer. Have an idea on where Bart and Rorie Russell should stop on their Everything Small Town journey? Let them know, via their Facebook page.

“We’re really looking forward to meeting some new friends, visiting their hometowns and shining the spotlight on some amazing people and places. Thanks for all the offers of hospitality you’ve extended!” says Russell.

“We would love to have your thoughts, recommendations and your “likes” at Everything Small Town™.”

Let’s show Everything Small Town some “LOVE”…Small Town America, that is!

www.BartonRussell.com
www.facebook.com/EverythingSmallTown

Land of Opportunity – The Rural Opportunities Conference in Review

Conference booth

LSTA joined Kansans from across the state at the Rural Opportunities Conference in November.

This is the 2nd year I’ve attended the ROC and I enjoyed it this year as much as the first year. Governor Brownback has an impressive way of setting the tone for the entire conference. He is a true believer in rural Kansas and has demonstrated his commitment to rural America by introducing the Rural Opportunity Zones, of which LSTA is excited to be a part. His letter to conference participants resonates with my ideals for sustaining rural Kansas, and America.

“There’s no doubt that rural Kansas has faced some serious challenges in recent years, from declining populations to communities facing the loss of businesses and young talent. However, I am confident that the fortunes of rural Kansas are changing in a positive way. The state has become the No. 1 location in the nation for wind farms under construction, which has helped bring jobs and investment to rural Kansas. The state could see another oil and gas boom, much of it taking place in rural areas. Rural Opportunity Zones are attracting young, talented professionals from all over the country to our small communities. Major tax relief enacted earlier this year will spur small business growth and put more money back into the hands of Kansans.”

Kansas is doing some amazing things for our rural communities and I believe we have a very bright future. We can all make a difference in our small towns, even if it’s one tiny step at a time. As our slogan goes:

Take Part. Make a Difference.

Nicole Godek, CEO of Love Small Town America, attended the Rural Opportunities Conference Nov. 7-8, 2012 in Junction City, Kansas.