Small towns…and a little on how they become larger

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In small towns, anyone who appears to be successful or jumps out in a leadership or high profile position is going receive some arrows. That’s just the way it is. Persons in those positions just have to accept that. It will likely never change in a small town.
Cushing happens to be in a quite enviable position right now. We have this incredible crude oil industry that brings many high-paying jobs and, naturally, some plenty bright people holding those jobs.
Another benefit of this industry is an economy that allows our school system to be very well funded, therefore, very bright people in school leadership.  We’re blessed.
Also, we have attracted very bright people in community leadership. We have a city government that would be considered wealthy in comparison to most communities with similar populations. We are in a position to partner up with private sector investors to help boost business growth.
This will be happening in Cushing, in fact, it happened Monday evening at the commission meeting. We really wish it would have happened in Open Session – in the light of day - rather than in Executive Session. The community will be more supportive of these choices when we are included in the decision. Of course, the commission will be seeking support of the community – the taxpayers from whom the resources are derived.
Our community realizes our local theater is an asset that needs to be preserved. The price to the community to keep the project on track and, perhaps accelerate the completion and reopening, is well warranted.
Community support of action by our city government is a two-way street. Our hat’s off to City Manager Terry Brannon and team for their efforts to keep the public in the loop and spend time and effort creating transparency is admirable. We think it best to carry that transparency a bit further by bringing public in on final decision-making.
Sure, it’s fine to discuss economic development prospects and possible incentives in Executive Session. To nurture support and cooperation, the terms of the final agreement should be done in Open Session.

Support hometown ownership
We have received phone calls, over the past couple of years, from an individual who works with Casey’s General Stores helping them to procure real estate to build new Casey’s stores.
It’s true; Casey’s builds a nice facility and runs a good business. It is also true that most of the public could care less about whether or not businesses they trade with are good corporate citizens and give back to the community. That’s unfortunate.
Currently, unless our count is off, Cushing has six operating convenience stores. Of those, five are owned and operated by local families. These two families support your little league teams, your chamber of commerce, your local media, the school system, Lions and Rotary clubs, downtown renovation, local churches, etc, etc, etc. Basically, these families give back and support every good thing happening in Cushing.
Maybe it’s the way our society is going, but it seems there’s a proliferation of chain operations as the expense of locally owned and operated enterprises.
Dollar General Stores, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and chain convenience store operations, to mention a few, are eager to take and not near to eager to give back.
There’s a better than average chance Casey’s General Stores will be developing one of their stores in Cushing. The fact they put one in Drumright already is a good indication.
Fortunately, we live in a free enterprise system where business has the opportunity and right to grow a venture as large as they are capable of building it. If they choose to put a store in Cushing, they will and we support four-square and flat-footed their right to do so.
We will not support their store, should they plant one here, nor would we support our city government or economic development entities giving one dime or one second of time in cooperation helping another parasitic company to locate in our community.
Casey’s is not just a convenience store operation, by the way. They are, big time, in the food business so all local eateries should make their opinions known that another “all take and no give” enterprise is not what we need in Cushing.
We’re excited the Dunkin Theatre is back on track and will be owned and operated by a local family. The partnership with our city government has gone a long way to put this project back on track.
We’re also excited that Rick Ahberg has purchased and re-opened our local golf course. Its yet another community asset worth preserving and protecting. There may be a time, in the future, that it will be wise for our city to partner up with this operation, to some degree, to keep it viable.
We trust our excellent leadership in city government and economic development will make the right choices. Their community will become and remain more cooperative and supportive when all final choices are decided in the light of day.