Is map to prosperity easier to unfold than we think?

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 7, 2004

Have you ever lost your way only to then compound the matter by struggling to re-fold a map? Now I'm nearly rid of the confounding creatures.

That paper maps, once unfolded, cannot be re-folded in the same manner is actually a scientifically proven fact - at least in my world.

Maps are great things. They help us chart a course and help us relocate that course when we go astray.

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Ship captains use maps, airplane pilots use maps, and even everyday automobile drivers use maps.

I've been a firm believer in maps since my earliest days. I usually have a pretty good sense of direction, but still need a map occasionally to pinpoint a location.

Yours truly recently purchased a new vehicle, a Jeep Liberty with a GPS satellite navigation system installed.

It's one of those James Bond-like gadgets that have filtered into a number of new car and truck models.

I have to admit the device is part toy, part functional. I travel a good bit and sometimes it will be nice not to have to dig around for a map and try to decipher the best route.

Tinkering with the new navigational system the other day, I couldn't help but laugh when I deviated from the suggested course a bit.

"Off course" flashed onto the small LCD screen. Then a voice said, "If it is safe to do so, please make a U-turn."

Apparently, my not following directions aggravated the tiny little woman now living inside the electronics of my vehicle.

I laughed at the perturbed voice and kept going.

I bought my new vehicle from Integrity Jeep here in Ironton. The dealership is one of four new car and truck dealerships in Ironton. This is not intended to be a plug for Integrity, but for Ironton and Lawrence County businesses in general.

Unfortunately, too many people - people who often say they care about the city and county - will drive miles and miles from home looking to save a few bucks.

This is something I cannot understand.

A dealership in Columbus or Cincinnati might save you a few bucks on the front end, but such a purchase does little to help the local economy. Their employees are not your neighbors. They don't care about our community.

Although I cannot be positive about it, I do not recall seeing a Columbus dealership sponsoring local Little League teams, or supporting Ironton Volunteer Day, or the Proctorville Relay for Life event.

Shopping at home is really something we here in Lawrence County should consider each and every day. Perhaps, if we did more of it the City of Ironton wouldn't be in as big of a financial pickle and perhaps the other villages and communities in our area would also be prospering more.

So the next time you are thinking of driving far away for a purchase, listen to the little woman inside my car.

"If it is safe to do so, please make a U-turn."

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to