Hey Ohio: Lawrence County has the best hometowns

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Are you proud of your hometown or community? Well don’t just sit there, grab a pen and paper and tell the rest of the state!

If your community pride flows through and sticks to the paper, Lawrence County’s city, villages or townships could be named “the best of the best” in Ohio.

Hometown pride is almost measurable — especially here in Lawrence County where school colors fly and community pride swells. Now, Ohio Magazine is working on a November cover story proclaiming “Ohio’s Best Hometown.”

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Editors will choose one city, town, village or township from each of the five regions of the state — Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Central and Southwest

— on which to award this lofty honor.

“It is our hometowns, after all, that are the real stars of Ohio — the places that define us and make living here such a delight,” magazine officials stated.

We would love to see southern Ohio and Lawrence County make the short list — and I think we have the tradition and ambiance to do it.

Writers can prepare an essay that sings the praises of the community in which they live. The article must be less than 3,000 words — less than 500 for each of six categories.

Here are the magazine’s guidelines:

1. Community spirit. What sets your hometown apart from the rest?

Authors should describe how their town expresses its character through neighborliness, physical appearance, civic pride and volunteer efforts.

Unique community organizations are just one thing people could write about.

2. Education. Explain why your town is an academic success story. Are there outstanding alumni who have made their mark in Ohio or the rest of the world?

3. Entertainment. Why do visitors enjoy spending time in your town? Is it known for a special event or festival?

4. Health and safety. Do members of the community take pride in everything from the safety of the streets to their first-rate recycling program? Tell us the ways your hometown cares for its own — and others — through municipal programs, non-profits and community groups.

5. Business environment. Tell us about your hometown’s economic climate. What are the booming industries, and what’s creating new jobs in your town? If you had to convince a close friend or family member to move to your town, what business indicators would you point out?

6. Culture and heritage. Provide information about the cultural amenities of your town, including its museums and other points of cultural interest. Also, let us know about what your town has done to preserve its heritage, through programs designed to keep its history alive.

Applicants also can send additional material including community guides, statistics, published articles, testimonials from residents or any other information that might help show the judges why Lawrence County’s communities

should be considered among the best.

But hurry. Entries must be received by June 30 and mailed to: Ohio’s Best Hometown

Ohio Magazine

1422 Euclid Ave., Suite 730

Cleveland, OH 44115.

For online entries, visit the Web site www.ohiomagazine.com.

Though other towns may outshine our region in some ways, I think Lawrence County’s communities can stack up with the best.

The entire community showed its pride last week during the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade.

Maybe that same sense of pride and spirit can be captured on paper for the rest of the state to see.

Lawrence County has welcomed my wife and me with open arms. I hope longtime residents can show these editors the same friendliness and charm that we have seen.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.