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Boasting to Boost Participation

Mon Apr 26 2010
Director Robert Groves
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One of the interesting things that happened over the past few weeks is that local officials in different areas challenged each other that their census participation rates would exceed the other.

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For example, two well-known towns have been battling to see which community has the highest participation rate for the 2010 Census.

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Deadwood, South Dakota Mayor Francis Toscana and Tombstone, Arizona Mayor Dusty Escapule challenged their respective cities to earn the highest response rate – spurring resident’s awareness of the importance of the 2010 Census and for old west bragging rights.

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Deadwood (population 1,380) and Tombstone (population 1,504) are top destinations on the itineraries of travelers looking for Old West history. Both communities began as mining camps and had some famous residents and moments in history – Tombstone with its OK Corral gun battle that saw lawman Wyatt Earp, along with Doc Holliday and others, take on four outlaw gunmen; and Deadwood with the infamous murder of Wild Bill Hickok.

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When the challenge was first announced, Tombstone Mayor Dusty Escapule declared “Deadwood we’re ready to take you on. Tombstone didn’t get the name ‘the town too tough to die’ by being lazy.” Deadwood mayor Francis Toscana responded — “As we know, census information is important to Deadwood’s schools, roads and emergency services – and now it’s even more important to our pride. We aren’t going to let Tombstone beat us in this Old West showdown.”

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Governor’s Jennifer Granholm and Ted Strickland of Michigan and Ohio have been spurring on residents with a state-to-state challenge, and both states are running ahead of the national average. The mayors of Kansas City and St. Louis have a tight city race going as well.

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Do you know of other challenges? I’d love to hear your stories – post a comment telling how your town “finished” in this important race.

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