Tag Archives: rural


Maroney Rural Learning Center

Well, that was fun. Jumping out there as a full time consultant, I mean. It’s been great helping several non-profits, companies and communities to think and talk things through. I made enough money to get by, learned some valuable insight, made some new friends, and got a lot of good hiking in. (I also often didn’t shower or put on a clean shirt until lunch time.)

Now I’m back in the land of the employed. This week I went back to work at the Rural Learning Center in Howard, SD, where I’ll become President in February (here’s a blast from the past). Ultimately I’ll be responsible for running a team dedicated to helping rural communities reimagine and thrive, along with operating a green hotel, restaurant and conference/training center being built in Howard. And we’ll also be managing the South Dakota chapter of American Institute of Architects, and a few other related non-profits. It’s the biggest job I’ve ever had, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m as nervous as I am excited. Thank the universe I’m re-joining an awesome and smart team I can rely on.

On the outside, Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on December 18, 2010 in rural, Work


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Rock Garden Tour Blows Up

Straw hats off to the dudes of Rock Garden Tour. The best radio show on the prairie just went global. Well, statewide anyway. Flowerman, Oil Can and the RGT Family Band made the leap from small college radio to South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Boom!

What?! You don’t know how to turnip your radio? Rock Garden Tour is this fun little program and podcast celebrating some of creations’ greatest achievements: rock n roll, rural life and gardening. The podcast is great, the live show is better. Now you can catch it on SDPB Radio Sunday nights at 10, or download the podcast.

The Rock Garden Tour interview at Michelle's Coffee

The Rock Garden Tour interview at Michelle's Coffee

Now that’s a big accomplishment for RGT. But there’s something even bigger: Flowerman just wrapped up an exclusive interview with me about my big trip to the sewage treatment plant yesterday. We talked about the guy who operates the Hot Sludge lake boat, and bib overalls. You’ll have to tune into the show to check it out.

Update: Poo Lake made the cut.

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Posted by on July 9, 2009 in Celebrations, etc.


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Talkin Rural in Su Fu

A little project I’ve been working on. Hope you can come…

rural assembly save date

Learn more at or download the Rural Assembly postcard (pdf alert).

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Posted by on May 27, 2009 in Work


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If you hurry

I gave a talk yesterday at the Women In Blue Jeans conference in Mitchell, SD about small town community development, called “Turning Your Small Town Around.” Then I got an email this morning from Slideshare saying this: “Congratulations! Your presentation ‘Turning Your Small Town Around’ is currently being showcased on the ‘How-to & DIY’ page on SlideShare.” It’s for today only. Kind of cool. I put my slideshow up on that site so I could share it with the folks who out up with listening to me for 45 minutes. All 8 of them.

If you hurry, you can see my show on the How-to feature. Or, you can see it forever here. Or, like most ladies at the conference yesterday, you can spend your time watching something else…

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Posted by on January 17, 2009 in Work


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In Little Howard, South Dakota?!

Here’s a video of a news story KSFY TV (the local ABC affiliate) did Sunday night. It’s on the green conference and training center project we’ve been working on at the Rural Learning Center in Howard.

Watch the video here.


Posted by on December 29, 2008 in Work


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RLC update

Maroney Rural Learning Center

Maroney Rural Learning Center

Just a quick little newsflash on the work front. I’m working on a pretty cool project in Howard, SD–we’re designing an ultra-green conference and trainging center to be built on Howard’s Main Street. The Maroney Rural Learning Center (named for the bar owner who’s donating big bucks to the project) has been co-designed by a whole community–big fun. It’ll be a gathering place for rural communities to learn together, and a collaborative spark to build the state and nation’s renewable energy workforce. You can learn all about it here, here and here (pdf warning). Or, watch the slideshow below.

We also recently launched a shiny new Rural Learning Center website and (just yesterday) a new blog on rural communities called Reimagine Rural

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Posted by on September 30, 2008 in going green, Work


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What keeps me in the village (plus a little Celtic Love)

We were in Emery, South Dakota Monday night for Hope’s softball game. When we were just gearing up to head home, Mesa realized she’d lost her new pink heart stone necklace. It was a birthday present from her Mom–and she’d just been given it the day before at her birthday party.

As Mesa sobbed, we started searching around the grandstand, the playground, the bathrooms, the parking lot, etc. Soon, every other parent was asking what happened, and within a couple minutes there were dozens of parents and kids helping us look. Eventually, one of the girls found it and came running across the parking lot with the necklace. We were really thankful. As I was walking to my car, a dozen people shared their excitement that we’d found it.

It was a big deal for Mesa of course, but it’s really just a little thing. It’s all those little things that make up a small town community. Here in our little village, we don’t have cool shops or restaurants or fancy parks and bike trails. And we don’t have tons of festivals or cool art galleries or endless variety in activities. All things we love about the nearest City. We’ve considered many times over the years moving into the city, but what keeps us out here are the people and nature. People here–even people we wouldn’t consider friends at all–really care about our kids. We all take care of each other. I know it happens in Cities too. The difference here is it happens everywhere all the time in our little village. Every day, on every street–or even in another town 30 miles away. It means it’s safe for us to let the kids play outside by themselves, to send them on a bike to school, or for Jaim take a walk at night. Community (and the ability to escape into nature at the drop of a hat)–the village wins every time.

Bonus Newsflash:

I’ve been pretty quiet about the Celtic’s 40-point pounding of the Lakeshow in Game 6. It was fun to listen and watch (I only saw the last couple minutes on TV–the rest was radio for me). Even though KG was a blubbering goof ball in the post game. Even in silence, banner number 17 was big news for bartblog. I happened to check our stats this morning and was astonished to see a record-breaking number of visits yesterday to this blog (nearly triple our highest traffic day ever before). A little digging revealed most people came to bartblog after googling ‘celtics.’ I guess the little Peanuts cartoon I posted a few weeks ago is getting some love the day after the C’s wrapped up the Finals. Go figure…

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Posted by on June 19, 2008 in etc., Raves


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