Magazine lets the cat out of the bag

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Have a young family, or thinking of starting one? Nebraska may be the place for you, according to a survey of American towns and the issues that make family life better.

Not surprising to those who call the Cornhusker state home, 11 of the top 50 towns in Business Week magazine's 2007 list of the Best Places to Raise Your Kids are in Nebraska.

With a New York real estate research firm, the magazine looked at factors like schools, educational test scores, cost of living, crime and recreational and cultural activities.

Leading the list for Nebraska was Arapahoe, with a median household income of $29,500, population of 1,028 and distance to the nearest large city (Lincoln) of 192 miles.

The town ranked 22nd in test scores, 10th in cost of living, fourth in schools and 17th in crime. Not surprisingly for those of us who live in Southwest Nebraska, the New York researchers didn't rank our area high in recreational or cultural activities, giving Arapahoe a 43rd ranking of the top 50 towns.

Anyone who thinks there aren't enough recreational or cultural activities in a small town has never lived in one. With school, sports, club, civic and church activities, many a small-town resident would love to have an extra night to spend at home relaxing.

But the magazine and researchers were correct in seeing past the relatively low median household income in small-town Nebraska to the advantages of good education, low crime and low cost of living.

Most of the other Nebraska towns have the advantage of being much closer to large cities, illustrating just how high Arapahoe ranked.

The No. 1 city in the survey was Groesbeck, Ohio, seven miles from Cincinnati, population 7,202, with a median household income of $49,235.

Others in Nebraska were Waverly (6), Lawrence (17), Bartlett (22), Petersburg (32), Newcastle (36), Diller (37), Oakland (38), Loomis (39), Arlington (41) and Davenport (44).

We don't think anyone will be misled into thinking small town Nebraska doesn't have more than its share of problems, jobs and declining population chief among them.

Nevertheless, it's encouraging to see outsiders recognizing "The Good Life" for what it is.

New page for opinion

In case you didn't notice, you turned an extra page before arriving at the Opinion page today. The new location allows for more and better use of color inside the paper, as well as on the front and back cover pages.

There's also a slightly new nameplate on the top of Page One today, which should allow for more room for news and photos above the fold, but we'll continue to use the old logo, below, as well.

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