Custer quotes Kermit the Frog to IRGC

Kermit-the-frogThe Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s public hearing Thursday at the Sierra Community Theatre was long – 4-1/2 hours – and comments tended to be repetitive. Carole Custer, with help from Muppet Kermit the Frog, used some whimsy in her comments in support of the proposed casino. Her comments follow:

Carole Custer

“Good afternoon, Commissioners

“Let me begin by saying that I support this application because as Kermit the Frog has said: It’s not that easy being Green (with an e)

“Greene County has watched its population decline. Rural residents moving to larger communities. Young people attracted to metropolitan areas. A greater variety of jobs in communities to the east and west, north and south. Its an old story that Greene County suffers from dramatic retail leakage -Shoppers traveling to other counties for more variety, more entertainment. Sometimes we’ve been green with envy.

“It’s not easy being Greene. Kermit says it seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things and people tend to pass you over. ‘Cause you’re not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water or stars in the sky.

“I spend over 10 hours each work day as marketing director at Iowa State University in Ames. When I proudly tell people I live in Jefferson, they usually say, “It seems like a pretty little town as we DRIVE through to Lake Panorama. Or “ we’ve thought about driving into town, but we’re on Hwy 30 on our way to Okoboji.”

“But Kermit says Greene IS the color of spring. As chair of the Bell Tower of Fame Award committee, I present, each spring, award medallions to those who have lived in Greene County and through their international, national or state accomplishments, bring great pride to Greene County. Among the 35 winners we’ve honored are George Gallup of the Gallup Poll, Loren Shriver a NASA astronaut, Olympic gold medal archery winner Doreen Wilber, Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Harris, jazz musicians Jack and Dick Oatts, and pro football players Jim Doran and Bryce Paup. Greene County has given them growth to do great things.

“They are honored each year at the annual Bell Tower Festival in June that I helped create 35 years ago – to bring residents of the county together to celebrate our Iowa pride and attract visitors to bring tourism dollars to our area and to recruit tourists as potential residents. By the way, the brand color of the festival is Green!

“I am president of the Bell Tower Community Foundation, responsible for raising funds to enhance the Mahanay Carillon Tower and managing the volunteers and promotion of the tower. The more visitors we can attract to this breathtaking tower, the more tourist money comes into this county; the more opportunity to show people what a wonderful community environment this is for finding a job and educating their children.

“It’s not easy being Greene. But I share these examples with you because Kermit says Greene can be cool and friendly-like—big like a mountain or important like a river or tall like a tree.

“That’s us! But, we need this proposed casino to make Greene the color of prosperity. When people come to tour the Mahanay Tower, we need additional venues for their entertainment. When Bell Tower of Fame recipients and more than 15,000 people come to the annual Bell Tower Festival, we need additional overnight accommodations. The casino hotel can provide that. When people are seeking jobs, the casino can provide those. When local non-profit organizations need financial assistance, the casino’s charitable donation can help.

No more passing THROUGH town or going BY Jefferson. No more people choosing other communities for good paying jobs. No more traveling long distances for entertainment. A casino can bring more Green to our county. More tourist dollars, more jobs, more residents, more businesses to serve them.

“And, as Kermit concludes about being green, when Greene is all there is to be, it could make you wonder why. But why wonder. WE ARE GREENE. IT’S BEAUTIFUL. IT IS WHAT WE WANT TO BE. And the casino can make us even more GREENE.

“Thank you and we seek your vote of approval.”

And here’s the story of being green from Kermit himself:



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