Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Friends of Jackpot

A number of people from other towns in Elko County, NV made the drive to Elko for my talk. As I explained in Monday’s blog Elko County is a huge county at the fifth largest in the continental USA, so some of them had to drive 100+ miles one-way.

From the neighboring county south of Elko was a group from Eureka, NV (population 1,651) which sits on route 50 from Reno to Ely, NV, billed as the “Loneliest Road in America” because of it sparse population. Elaine Barkdull told me, “It is a very unique old historical mining town that has some wonderful potential. It is also in the richest county in the state because of all of the gold and copper mines there.”

One of my favorites was four citizens from Jackpot, NV (population approximately 4,000), the most northeastern town in NV right along the ID border. They had recently started the Friends of Jackpot to try to develop a town and a sense of place in an unincorporated area that sits out by itself along highway 93.

Geneva Mingee of the Friends told me about her town, “We were started as a casino town, with five casinos, a liquor store, a grocery and gas station as our only commerce. We’ve now got a destination resort planned which will include a hotel, condos, a sports center, water park and retail mall.”

Mingee and her Friends hope to be able to incorporate into a town and to become advocates for the betterment of the town. She added, “Right now there really isn’t much for our kids to come back to. We don’t have adequate housing and a lot of people are pretty apathetic. We have only 280 registered voters in the entire area. But we are going to make a difference and get things started in Jackpot.”

I love meeting the Geneva Mingees of the world. They are passionate, engaged and committed. And, they are changing the world for the better in their small part of the world.

The Friends of Jackpot are kicking off their efforts at a special birthday party on November 20th. I hope to keep in contact with them to see what they accomplish.

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