I wanted to write a letter to the editor in support of the Cedar County Memorial Hospital property levy initiative for quite some time, but I am admit writing is not my forte.  However, my husband, Bob, who many may know is an avid reader and collector of books, recently happened upon an article in his collection titled, “1869 Tribune Editor Offers Advice on How to Kill a Town”.  The article, written in 1869, is as pertinent today as ever and readily applies to the upcoming June 2 election and the vote to raise the levy to support our county hospital.

Before I go on, I want to be as up front as possible.  I worked at Cedar County Memorial Hospital as an RN for 38 years and am now a member of the Board of Directors.  I sought Board membership because I am passionate about the Hospital, especially about the vital services it provides in our community.   I have lived in Cedar County for 44 years and my husband for 70 years.  We raised our family here and have witnessed many changes in the county through the years. 

The article begins by giving advice on “how to kill a town”.  Examples include:  (1) “Throw a jealous look at every stranger who comes to town.”  (2) “Quarrel and fight amongst yourselves.”  (3) “Growl and grumble at reasonable assessment, for fear you might have to pay a little tax, and outside people might come to the conclusion that your property is worth something.”  (4) “If anyone asks you about the health of the place, tell him everyone is sick.”  (5) “If you have a store, shop or any other concern, and some outsider comes around inquiring how business is, tell him it is very bad, or otherwise he might commence business himself.”

  Surely, this isn’t the attitude we want to take.  It certainly isn’t an attitude that will lead to prosperity in our cities and county. 

In contrast, the article continues by giving advice on “how to make a town”.  Examples include:  (1) “Cultivate a public spirit, and talk less than you work.”  (2) “Help your neighbor.  If he is danger of breaking down, prop him up in some way…  Besides, it may someday be your turn.”   (3) “Encourage your public authorities in making improvements for the good of the town.”  (4) “Speak well, talk encouragingly of the town you live in, in fact of everything likely to advance the general good.” 

I am hopeful those reading this letter will agree with me that the attitude in the preceding paragraph is the one we want to portray, an attitude of comradery and a sense of pride in our community.  The presence of a hospital in our county is something we should all take pride in and support.  For those who have never visited Cedar County Memorial Hospital, I urge you do to so.  It has been and will be a blessing to many.  Please vote YES on June 2.

Julia Phillips