EDITORIAL: One more welcome mat

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
It seems like only a week ago that our community was welcoming guests

to town for a special occasion and we were encouraging each other to

put our best foot forward.



Wait. It was only a week ago. The event was the Hillsboro Folk

Festival and the all-class reunion. At any rate, we will collectively

lay out another welcome mat this weekend with the arrival of a couple

thousand young basketball players, their coaches and fans, thanks to

the annual Mid America Youth Basketball tournament. The 100 or so

teams playing in Hillsboro this weekend are only one component of the

huge Newton-based tournament.



Some may wonder what the big deal is since the tournament involves few

local athletes. Well, the big deal is two-fold: hospitality and

economic development.



Hospitality is important because we pride ourselves on our ability to

be good hosts. Besides, it?s the right thing to do when guests come to

visit. The economic opportunity, meanwhile, is only vaguely

understood. Few of us fully grasp that such an event will generate an

economic impact of $200,000 to $300,000. For doing little more than

being nice.



Let?s welcome our newest guests to town. We invite them to spend

liberally while they?re here. But even if they don?t, we want them to

leave with a good feeling about our community. That carries

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