Archive for July, 2004

Flying Back Home Today

Saturday, July 31st, 2004

The week-long training at Gallaudet has come to an end, and we are packing up and getting ready to fly home. The training was great, and we’d recommend that to anyone who wants to learn more about becoming an advocate for your community. Lessons taught included how to best lobby the legislators, how to use media to your advantage, how to build effective coalitions and the history of civil rights movement in America and its parallels with the disability rights movement. Now it will be good to be back home and get back on our business plan development for The Laurent Company.


At Gallaudet University for a week-long training on community advocacy

Thursday, July 29th, 2004

M.E. and I are in Gallaudet University now this week for a joint training provided by National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Gallaudet Leadership Institute (GLI) on community advocacy. We have learned some essential elements in organizing advocacy efforts, and we really appreciate GLI’s existence. GLI has been founded two years ago in response to constant requests for “another” LTP (Leadership Training Program) that once existed in California many years ago.

We are also taking this opportunity to have some preliminary meetings with area investors who may be interested in investing in The Laurent Company. The business plan is approximately 55% done. We hope to make significant progress next week.


Work Intensifies on Business Plan

Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Pulling long hours while my family is on a long road trip to Texas, Missouri then Michigan with our dear friends. The business plan has been a challenge for me because it forces me to think through many aspects of operating The Laurent Company and the process of planning, developing, financing and building the town of Laurent. My attorney wisely said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day or few weeks… it’ll be worth your time to get the plan right.”

This Saturday, we will be flying to Washington, D.C. to attend Gallaudet Leadership Institute week-long training on community advocacy ��which will be great for The Laurent Institute, our community development organization.

We continue to get reservation forms, and we just got our 54th one today. Our goal is to get 200 names on the list by October. Help us by spreading the word and sharing the vision with your friends and family!

Also, if you are interested in hosting a town hall meeting in your hometown, please e-mail me at [email protected]


Back home, got preliminary infrastructure support

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

The workshop at NAD Conference went very well! We had over 52 people in attendance, and the people left the room excited about the future of Laurent, South Dakota.

To this date, we have lined up informal commitments from electrical, telecommunications and water companies to provide infrastructure for the town of Laurent. This is significant because this allows us to move forward with the development more quickly. Infrastructure development is one of the biggest costs associated with building communities and towns.

Not only that, both electrical and telecommunications providers are cooperatives which means you as a resident of Laurent would become a voting member of these companies.

We now have two meetings this week with our lawyers and a banker, and we’re still working on our third draft of our business plan � greatly expanding the data and sources as well as improving the readability of the plan itself.

Two pieces of land at our first choice site are currently listed for sale, and we hope we can put together financing to secure all pieces of land we need… soon!

Miles to go before we sleep, but we’ll get there before you know it!


Miss Deaf South Dakota Erin Casler Crowned Miss Deaf America!

Friday, July 9th, 2004

Erin Casler, Miss Deaf South Dakota, has been crowned Miss Deaf America 2004-2006 at National Association of the Deaf Conference, and I believe she’s the first from South Dakota to wear the crown! She really made all of us proud! Other contestants were also marvelous, and I was amazed by the depth and breadth of talent, knowledge and passion for the future of the deaf and signing community.

This is really sweet victory for South Dakotans because we came really close two years with Paula Souhrada who did a great job and came in as first runner-up.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be giving presentation on Laurent, South Dakota at 9 a.m. at the conference room 4204B. See y’all there! :-)


On Way to Kansas City for NAD Conference!

Thursday, July 8th, 2004

We’ve had a very nice week and half vacation, and my parents left the town an hour ago. My good friend, Deb Kuglitsch, and I are preparing to drive to Kansas City to participate in the National Association of the Deaf Conference. I will be giving a workshop on “Building a Place of Our Own: Laurent, South Dakota” this Saturday morning at 9 a.m. at the conference.

Last Saturday, my beautiful wife and I went to Dr. Frank Turk’s surprise 75th birthday party hosted by CSD. It was a blast! Dr. Turk has done a lot for the youth in this country including me. Remind me to tell you a story about my “Turk Moment” someday.

Then on Sunday, we all went to Camp Lakodia again to celebrate July 4th, and it was very nice! Too bad the fireworks were on other end of the lake � we still enjoyed the display!

Now off for a 5 and half hour drive to Kansas City.