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Funding Problems, Misrepresentations Plague Freedom's Frontier

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On September 29th, 2006 U.S. Senator Sam Brownback issued a press release which stated:

"WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Jim Talent (R-MO) today applauded Senate passage of legislation designating 29 counties in eastern Kansas and 12 counties in western Missouri as a National Heritage Area, showcasing the region's contributions to the struggle for equality in the nation."

Brownback's press release indicated that there was wide-spread support for this "Heritage Area" in  29 Kansas counties as well additional counties in Missouri but a December 10th, 2007 article published in the Lawrence Journal-World newspaper indicates that the support for this bi-state project might be limited to the very area in which the idea was conceived.

The article entitled, "County agrees to loan money for national heritage area" states:

"A contract to initiate a management plan for a national heritage area that includes Douglas County and 40 other Kansas and Missouri counties could be signed later this week.

Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area Board of Trustees is in the process of raising $300,000 to pay for that plan, which will be developed in conjunction with a management team from a branch of National Geographic. So far half of it has been raised by private and public sources, according to a letter to Douglas County commissioners from the trustee chairman Deanell Reece Tacha.

In her letter, Tacha asked the county to guarantee the remainder of the funds if the fund-raising falls short. She emphasized, however, that she doesn’t think that will happen.

“I think it is nothing short of remarkable that we have already raised half of the funding in these beginning months. Thus I have every reason to believe that we are only asking you to serve as backup,” Tacha wrote.

Commissioners Bob Johnson, Jere McElhaney and Charles Jones, however, agreed during their meeting Monday that the county would loan the remainder of the funding to the heritage board, if that becomes necessary. The heritage board would have to repay the county."

For the record, Lawrence , Kansas (where the idea of the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area seems to have been born) is located in Douglas County {Kansas}.

This begs the question; If Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area has such widespread support, why does it need to borrow the remaining funds needed to kick off the project?

It is clear that while portraying widespread support for Freedom's Frontier and promoting a bi-state, bi-partisan concept for the project, that the leadership is  entrenched in Lawrence.

Some have questioned the legality of whether or not a county can "loan" money to an entity or anything else for that matter. In addition, one has to wonder what kind of "collateral" will be used to secure such a loan, and how much responsibility the State of Missouri be burdened with if the project fails?

Despite trustee chairman   Deanell Reece Tacha's belief that it won't, additional information published in the Lawrence World-Journal lends credibility to those doubting true support for Freedom's Frontier.

On December 23'rd , 2007 the newspaper published an article entitled "Chamber Leadership".  Information found in the article states that the Lawrence {Kansas} Convention and Tourism Bureau recently moved out of the city's Chamber of Commerce facilities and is now "under the auspices" of the Destinations Management company, and that "receipts from the city’s bed tax now go to the new organization, not the chamber."

If Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area has so much wide spread support, then why is money now being siphoned from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and diverted to a new management company?

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www.clintlacy.com
Clint E. Lacy is a friend of freedom and a Southern author and activist. He resides in the Ozark Foothills of Southeast Missouri.

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