Friday, August 14, 2009

Expeditions by Tricia (AND PRESIDENT OBAMA!) to Wakarusa, Indianaa

It's not that often that I am in a geographic location at the same time as a U.S. President, but, by sheer coincidence, that was the situation last week when I was in northern Indiana for the Quilt Garden Tour, at the same time that President Barack Obama made his historic visit to the little town of Wakarusa, Indiana (population about 1,800).
One of the reasons for his choice of Wakarusa to make a major announcement, was the high rate of unemployment in that county of Indiana. The area was hit very hard by the effect of the declining economy on the Recreational Vehicle (RV) industry. RV production had been big business for that area. Many of the employees in such factories had a background in the Amish/Mennonite culture, prevalent in northern Indiana. One aspect of that culture is their tradition of learning the skills of furniture-making and wood-working. The RV industry was able to make very good use of such skilled and hard-working employees as were found there.
How ironic it is that in a town where you are very likely to see horse-drawn vehicles and adults using bicycles for something besides triathlon preparation, the former Monaco RV company (now owned by Navistar, Inc.) will be receiving $39 million from the U.S. government to develop 400 advanced battery electric delivery trucks at the Wakarusa facility. The 6-ton trucks will each have a range of 100 miles. The grant is part of a $2.4 billion government program aimed at accelerating the manufacture and deployment of American-made, next-generation batteries and electric vehicles. The Goshen News quoted President Obama as saying, "For too long, we've failed to invest in this kind of innovative work, even as countries like China and Japan were racing ahead. That's why this announcement is so important---this represents the largest investment in this kind of technology in American history."
I took the photos above of the Monoco RV facility, as they were just beginning to get ready for the President. According to local TV news stations, Elkhart County officials just learned of his visit the Friday night before he was scheduled to be in Wakarusa for a speech on Wednesday, August 5.
The Wakarusa Dime Store (famous for its XL-size jellybeans) was doing a booming business, selling packages of specially-marked beans with the Presidential seal (upper left photo). The increased visits to Wakarusa's downtown probably helped boost sales for the beautiful quilt the town is raffling off, in conjunction with the 2009 Quilt Garden Tour (upper right photo and That increase in the number of visitors is also probably the reason there were no local newspapers to be bought from the machines outside the post office, the day after President Obama visited (lower right photo). One hand-made sign I saw in a store window caught my eye (large, middle photo), because that store proprietor was demonstrating a Biblical viewpoint---to pray for our country's leaders---whether or not we agree with them. It is found in I Timothy 2:1-4 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone---for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (NIV) So let that be our prayer as we wish miles of smiles to all those "walking in Wakarusa"!Posted by Picasa