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April 28th, 2010
01:12 PM ET
April 24th, 2010
12:46 PM ET

Penny Tax pays off in Dodge City

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent


Filed under: 360° Radar • Building Up America • Tom Foreman
April 24th, 2010
12:42 PM ET

Video: Cessna rises above recession

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent


Filed under: 360° Radar • Building Up America • Tom Foreman
April 23rd, 2010
08:20 AM ET

Dear President Obama #459: Goodbye yellow brick road ...

Reporter's Note: I’m finishing my trip to Kansas by tapping my heels together and saying…oh nevermind. I’m just getting onto a plane. But not before sending my latest letter to the White House.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Well, I’m wrapping up my visit to Kansas today and heading back home, and I have to admit I’m going to miss it. The people have all been really nice, and I’ve already told you how much I enjoy the Great Plains. We chased some cows, visited Boot Hill, watched guys weld, peeked into a casino, saw a prairie fire, played with a few dogs (one of which sat in the driver’s seat of our big fancy bus…ha!) and enjoyed more cuts of beef than I usually see in a month. Good times.

I’ll miss it for another reason too. We media types often do a terrible job of just showing Americans the country in which they live, and I think that is a really important part of what we ought to do. Going back to DC means going back to talking to experts, politicians, and people who…while certainly educated and experienced in one part of the America…sometimes seem pretty disconnected from the rest of it.

FULL POST

April 22nd, 2010
10:22 AM ET

Dear President Obama #458: Workers Wanted: Apply at high noon

Reporter's Note: I’m writing from Kansas again, within a stone’s throw of the famous Boot Hill! Not that it really changes anything…but still, it’s interesting.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Here is what a guy in Dodge City said to me today about his town’s overwhelming success building up its local economy over the past ten years. “We just hope Washington doesn’t come along and mess it up.”

Now, I’m not talking about some anti-government hothead. This is not a malcontent who is never happy with the state of things. This is an involved, caring, community minded civic leader, who clearly believes in the power of government to do good. Just not the federal government. Not now.

Perhaps a little framing is in order. This is cattle country of course and that’s always been the big cornerstone industry. But after decades of stagnation in terms of local development, in 1997 city and civic leaders convinced local voters to approve a one cent sales tax increase. They promised that the money would go to creating an entertainment Mecca in their town with sports arenas, a race track, and a new multi-use convention center to host meetings, concerts, even ice hockey...which, as you may guess, is something of a rarity on the plains of Kansas. Like windless days.

FULL POST

April 21st, 2010
09:25 AM ET

Video: Town goes green after tornado

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent


Filed under: Building Up America • Tom Foreman
April 21st, 2010
08:27 AM ET

Dear President Obama #457: The town that green built...

Reporter's Note: I’m still in Kansas. President Obama is not. So my daily letters to the White House continue.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.obamabirth.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

For a long time as I traveled I sent postcards to my parents down in Alabama, and they dutifully pinned them to a wall in the rec room. Well, I call it a rec room, but it was really a converted garage. They really liked them. It was a simple way to keep track of where I’d been. But eventually I’d visited all the states more than once and the duplicates became monotonous. I mean, no matter how much you like Idaho, how many “Welcome to Boise!” cards can one stomach in a lifetime? So they eventually they took the postcards down, and stacked them in a drawer

So I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t track down a “Kansas is Kan-tastic!” card and send it your way. Trust me, you’ll thank me in the long run.

That said, I continue to have a good (if somewhat exhausting) time here. Every day starts very early and ends very late. Makes me feel like a farmer. Ha!

FULL POST

April 20th, 2010
05:21 PM ET
April 20th, 2010
10:16 AM ET

Dear President Obama #456: Prairie, and pizza, and farm implements ... oh my

Reporter's Note: I’m still in Kansas, so I suppose I should be sending postcards instead of letters to the White House this week. But then once President Obama stuck them on the refrigerator for a while, they’d get all dusty and he’d take them down, but he really wouldn’t want to throw them away, but gosh what do you do with them?...you know the drill. So here’s today’s letter.

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

It’s been a long day out here on the prairie. (Ha! Sounds like a letter to Jefferson from Meriwether Lewis.) We started in Wichita working on our Building Up America stories, traveled on to Kingman to see a farm equipment manufacturer, then onto Greensburg to talk about that town rebuilding from a terrible tornado, and finally we doubled back this evening to Pratt where we are busy editing away on the CNN Express as I write this at midnight.

And you are seriously missing out on all the fun. This is just a fantastic time of year to be on the Great Plains. Absolutely achingly green fields stretch along the highway in some places, while in others controlled burns send sheets of fire and towering columns of smoke into the sky. Along the creek beds, the cottonwoods are filling in fast, creating those little islands of coolness that will be so inviting in just a couple of months; the clouds are skittering against the blue; startled pheasants are peaking from the roadsides while hawks soar far overhead…ah, it’s the life.

FULL POST

April 19th, 2010
11:24 AM ET
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