On Tuesday, October 13, 2009 representatives from St. Louis, Missouri PBS affiliate KETC Channel 9 toured Cuba, Missouri and conducted interviews for the program Facing the Mortgage Crisis.  Since June 2008, KETC Channel 9 has been helping the St. Louis region face the on-going economic and mortgage crisis by connecting those in need with trusted community resources to help them address or prevent a foreclosure situation and deal with other aspects of the current financial crisis. Creating positive news stories and highlighting the efforts of local communities in the region are key components of this program.

KETC Program Manager Lauren Schwarze and intern Josh Goebel visited with leaders in Cuba, Missouri as a means to better measure some of the triumphs and successes in economic development over the past quarter century.  Interviewed for this program were Mardy Leathers, Norman DeLeo, Jim Barnett, Jr., Jill Barnett, Bob Baldwin, Robert Viehman, and Dennis Roedemeier.  Interviews were held at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center and followed up by a tour of local industry and attractions.  Portions of the tour included the Industrial Parks, Historic District, Murals, School District, and local retail establishments.  The tour concluded with a guided tour of the History Museum coupled with lunch at JavaNet.
“I had a wonderful time talking with the residents and exploring the community.  Cuba is a great city with an exciting future,” stated KETC intern Josh Goebel during a follow-up editing session with Mardy Leathers.  KETC Program Manager Lauren Schwarze added, “[Cuba] is such a lovely place that has so many incredible stories. [Cuba’s] economic development diversity can really serve as an example to not only other smaller towns, but bigger ones as well!”

The interviews and tours were captured with FLIP cameras and will be posted on the project website www.stlmortgagecrisis.org coupled with a feature blog.  “This was a tremendous opportunity for our community.  We are very excited about the potential we hold.  I truly believe Cuba to be a world-class community that will continue to be creative and resilient in the days to come,” states Chamber of Commerce President Mardy Leathers.

The event was result of a meeting between Mardy Leathers and Lauren Schwarze at the 2009 Governor’s on Economic Development.  “From the outset of our meeting I saw this as something we needed to bring back to our community,” stated Leathers.  As a result of approval from the broadcast team at KETC, the project moved forward.  The project focused its emphasis on the triumphs and challenges in economic development faced by Cuba over the years.  Interviewees were on hand to tell the story of Cuba’s past, present, and future in regard to economic and community development.  “Overall I feel the event was a great success!” stated Norman DeLeo, Director of the Cuba IDA.

KETC and this project are to be one of the first steps of a multistep process toward the execution of a new economic development initiative for Cuba.  Led by Leathers, a 10 year, 3 phase plan has been drafted which benchmarks of 3, 5, and 10 years.  This plan shall be a comprehensive focus on community and economic development efforts in the Cuba region.  While creating new opportunity or economic hunting as described by Leathers, is critically important, the plan also takes a very deep focus on sustainability and developmental efforts for existing businesses, or economic gardening as again described by Leathers.  Overall, Cuba is looking to begin its next phase of rebirth as it works to continue to strive for excellence in the new global marketplace.  KETC will continue to post additional video feeds and blogs in the in the coming weeks.

Cuba Development Group, Inc.
PO Box 242 Cuba, Missouri 65453
Tel: 573-259-1284
FAX: 573-885-1059
Internet: info@gocubamo.com