Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sadness in the Wood Household

I normally blog on marketing tips, happenings in Stokes County or events that I feel are important or of note. I ask your indulgence today to let me take on a personal tone.

We lost a beloved member of our family yesterday. Murray, our Basset Hound/German Shepherd mix had to be put to sleep. Murray was going on 16 years old and we had the pleasure of having him in our family for almost 15 of those years. The vet kept saying how lucky he was to have been adopted by us but I beg to differ. We were the lucky ones to have this funny looking, lovable, dignified fellow with us for so long.

My wife brought him to our home in Lenoir just after we had moved in. He had been hit by a car near the mall in Hickory. He had a bad scar on his belly and hip but he recovered fully and soon was a full blow member of the family. He was a little lonely at first but we rescued Sophie from Burke County and soon had a happy duet. We lost Sophie about two years ago and Murray had to break in two new pups and did a wonderful job.

Murray was built like a basset hound, colored like a shepherd and would cry like a baby. When my dad would come to visit, Murray would come to sit by his side and stay for hours. Dad was in declining health but he loved dogs and I think Murray understood that Pop needed some comfort.

Murray wasn't one to do tricks, he wasn't fast or sleek nor did he have a pedigree, what he was, was a wonderful companion, a dignified hound and a great friend.

We laid him to rest with Sophie and Fig (the only cat I have ever owned.) They can keep each other company after we have to leave hear. I hope it is true that all dogs go to heaven. If it is, he and Sophie are with Pop, chasing rabbits, letting him rub his ears (his favorite thing) and having a grand time. He deserves it!

Rest in Peace your wonderful hound!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Business Facebook Pages

Does your business have a facebook page? If it doesn't it is time to start one. You are giving away a tremendous opportunity to attract new customers. If it does, here are some good tips on how to make it more effective. I found this on LinkedIn and it was compiled by Zach Hanebrink, I think it is a good list. Do you have any additional pointers, if so please take time to share them.

9 Tips for Facebook Page Success

Having a Facebook Page for your business or website is quickly becoming a staple in any online marketing strategy. Just having a Facebook Page is not enough. There are 8 things you can do to ensure your Facebook Page is a success.

1. Add a link back to your website – Sounds simple right? It is! Add your website url to your page. Be sure you also feature it in the left sidebar for maximum visibility. This will help send additional traffic to your website as well as help with your SEO. Google loves links and a link from Facebook is a good one to have.

2. Company profile – Still standard stuff here, but you would be surprised how many people seem to skip over this. Fill out the Info section of your page to include “about us” type information. This will help visitors who are not so familiar with you know exactly what you do.

3. Static FBML – Add the Static FBML app. This app will allow you to essentially have a custom landing page on your Facebook page. You can include custom html, content, images and graphics. Once you have everything in place, you can make this tab the default landing page. There is an option for “Default Landing Tab for Everyone Else.”

4. Blog feed – Install the Social RSS app. This app will enable you to publish your latest blog posts to your wall. There are useful settings that let you “like” your own posts, add the posts to your wall or in a dedicated tab/box.

5. YouTube – There are several good YouTube apps out there. I happen to like YouTube Video Box. This app will give you a dedicated tab where you can feature all your videos from your YouTube channel. Videos are a good way to breathe a little extra life into your pages.

6. Promotions – Let’s face it, your brand probably isn’t the most interesting thing on Facebook. Many of the people become “fans” because they are looking for discounts. So, give them what they want! Facebook is a good outlet for one off promotions, contests etc. Promotions is a great app that makes running Facebook promotions a breeze.

7. Poll – Don’t let your Facebook page become static. Interactivity is interesting. Give your fans something to do on your page. Polls are a great way to get others involved in your brand as well as give you an opportunity for some easy market research. Add a Poll to your page today!

8. Usernames – If you haven’t noticed, page urls are not attractive out of the box. They are long and hard to share. Once you have 25+ fans you can get a custom username for your page. This lets you further brand your Facebook page. Now your Facebook url can be

9. Promote your page – One of the best ways to promote your Facebook page is on your blog. Give your blog readers an opportunity to connect with you. Facebook is a great way to better stay in front of your audience

Sokes County Included in 21st Century Community Program

Economic Development Commission


For Release: Immediately

Contact: Alan Wood, Director, Stokes County Economic Development

* * * * * *

(Danbury, NC August 23, 2010) N. C. Department of Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco announced on August 13 that four counties have been selected to participate in the continuation of the 21st Century Communities Program. Stokes County, along with Cleveland, Jones and Pamlico are the new counties.

The Stokes County Economic Development Commission applied for inclusion in this program, which is designed to foster growth in counties that are facing economic challenges to assist them in the development of programs and initiatives that will lead to economic growth. The application process was competitive and Stokes County was chosen from several candidates. The success of the application was in large part due to the support provided by the City of King, Towns of Walnut Cove and Danbury, who each provided a letter of endorsing Stokes County in their efforts to be included in this program. Having 100% of the taxing municipalities willing to participate in this process and the willingness the county has shown to partner regionally was seen as key to this selection.

Jimmy Walker, Chairman of the Stokes County Board of Commissioners was very excited about the inclusion of the county in the program saying “It is difficult to place a monetary value on the return this program will have for Stokes County and its citizens. It will help raise the awareness of the Department of Commerce as to what we have to offer, it should help foster a greater sense of cooperation within the county and it should help us further develop a plan for future growth in our economy.”

Alan Wood, the Director of Economic Development was very pleased with the news and responded with the following “I relish the opportunity to work closely with the Department of Commerce and their Community Assistance arm. Hopefully we can find a way to fine-tune our development efforts. We have many wonderful assets within our borders, we need to learn to work together in more meaningful ways and leverage these assets to our best advantage. I believe this program can assist with this.”

PO Box 20 Danbury, NC 27016 336-593-2496

The 21st Century Communities program will focus on the communities for a period of 24 months. The process starts with a two day orientation session for officials of the selected
communities with the next step being a community assessment. This assessment will look at the strengths and weaknesses of each county and provide recommendations on how to proceed.

The full statement from N.C. Dept of Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco is included below.

* * *

Crisco announces 4 new 21st Century Communities

N.C. Dept. of Commerce Sec. Keith Crisco announced Aug. 13 that four additional counties in North Carolina have been selected to participate in the 21st Century Communities Program. The program, part of Commerce's Division of Community Assistance, fosters economic growth in less prosperous counties by helping them develop innovative economic and community development plans and initiatives. Cleveland, Jones, Pamlico and Stokes counties have been selected are the new counties.

"This two-year program prepares counties to be more competitive in today's challenging economic times," said Crisco. "Through collaboration and partnership, we are able to leverage local resources, strengthen infrastructure and support ongoing workforce and leadership development, ultimately bringing jobs and investment to these counties."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some interesting thoughts on a rainy day.

I am on a distribution list from Thomas Dismukes and wanted to share some of his thoughts on this rainy Thursday. Some of them made me smile and others gave me pause to stop and think for a moment. Hopefully, they will do the same for you!

Hello Alan,
Here are a few quotes to ponder. Several people have asked if I would also add one of my stories, so I've also added "The Meek Shall Inherit the Water." I hope my misery gives you great pleasure! :) Keep living a life of significance, by telling your story through your time, talents, treasures and touch! Remember, there is meaning behind the madness.
With warm regards,
Thomas Dismukes

Make others happy wherever you go, not whenever you go.
FEAR—is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Your life will either shed light or cast a shadow.
Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. John Wayne
If you work 75% of your capacity, 75% will become your capacity
If there exists no possibility of failure, then victory is meaningless. Robert Schuller
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens, we have to keep going back and begin again.
A sharp tongue sometimes cuts it’s own throat.
The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas.
Everything in the universe is subject to change and everything is right on schedule.

The Meek Shall Inherit the Water.

I’m not sure if it’s true but they say the last words of a red neck is, “Watch this!” I don’t think I’m a red neck, but I know I’ve certainly said it a time or two.
I am a compassionate lover of animals, bugs and birds. I tend to see them as the underdog, the less fortunate, the weak, and “helpless.” I enjoy being around them and if there is anything I can do to help them out I usually do what I can do. This day was no exception. I was enjoying the beautiful spring day with my wife Kim, out on the dock on Lake Keowee, SC. The birds were chirping, the squirrels were corkscrewing around the trees, the fish were splashing, it was a zip-pedee-dooda with a blue bird on my shoulder kind of day.
We were minding our own business just relaxing and eating our picnic lunch when off in the distance we heard the call of a family of Canada Geese. They must have been used to seeing people on the docks and scavenging for scraps of food because they were heading our way. They were a cute little family. The strong gander up front leading the charge as six tiny gosslets rapidly tried to keep pace. The graceful mother trailed shortly behind to protect the rear and to get a better view of her family making a wake toward us.
Kim had made us sandwiches for lunch so as they drew near to the dock I began to tear the crust off my sandwich. It was the least I could do for this poor helpless family. I would give up part of my sandwich… so that…they may live. Yes, I felt “one with nature.” They looked so sweet and gentle, treading patiently for me to feed them. Yes, just call me “nature boy”, in tune with the ecosystem dynamic. I grabbed the crust and began to bestow my bounty upon these needy birds with a toss of my hand. I anticipated them showing me with honks of gladness and thanksgiving but to my surprise, the gander began to aggressively HISS at me. I was shocked! Here I am providing his family with food, and he has the gall to HISS at me. Surely this must be a misunderstanding, so I tossed another handful their way. Once again the gander HISSED and even aggressively flexed his shoulders and bowed up toward me. And to beat all, he would do this AFTER his family ate my food. I was not trying to hurt his family I was trying to be KIND! Well, his little attitude got me a little angry. Here I am trying to help them out and this ungrateful recipient was trying to bite the hand that was feeding him!
I wondered just how tough he really was. Yeah, he thought he was big and bad, trying to show off in front of his little lady and kids! But I knew he was all honk. I continued to mildly harass the family with an overly exaggerated toss just to watch him fuss. When all of my sandwich was gone, rather than thanking me, the ungrateful heathens started to HISS at me more as if I had not given them enough! While they began to congregate at the end of the dock, obviously discussing their disappointment with my peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich, I sat with Kim and told her how disgusted I was with their ungrateful behavior. And then I began to think. In hindsight that’s where the trouble began.
An idea came to my head that would satisfy my urge of revenge. I never wanted to hurt the geese; I only wanted to “put them in their place.” They would see my majestic splendor. The incredible power of a human being and humbly recognize that I am far superior then they. It would be a tough lesson for them to learn, but it had to be done, for the children.
I gently backed up 40 feet to the beginning of the dock and quietly mouthed to Kim the last words of a red neck. With all my might and speed I could muster, I sprinted to the end of the dock where the family of geese were congregated, and with a warriors scream, I jumped, spread eagle.
It was my contention that the geese would see me in mid air and recognize the error of their ways. With that, they would humbly scatter, in recognition of their fault.
I was in mid air, when my warrior’s scream turned to a whimpering shrill. Four feet from the waters edge, I realized they were not being humbled nor were they seeing the error of their ways! I wish someone had told me geese could retract their claws like cats. I didn’t know they even had claws. Nor did I realize they had razor sharp teeth like an Amazon piranha! For future reference they also have a keen ability to hone in on vital parts of the body such as eyes, nose, ears and other “sensitive” body parts. They nearly blinded me and took the ability to father children before I even hit the water. With a load splash, I gracefully belly flopped into the water, expelling any remaining air I vitally needed to escape the wrath of the most assuredly reincarnation of Satan. Under the haven of water I felt safe for a brief moment until to my horror, I saw two goose torpedoes bearing down on me. They must have followed to trail of blood! I could only flip my legs around, half kicking them off and half swimming deeper, which did not help my now near suffocation problem. Seconds pasted and they finally stopped their pursuit. I looked up into the water and saw no swimming claws and determined it was safe to surface.
I broke the surface gasping for air and freedom. BAM! Direct hit. They went straight for the jugular! Where did they come from and where was Kim?! I blew the ballast and sucked in half the lake. Finally after hearing my screams through my surfacing bubbles, Kim was able to shoo Satan’s helper away with a paddle. It was over! Thankfully Kim was a Life Guard and had been trained in how to drag limp bodies to shore.
A vital lesson was learned through this…humbling episode and can be summed up in a single phrase said by Jesus Christ, “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Thomas Dismukes

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tourism In Stokes County

The only way this can succeed is for citizens to bet involved. Give me a call or send me an email: if you have any questions.

August 16, 2010

What: Discussion of Tourism Opportunities in Stokes County

When: Thursday September 2 from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Where: YMCA Camp Hanes Conference Room- 1225 Camp Hanes Rd. King, NC 27021

Why: A dedicated group of local citizens and officials have been working to map the tourism assets of Stokes County and determine how to best conserve, manage and develop these assets to create jobs and new investment in the community. We need your input and support to make this a success. Please join us to review our progress and for a frank discussion on how we can take full advantage of the opportunities that tourism offers to the citizens of Stokes County.

We can’t make this happen without your input and assistance. Please RSVP by August 30, 2010 to the email address or phone number shown below.

Alan D. Wood, Director