I'm showing my age again, but I remember the days when convention centers and ballparks had names like Rosenblatt Stadium or the Civic Center. Center court wasn't covered with a corporate logo. Our lives weren't "brought to you by..."
Today, the College World Series is played at TD Ameritrade Park. The Iowa high school basketball tournaments are hosted at Wells Fargo Arena, not Veteran's Memorial Arena (now called Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center, by the way.)
Naming rights are big, big business.
So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the story recently published in the New York Times, outlining how cash-strapped municipalities are getting into the naming rights game in some rather unique ways.
Logos emblazoned on manhole covers and fire hydrants? It's reality for some towns in Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee after Kentucky Fried Chicken paid to fill potholes and replace hydrants in some towns.
Pizza chains are advertising on some school buses across the country, and Baltimore is considering allowing advertisements on the sides of its fire trucks.
While I understand these moves are a way to raise much-needed funds without raising taxes, co-opting a public entity for cash seems wrong.
Call me a romantic, but the old school names of public facilities held meaning, pride and memories. An ever-rotating batch of names just doesn't hold the same mystique. Also, when it comes to public equipment like fire trucks or police cars, does sponsorship come with its privileges? If a business helped to pay for a police car, does that mean extra vigilance, or a quicker response time to that company?
Public entities should remain, in my opinion, just that, public.
Am I the only one who is getting an urge for fish and chips these days?
England, it seems, is the center of the universe.
With the Diamond Jubilee for Queen Elizabeth earlier this month, the royal wedding of Prince William and his lovely Catherine last year, and the upcoming Olympics, all eyes are across the pond these days.
Our nation appears to have gotten over the tiff we had with the Brits a couple hundred years ago, and we're excited to send our young men and women to London to compete.
I'm already getting in the Olympic spirit, avidly watching our nation's Olympic trials. Gymnastics, diving and track and field have been keeping me glued to the tube, and swimming is on the agenda next.
I always enjoy the two weeks of competition of the Olympic games. Pride in country, and amazement at the athletic prowess of the world's best. I do get a bit choked up when the Stars and Stripes rises to the ceiling and the national anthem is played.
The schedule for this year's Mainstreet Market has been released, and it looks like another great lineup of entertainment will be serenading shoppers again this summer. There's no more pleasant way to spend a summer evening than strolling under the trees of the courthouse square, visiting with friends and neighbors, buying some fresh fruits and vegetables, checking out the beautiful work of local artisans, and listening to wonderful musicians.
The date of the first market can't come soon enough!