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 CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- As the unemployment rate increases and communities continue to struggle with innovative problem solving, 10 cities were honored today by the National Civic League and the Allstate Foundation for improving their quality of life.
 Those All-America Cities are: Kenai, Alaska; Little Rock, Ark.; Delta, Colo.; Rockford, Ill.; Kansas City-Wyandotte County, Kan.; Billings, Mont.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Minot, N.D.; Columbus, Ohio; and Harlingen, Texas.
 As All-America City Award designees, communities experience enhanced regional and national image, most often resulting in new job opportunities through new economic development and industrial recruitement. Communities experience an increased sense of pride and recognition for citizen cooperation at every level of program development.
 Another 20 communities were recognized as finalists for demonstrating exceptional community achievements in the competition. These communities were: Chandler, Ariz.; Avenal, Calif; Glendale, Calif; Monterey Park, Calif.; Honolulu, Hawaii; Nampa, Idaho; Bloomington, Ind.; Huntingburg, Ind.; Lindsborg, Kan.; Ownesboro- Daviess County, Ky.; Newton, Mass.; Columbus, Neb.; Southport, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Pottsville, Pa.; Reading, Pa.; East Providence, R.I.; Sumter, S.C.; Houston; and Black River Falls Area, Wis.
 Christopher T. Gates, League Vice President, said "From Delta, Colorado to Columbus, Ohio, these ten communities have effectively harnessed civic pride and public-private partnerships to improve economic conditions and quality of life at the local level."
 Wayne Hedien, chairman and chief executive officer of Allstate Insurance Company, said: "These people represent the future of our cities. If we have the courage, the compassion, and the common sense to follow their example, America's cities can become real communities again -- where everyone has a right to belong -- and all of us have a chance to contribute."
 The ten communities, recognized today by the National Civic League and The Allstate Foundation, are listed below with summaries of the projects for which they were selected:
 Kenai, Alaska (pop. 6,327)
 Kenai highlighted three projects that focused on the long-term goals of preserving the values of the American family and the need to recognize the benefits each culture brings to the community. They included affordable housing efforts for senior citizens, a center for victims of domestic violence and child abuse, and the new Kenai Bicentennial Visitors and Cultural Center. U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, said, "The people of Kenai can be proud of their community and the model it provides for other communities in Alaska and the lower forty-eight."
 Little Rock, Ark. (pop. 175,795)
 With a declining population, rising health costs and an increase in substance abuse, Little Rock had its work cut out. The increase in substance abuse prompted the city to create a unique insurance program called "Fight Back/Insure the Children," which insures substance abuse prevention and treatment for all 26,000 children from kindergarten through the 12th grade.
 Delta, Colo. (pop. 3,789)
 Delta transformed its deteriorating northern edge from an industrial mining area -- complete with abandoned buildings and sewer lagoons -- into a 305-acre commercial and recreational complex.
 "We have learned how to work together to solve a problem and then enjoy the results of our efforts together as a community," said Delta City Manager, Steve Shutt. "The cooperation, hard work and resourcefulness of many agencies made possible a multi-million dollar complex at minimal cost to local citizens."

The complex is the culmination of a dream not thought possible in this small, rural community.
 Rockford, Ill. (pop. 139,426)
 Rockford leads the state of Illinois in recycling programs. Businesses, city government and volunteers worked together to continually improve the programs. Over two-thirds of Rockford's residents recycle, diverting over 32,000 tons of refuse in less than two years.
 "This award recognizes that our volunteer groups, businesses, city agencies, and citizens have developed the ability to organize and cooperate, to address community goals and solve problems," said Susan Grans, vice president of the Rockford Area Chamber of Commerce.
 Kansas City-Wyandotte County, Kan. (pop. 162,026)
 Involvement and change were the fundamental components of the All- America City Award application of Kansas City-Wyandotte County. The new Stanley School is an example of the innovative programs for which the community was recognized and has shown that any school can succeed when its client population works together according to a common vision. "We have discovered how to respect the individual views and approaches of our diverse community, while uniting ourselves to define and solve problems that face us all," said Susan Rohrer, chair of the community's All-America City Steering Committee. Bonner Springs and Edwardsville area also recognized in Wyandotte County.
 Billings Area, Mont. (pop. 113,400)
 Billings solicited participation from the community to draft a strategic planning process to re-structure the area's economy and design an intervention model for change. Together with local industry, the community designed a plan to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide. Its citizens have pulled together to build a new natural habitat zoological park. Billings Mayor, Richard Larsen, said the award "means the people are doing a lot of things correctly. It constitutes recognition of their involvement and care."
 Jacksonville, N.C. (pop. 77,685)
 Newly named All-America City Jacksonville, N.C. sent more husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters to the Persian Gulf than any other community in the United States. A community faced with fear and separation organized to respond to the crisis by creating a Caring Community Committee to provide support, counsel and guidance to those families who had members in the gulf. "The whole process is about how communities deal with problems," said Jacksonville Mayor George Jones. "Jacksonville has problems unique to military communities and we want to tell the rest of the country about it."
 Minot, N.D. (pop. 34,544)
 Thanks to strong, cohesive community support, Minot has earned the right to call itself an All-America City. This community's spirit helped bring about a unique international flood control agreement, which is now providing Minot with protection from one of the town's most serious threats to economic growth: repeated flooding of the Souris River. Working cooperatively with the state, two national governments and two Canadian provinces, Minot's leaders secured the construction of two dams in Canada to provide flood protection for the entire Souris River Valley. All-America City Chairman John Stewart said, "All of the projects we submitted demonstrate and reflect our residents tremendous spirit of cooperation."
 Columbus, Ohio (pop. 632,910)
 The city of Columbus has been named a recipient of an All-America City Award, for its effective utilization of public-private-nonprofit partnerships to significantly impact the quality of life in the community. "This award confirms we are an energetic and caring community," said Columbus Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka. "We have begun to confront three major challenges -- drug abuse, AIDS and education -- and we have assembled both public and private partners to participate in the process. Of the three All-America City designations Columbus has won, this year's may be the most meaningful," Lashutka said.
 Harlingen, Texas (pop. 48,735)
 The south Texas city of Harlingen was selected a 1992 All-America City because of its successful efforts at job creation, drop-out prevention, litter reduction, and feeding the hungry. Today, Harlingen's high school drop-out rate is down 17 percent and employment is up 16 percent. Additionally, the city is much cleaner -- 74 percent cleaner according to Mayor Bill Card -- and the nutritional requirements of the community's homeless and low-income populations are being met at a downtown soup kitchen, staffed and funded by local churches.
 Begun 43 years ago, the All-America City Award Program is the oldest and most respected community-recognition program in the United States. During the program's 43-year history, nearly 5,000 communities have applied and over 400 have won the award. The program is administered by the National Civic League, a 98-year-old, nonprofit, non-partisan educational association dedicated to the promotion of democratic values and broadly based, participatory problem solving.
 Created in 1952 by Allstate Insurance Company, The Allstate Foundation provides financial support for safety, health and human services, educational, civic, and community projects and efforts.
 -0- 6/6/92
 /CONTACT: Katie Broeren or Bob Lapinski, 704-372-4100, ext. 2343, for the National Civic League/ CO: National Civic League; Allstate Insurance Company ST: IN SU:

BR -- NYON3 -- 7678 06/07/92 00:58 EDT
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Date:Jun 7, 1992

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