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Ennis Daily News

Census in the middle of nowhere

A thin, plastic bag hung on the fence in front of my house. Slowly pulling into the driveway, off the dirt road, it looked out of place.
My house is completely surrounded by land; grass and trees everywhere, we even have a horse and a donkey.

My brow creased when squinting to read the small red font typed across the white, sleek surface — U.S. Census 2010.

First of all, how did they find the place? One time, my sister was having a birthday party and a parent called to say they couldn’t find the house, and they were completely lost. His words were something like, “We are in the middle of nowhere.”

This drill was familiar to me; what was the last road you were on? Are there any landmarks around you?

Just then, he said “Wait, I found it.”

The hilarity in this to me was that he had to get completely lost to find our house.

That, or where I live is notorious for being the place to drop-off trash, and sadly, unwanted pets. We always have about six dogs and at one time, we had 20 cats. All living outside, but being fed and taken care of by us.

So, here in the land of where complicated directions, wrong turns, and a transient pet community meets, I left the engine running, got out of the car and lifted the bag off of the pole.

It was so light, so simple.

Peering inside to investigate the contents, I was disappointed to see that there was only a postcard-like form by itself.

I got back in the car, and drove down the rocky driveway until I reached the patch in the grass designated as my parking spot.

Turning the form over in my hands, I felt the weight of it. What I mean is, the impact it makes when these forms are mailed in.

April 1 is being dubbed as “Census Day” in hopes it will cause an ah-ha moment that causes the homeowner to fill out their form and mail it in.

Hopefully pranksters celebrating April Fool’s Day do not take advantage of the coincidence.

What? A 106-year-old wizard lives here, along with 30 house elves, and a phoenix? This sounds sketchy, yet so familiar.

(My new hobby lately has been relating everything to Harry Potter.)
Anyway, filling out and sending in that form will lead to $400 billion worth of federal funding to be distributed nationwide based on these population counts.

This funding is used for outlets in the community like hospitals, job training centers, schools, senior centers, bridges, tunnels, and other public-works projects, and of course, emergency services.

The information collected during the census also determines how many seats Texas will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and also helps with the redistricting of state legislatures, counties, city councils and voting districts.

Do yourself a favor and mail it in, because if not, it costs $57 per house in tax dollars to send a census taker to ask the same 10 simple questions that the form does.

It’s important because the census helps to plan for the next 10 years, so even if a baby is born on April 1, they are counted. Their schools will need to be funded in the next 10 years, based on the numbers that are received during the census. Let me stress again that the census counts everyone, and everyone matters; even the people who live out in the middle of nowhere.

Corrie DiManno is a staff writer at the Ennis Daily News and covers community news. She can be reached at corrie@ennisdailynews.com.

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Posted by on Mar 26 2010. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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