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Kathy Henry, 09/14/07

The loss of community identity
Here we go again.  One of today's headlines was the announcement that The Dow Chemical Company will now be the major sponsor for The Bay City River Roar every summer.  By doing so, the event will now be called The Dow River Roar.
It's fine and dandy if Dow wants to contribute money to that event, but why must it now be named after the company?  For $35,000, it appears Bay City was willing to sell the name of one of it's major summer events.  It has been The Bay City River Roar for 20 years.  That's pretty sad.
Flashback to about, what, 3 years ago....
Yes, you all know what I'm talking about.  Even today when the subject is brought up, people from all walks of life in Saginaw that I talk to roll their eyes in disgust at the mention of The Saginaw Civic Center, now known as The Dow Event Center and referred to as "The Dow".
Yes, Saginaw sold the name of our event center to Dow Chemical as well for $250,000 a year.  Just the name mind you, not the building itself.  But now, every event held in our event center has Dow mentioned in the story or event.  Not Saginaw.  What ever happened to Saginaw?
Pick up our local Saginaw newspaper on any given day lately, and I swear some days there are more articles about Midland than about Saginaw County.  Midland has their own paper.  If I want to read about Midland, I can pick up one of their papers.
Has anyone also noticed that just about every other event held in the Tri-cities lately has Dow as a sponsor as well?  Again, there is nothing at all wrong with the company's generosity in wanting to contribute to local events, they have a lot of money to work with. 
But I want to know where Dow was for the past 100 years they have been operating in Midland.  Up until about 5 years ago, most of us only knew Dow as that company up in the polluted city of Midland that smells, and has all the buildings and events named after them.  So what happened 5 years ago to produce such a sudden interest in Bay City and Saginaw after 100 years?
I think you know the answer.
I just hope that the struggling communities of Bay City and Saginaw don't lose site of who we are.  Stop selling our names.  As we all know, there is a price, a certain loyalty expected from a company for such generosity.  I for one, want no part of becoming "Stepfordville" aka Midland.

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