Hi Doing a bit of 21st Century thinking! G

Sour Grapes and Saddle Sores

George Hirst

Stark County's Game Theory Sept. 14. 2006

I recently read The Best American Science Writing in 2004. a chapter in that book entitled "The Science of Strategy" gave me food for thought. It was about a branch of math developed by John Nash that he called the game theory. The writer of the chapter, Tom Siegfried , wrote that we have a game theory for all that we do. Without going into great detail I believe that Stark County citizens have always had a game theory. Game theory is a way that persons in an activity develop an idea. It involves facts and needs and includes relationships with other persons as well as searches of the idea. The developers of Stark were persons who are remembered for their work in the settling of the county.

Stark County is one of a hundred and two counties in Illinois, it is among the smallest of counties. It is small but if you look at the activity in the county from its beginnings is has always been a busy place. A while back I reported on the nineteen cities and villages that were platted in the county in the early days, and as I reported from the beginnings each of them had a church, most of them had a grocery store and a bank. Each chartered group made their location important. Their game theory was to populate the county.

Disagreements about the location of the county seat and the route that Illinois highway 17 took as it was laid out across the state, were not just signs of competition, they indicated a belief that the county was important. That same spirit exists today in the development not only in stores and churches but also in the working of several groups that help provide economical growth as well as the well being of people. We do not compete, we work at what several of us think is necessary. That is why it is called the "Best Kept Secret" County. In short, there is game theory at work in Stark County.

As I read Leeson's Stark County History, which I have on loan from Joe Colgan,each one of the sites seeking charters for a town was intent on being the best place to live in the county. There were sites planned within a mile or two of each other. A much talked about competition these days is the one between Wyoming and Toulon. From the aspect of growth and civic improvement that it is a good thing as it keeps us all on our toes to make the community of Stark County a good place to live. The game theory of persons in each city indicates a belief in change and growth.

The consolidation of schools in the county is causing concern in that students in the grade schools are moved about. The way buildings are managed is worrisome partially because of the layouts of rooms and because of the age of the structures. I must say that I admire way the School Board handles the problems, given the limited amount of money that they have to operate the schools and maintain the buildings. The game theory has to be open ended and alert to the needs of students and the curriculumn that teachers use. It is clear that relationships with staff and administrators is important and that results sought are ongoing rather than problem solving.

The citizens of the county are right in there with the frustrations that are present. The bussing of small children from one place to another, the cobbling of teaching space in old buildings give rise to anger. But still and all we can be proud of the results of teachers in producing good students and promoting forward looking education. It is a small school district, however, it does its job with an efficiency that we can respect.

Keeping conversations going and working at the several things make what I see as a major game theory, that theory is building a community of Stark.

We have the attention of several Illinois State agencies and a number of elected officials are paying attention to what we are doing. They show up at our meetings. More than any thing though, Stark County from its beginnings has been populated by people who believe in community. It hasn't mattered much that some of that belief was misplaced. The county is sturdy and believes in itself. Our game theory is one that involves neighboring as well as a continual search for sources and ideas for county growth and life. This is a present life style, not one we ought to have, we think community.


Created by KKris. Last Modification: Sunday 17 of September, 2006 15:45:59 EDT by KKris.