Idaho Trip part 5 - Don't Make Fun of Rupert - 8/8/05
I'm back from vacation now, but I'm going to continue to post post-emptively for a while until I get caught up. Three weeks of rural weddings, lake cabins and Chicago bars provide a lot more stories than they do consistent internet access.

My cousin is from St. Paul, Minnesota (population: 287,151; closest airport: 12 miles). He now lives in Seattle (population: 573,000; closest airport: in the city), where he met and now lives in a house with his fiancée. Where she's from: Rupert, Idaho. Population: 5,645; nearest airport: 180 miles, in another state). Which of these three places would you pick to have your wedding?

I guess if the bride's family is paying for everything and they live in Rupert, then Rupert it is. Ironically, as my parents and I walked up to one of the town's 3 downtown restaurants to have the groom's dinner (actually it was a tavern with a room in the back for us to have caterers come into town and set up a dining room), my cousin Kate came out to meet us and informed us of the one rule for the wedding: "Don't make fun of Rupert." I guess the family was sensitive about it. So much for all my groom's dinner conversation material.

Abiding by this rule, and since I grew up appreciating all the bucolic small towns near our cabin in northern Minnesota, I will continue to not make fun of Rupert. I will, however, make fun of its website.

When your town only has five-thousand people in it, your website really has to reach for things to boast about. In fact many small towns just leave it alone and don't have a website at all. Which is probably a good idea - when your biggest triumph is being thirty miles from a ski-resort, your internet-presence budget tends to be low. The result can be disastrous, as Rupert's website illustrates. Containing some of the following gems, www.rupert-idaho.com is truly a site to behold.

From the "Location" page: "Nestled in the green valleys of the southeast part of Magic Valley, the City of Rupert is located just three miles north off Interstate Highway 84, between Twin Falls and Pocatello…"

…two other towns you've never heard of. Also, when your town is located not on, but merely near, an Interstate, you're probably in trouble.

Also from the "Location" page: Rupert's location in southern Idaho makes it an ideal hub for all things that need to travelCommunications, Transportaion, Travel and Tourism, just to name a few. Centralized in the middle of Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, and all points beyond, makes Rupert a crossroads and hub of transportation of goods.

Tourism needs to travel? Travel needs to travel? Apparently the spelling of Transportaion is doing OK right where it is, though. Also, it's a good thing Rupert is centralized in the middle of two cities that aren't even in Idaho, as well as all points beyond, or I don't know how I would have found it. As it was, it was an easy matter to simply drive to the middle of everywhere.

From the "Events" page: With numerous events and activities, (cultural, entertaining, and legislative), going on all year round.

Now I'm no SAT teacher, but I don't think this is a complete sentence. There are also some modifier agreement issues. As captivating as the "numerous legislative activities" undoubtedly are, perhaps some grammar events are in order to make literate people less wary about coming here.

From the "Community" page: The City of Rupert, Idaho is a wonderful and close community.
A multi-cultural diversity brings a feeling of belonging for all of our residents. Many different religious institutions, civic organizations and cultural activities create the cultural tapestry that blends and binds this community together. Our community offers an exceptional educational system with all the amenities needed for our children to complete a well-rounded and informed schoolastic career. The true feeling of what America and Freedom means abounds within Rupert for all to enjoy.

If only their childrens' schoolastic careers were as well-rounded as their use of bold italics.

From the "City Info" page: Rupert has a quilting shop, antique and craft stores, drug store, two grocery stores, two new and used car dealers, shoe store, barber shop, children's clothing store, two other clothing stores, florist, two pizza stores, Chinese restaurant, Hispanic and another bakeries, several other eating establishments, two elementary schools, junior high school, high school, post office, courthouse, library and museum.

And they're all on the same block.

There are several lawyers, doctors, dentists and optometrists.

All of whom are ashamed of this website.

Rupert's main industry is farming.

Duh.

Rupert is just a few miles from two nice golf courses and is less that fifteen miles from the Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, Minidoka Dam and Lake Walcott and Walcott Park. Pomerelle Ski Resort, with twenty-two ski runs, is only 30 miles away.

The nearest crappy golf course is only one miles away... and the nearest meth labs' only twelve feet.

I'm not a website snob. The internet is a place where all sites, big and small, should be able to express their messages and promote their products or tiny towns. But this one looks like it was designed by a third-grader at one of the two elementary schools.

OK, I guess I made fun of Rupert, after all. Sorry, Kate.

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