Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 16, 2014

What is it about Raleigh?

By Scott Smith Tribune columnist
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Raleigh, North Carolina appears to have an undeniable attraction to people from Howard County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wake County, N.C., of which Raleigh is the county seat, was the most popular migration destination for former Howard County residents between 2007 and 2011.

The census bureau last week unveiled data sets for migration, along with a handy interactive map, at http://flowsmapper.geo.census.gov/flowsmapper/map.html

In that four-year period, Howard County’s net migration loss was 238 people, which equates to about three-tenths of one percent of the population. Because of births outnumbering deaths, the total population of the county actually grew very slightly in that period.

Our best guess about Raleigh is that numerous engineers and other white collar workers at Delphi Electronics & Safety lost their positions in the company’s bankruptcy reorganization, and moved to Raleigh, the hub of North Carolina’s Research Triangle area.

According to the census, 186 individuals moved to Wake County during the 2007-11 period; the second most popular destination on the list was Hamilton County, Ind., where 152 people moved.

Cass County was by far the biggest contributor to Howard County’s population; 577 people moved to Howard County from Cass County during the census period. We received another 103 people from Dallas County, Texas, and 86 people from Greene County, Ind.

The concern, as it has been for decades, is that there is a brain drain in Howard County, and the numbers – showing large numbers of people moving to areas where individuals, on average, have higher education attainment levels – seem to bear it out. The movement is especially pronounced for recent college graduates.

But it’s not just a Howard County thing. Jay Colbert, a project manager at IUPUI’s Polis Center, said. The statewide numbers show the same tendency.

“The higher the level of education obtained, the higher the probability that students will leave Indiana,” Colbert wrote.

Short title card for 2014 primaries

In four years, when Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers is term-limited from running again, we expect we will see the mother of all primary battles to replace him.

This year, however, primary matchups are few and far between for Howard County voters.

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indianapolis, has two primary opponents in the Fifth District race — David Stockdale and Mike Campbell — but also enjoys name recognition and a substantial fundraising lead.

Other than that, there are two trustee races on the Republican side — in Liberty and Ervin townships. Newcomer Troy Beachy is trying to unseat Liberty Township Trustee Linda Grove, and Andrew Cook and Jay Martin are vying for an open seat in Ervin Township.

November will be a different matter, as the Howard County Democratic Party has fielded a group of candidates to challenge Republican officeholders for commissioner, county council, clerk and recorder.

Kokomo attorney Dick Russell has also filed to challenge Democratic Howard Circuit Court Judge Lynn Murray.