The southeast Iowa town of Columbus Junction is featured in the February issue of a national magazine that targets Hispanics. “Latina” magazine features the city that sits in Louisa County. Mallory Smith, the executive director of the Lousia County Development Group, says her county has the highest per capita Hispanic population in Iowa. She says they have a long-term immigration from Latin America that started back in the beginning of the 1900’s. She says it’s been wonderful for the community and has kept the community vibrant. Smith says you can see the impact of the Hispanic immigration when you walk downtown. She says about half the businesses are Hispanic owned, and she says it’s not the typical restaurants and grocery stores — it’s the pizza and video places. She says there’s been a blending of cultures. Other Iowa communities have struggled to deal with an influx of immigrants and blending them into their towns. Smith says it takes work. She says, “There’s certainly been growing pains, there is anywhere any time. But I think it just comes down to the people, the human touch, the school district’s very caring.” She says business organizations and community clubs have worked to bring people together. Smith says many of the Hispanics have come from larger communities like Chicago and New York to start businesses in Columbus Junction. She expects the article in Latina magazine to spur more interest. She says she thinks it will and she says that will hinge on a new housing development that’s in the works. She says they have almost more people wanting to live there than they have housing. Smith says Columbus Junction and Louisa County have planned a big celebration for January 28th to highlight their exposure in the magazine. She says representatives from Latina’s Chicago office will be in to recognize the people featured in the article. You can see the feature on Columbus Junction on-line at:www.latina.com.
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