In the Midlands, people have much to be thankful for in addition to turkey, football, family and shopping.
Between helpings this holiday, we all can reflect on the good fortune of calling this region home.
Marvel at the work ethic behind our strong, agriculturally rooted, diverse economy. Applaud a political culture still rooted in effective governance despite our disagreements.
Find comfort in the shared investments that help bond our communities. And appreciate state and local governments that largely respect the people who earned the tax dollars.
Recent praise for Nebraska, Iowa and Omaha shows a growing awareness of our region's strengths. It also bodes well for the future.
Here are some highlights gathered by state and local economic development officials and organ- ized around principles our community values:
>> Business-friendly. Forbes ranked Nebraska the No. 6 state for business. Iowa was No. 12. CNBC also ranked both states highly. Tax studies routinely cite the improving tax climates of both states in various publications.
>> Family-friendly. Forbes and the Movoto blog named Omaha a top-10 U.S. city for raising families. Credibility.org found that households in greater Omaha were under less financial stress than in 77 other U.S. metropolitan areas.
>> Proactive in education. The U.S. Department of Education ranked Iowa and Nebraska among the top-10 states in four-year high school graduation rates. The feds also list Nebraska and Iowa among the top states for educated workforces.
>> Low cost of living. The U.S. Department of Commerce rated Iowa sixth among the least-expensive states in which to live. Nebraska ranked eighth. Census Bureau data mined by the University of Nebraska at Omaha found that Iowa had the lowest income-adjusted poverty rates in the country. Nebraska's rate was fifth lowest.
>> Governed well. Iowa ranked as the third best-run state by 24/7 Wall Street, and Nebraska ranked fourth. Numerous studies show the public debt loads of the two states as light-years from the dysfunction of Illinois, California or Nevada.
>> Thrift. Kiplinger called greater Omaha the nation's top city for cheapskates, for people who like to earn and keep more of their money. Public unions here value tax dollars, working with city officials to secure reasonable retirements.
>> Valuing service. G.I. Jobs ranked the Omaha area a top-five location for military veterans to live, learn and work. Volunteerism rates in Nebraska and Iowa are among the nation's best.
>> Future-focused. Gallup ranked Nebraska and Iowa among the top seven states to live in going forward. The Atlantic Wire ranked Omaha as a top city for millennials. MSN ranked Omaha one of the Midwest's coolest cities to live in. It also called the city a top national destination for college graduates. Nerdwallet.com and Under30CEO called Omaha a top-10 city for entrepreneurs.
It's all quite a bit for which to be thankful.