Three stories with common thread
Our three front page stories actually have a common theme.
Can you guess what it is?
The theme has to do with an old journalism school adage ‘always follow the money.’
Money plays a role in each of these interesting stories, although in very different ways.
I had heard for several months about this so-called bridge to nowhere being built near Walnut Lake.
Several people were upset that the county was going to build this bridge over the outlet on the south side of the lake. The road ends there, they said, and does not continue on the other side of the bridge.
And, it was going to cost nearly a half million bucks.
Only partially true, it turns out.
The county is going to have the bridge built, but the state’s Department of Natural Resources is funding it. No local tax dollars will be involved. State dollars will be paying for the new bridge and water control feature, out of a special fund for just this sort of thing.
The road does end just across the bridge, but it provides a parking lot and turnaround area for hunters, fisherman and hikers who use the lake and wildlife area.
Right now, if someone launches a boat at the boat ramp, there is really nowhere to park the truck and trailer without blocking the road itself.
Having a parking area is almost a necessity, as is a place to turn around a vehicle especially one pulling a trailer.
Right now that is a difficult maneuver at best.
In other words, building a bridge for access to the parking area is an amenity for the county, which isn’t going to cost the county anything.
Is it worth $400,000 to have a bridge built there? Debatable. That is a lot of money. But, it isn’t as though that money could be used to build a bridge somewhere else in the county. It can only be used for this location.
I say, let them do it.
It is always fun to write a story about someone who is very passionate about a certain topic.
Stacie Eichinger taking six months of her life and walking across America is one of those stories.
Her adventure is called walk4courage, raising money for children who have cancer and need all the help they can to find the courage to battle those awful diseases.
But, it takes a lot of personal courage to walk alone, day after day, across all kinds of terrain and in all kinds of weather. And, to stay in stranger’s homes along the way.
She is determined to accomplish this task, and I don’t doubt she will.
Just like I am sure she will accomplish her goal of raising $10 per mile of her 3,800 mile trek. Even she is amazed that she is already half way to her goal, both in miles and dollars, and has raised $16,000 so far.
Even more amazing, she says, is the generosity of everyone she meets. People not only donate to her cause, but they donate to her personally as well. She has had to spend very little of her own money on this trip.
People help her buy her items, donate food and water and anything else she needs.
Last, and certainly not least, the story about Blue Earth getting nearly a million dollars in a federal grant for the new industrial park project is huge.
Not just the fact that it is a large sum of money we are talking about here, but this grant was the key to the entire project.
If the city didn’t get it, they would have had to take a hard look at whether it could be funded in its entirety by local dollars only.
This project is important because it could be the big key to future growth in this Giant little city.
Instead of remaining stagnant or shrinking in terms of businesses and job development, this is a huge, progressive and gutsy move.
Only time will tell just how successful this project will become.
Is there a risk? Certainly. But when it comes to trying to be progressive, you can sit on your hands and do nothing, or you can jump into the pool with both feet.
The Blue Earth City Council, the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority and Linsey Warmka of Faribault County Development Corporation have put in a lot of time, effort and funding towards this project.
Now that hard work is paying off.