Stories about how we are coping
Included in this week’s issue of the Register is another of our special magazines. This one is called “Community Focus.”
We traditionally publish this magazine each April, but this year, well, you know all too well that April was just not a good month to try and do this kind of project.
There was this global pandemic thing going on, and schools, businesses and everything else, or so it seemed, was shut down.
With our “Community Focus” magazine, we try and do just what the title infers focus on something in our communities.
Last year, for instance, we focused on some businesses and one city which were all celebrating their 150th anniversary. That included the city of Wells and ourselves, the Faribault County Register, among others.
This year, when we finally decided to go with the magazine in June, we tossed around some ideas for a topic to focus on.
Of course, it was hard not to keep coming back up with the same one. You know, this COVID-19 coronavirus and all the ways it has caused us to change so many things in our lives.
At first, we did not want to do it. Most of us had this whole COVID thing up to here (I’m indicating my chin, by the way). And besides, we have been covering some aspect of it for many weeks. Things like how many cases there have been locally, schools shutting down and going to distance learning (a term most of us had never heard of before), business shutting down, cities and the county shutting doors and parks and swimming pools, essential businesses only to be open, etc., etc.
And, of course, Stay at Home, wear a mask and stay six feet away from everyone.
We, like most other media, had beat that subject to death.
But then we came up with the idea of not doing stories on how organizations are coping, but rather focus on how individuals, plain old ordinary folks, have had to make a adjustments.
And, not only how they have coped with COVID, but find some interesting things they have done during this strangest of years.
So, in this issue of the magazine, instead of our usual three or four lengthy stories, we have 11 shorter ones. They are not necessarily the big news stories of COVID. But I think you might find they make for some interesting reading.
There is a story about Chera Sevcik, who started her new job in January and February, then in March was in charge of the response to COVID-19 in Faribault and Martin Countys.
There is a story about how Bruce Ankeny “whittled” away the hours he was away from his closed furniture store.
Scott Reisingbigler had one business drop off and another take off. And, the Wells Flame Theater wasn’t open, but they “sold” thousands of boxes of popcorn anyway.
A story about Jennifer Ihle details her coping with numerous issues because of the coronavirus shut downs. And Eric and Ronda Allis no sooner opened their new place in Easton than they had to shut it down.
There is a story about some innovative Blue Earth Area staff, and also how STEP, Inc., was trying to cope.
Blue Earth businesswoman Becki Steier relates how devastating the shut down was to small town businesses, but how some folks helped support her.
And then there is Prairie Transit, which found a way to keep the buses running, including delivering Meals on Wheels.
A final story details a unique partnership with the Wells EDA and some local businesses which promoted the businesses even when they were closed to everything except curb pickup.
Like I said, it is a variety of stories, about how we coped with this whole pandemic thing here in Faribault County. Of course, it is not over yet. There is a long, long ways to go to get back to anything resembling normal.
We hope that by the end of summer there will be school and fall sports. We hope there will be events, and that we can safely attend them. We hope we can travel and not be worried about our health.
We hope we can visit family and go to church and not be wearing masks or social distancing and staying six feet away from each other.
And, we also hope reading these stories about ordinary people will show that we can get through some tough times and still come out smiling.
One final hope.
We hope that next year in April 2021, COVID-19 and the coronavirus will be a faint memory and we can focus on some other topics in our annual “Community Focus” magazine.