Working hard for a B.E.-utiful town
Some people are lucky. They were born and raised in a small town.
Not me. I had to discover them on my own.
After growing up in the ‘burbs of San Diego and Denver (and Minneapolis for only one summer) I went to college in Mankato, a place I thought was a small town.
But, I was wrong. Turns out it was a city to most folks.
Many of my college friends were from actual small towns in Minnesota (including Frost, by the way) as well as towns in Iowa and Wisconsin. It was through them that I took an interest in life in a small town. Some of them had graduated from high school in a class of 50. There were nearly 500 in my graduation class.
By the time I graduated from Mankato State in 1972, I knew what I wanted to do, and that was to be an editor at a small town newspaper.
So a month before graduation, I bought one in the small town (population then about 1,300) of Enderlin, N.D.
I have been the editor of a small town newspaper ever since.
Despite the challenges, deadline pressures and long hours, it has been a lot of fun.
And, besides my day job as editor, I have also served on various boards and commissions including planning commissions, industrial development committees, chamber of commerce boards and downtown promotions councils.
Heck, I even served on a City Council for a few years.
Because I love small towns, especially whichever one I happen to be living and working in. And I have always tried to help out in the community wherever and however I can.
That includes writing personal editor columns and editorials dealing with local subjects. Boosting, promoting or even, at times, pointing out the bad things that happen in a town.
Let’s face it. Many small towns across the Midwest have been hit hard in the past 10, 20 or 30 years.
Take Blue Earth for instance. It once had a huge, thriving downtown. Everybody tells me so. Heck, so did towns the size of Elmore.
I realize those glory days are gone. But that doesn’t mean the town is dead. We are fortunate to still have a solid business base here.
However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work hard to do whatever we can to make our town the very best it can be.
That means promoting shopping at home, improving streets and infrastructure, building amenities such as swimming pools, parks and trails. It means taking a leap of faith and spending big bucks on an industrial park and a new housing subdivision or even a school upgrade.
If you are not moving forward, you are going backwards, because there is no standing still. It doesn’t work that way.
Exactly eight years ago I moved to Blue Earth. I chose to come here. Nobody made me do it.
Like other folks whom I know who purposely moved here, I loved the look of the town; it has both natural beauty with the river around it and some nice man-made features of a pool, parks, great school, and yes, even a giant Green Giant statue.
And like others, I also loved the name. Blue Earth. I don’t think there is another town with this name anywhere. (Well, OK, technically Mankato is the Native American word for Blue Earth, but I am not counting that.)
Blue Earth is my home now. I live on Main Street and I work on Main Street. I pay property taxes and I vote here. I have a vested interest in the future of the community because of those facts.
But beyond those facts, there is another. I love the town.
And, I will do what I can to make it great.
So will most people here. I think many of you have that same drive to try and make your town, whatever town you live in, the best that it can be. And we are all willing to work hard to accomplish that.
To paraphrase an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a village and keep it growing.”
And to quote our chamber of commerce director, Cindy Lyon, let’s all work together to make for a B.E.-utiful Blue Earth.
I hope whatever town big or small that you live in, you have a passion for helping to make that community great.