2011 marked progress
It's so easy to get down these days: the persistently weak economy, turbulent political times around the world (and here at home), a tall task ahead in Wadena still rebuilding after the tornado. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism too.
Wadena had a few very big success stories in 2011. First and foremost was the beginning of the construction on the new high school. Not only is this an economic shot in the arm, emotionally it was very important to see the rubble left after the EF4 carted it away and a new structure go up. It seems like this is a great opportunity to build a school that's right-sized and perfectly proportioned for the future. The school is a focal point in any rural community, but that's perhaps true in Wadena more than any other. It's the reason we chose the rebuilding of WDC high school as the top story of 2011.
It was also an emotional lift to see the hockey arena built where the last one was destroyed. Even better is to see our road-weary teams get a chance to play in front of a true "home" crowd.
Leaf River Ag continues to make us proud and show the strength of its business by rebuilding quickly in the industrial park. It was also great news to see the rail spur move one step closer to reality, which will not only help Leaf River Ag, but may help recruit other job creators.
A recent report on Wadena being a destination for retail shopping probably reminded many in town of Wadena's heyday as a magnet for shoppers. It's a much-needed reminder that things are still pretty good in the local business community, and there's a lot to offer here.
Sure, there are troubling signs and lingering problems, but let's spend a little time looking back at 2011 and forward to 2012 and remember there's a lot more positive energy than negative.
Happy New Year!
The Pioneer Journal editorial represents the collective voice of the paper's editorial board. Today's editorial was written by Steve Schulz, editor and publisher.