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Horizons: A community participation column

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opinion Wadena, 56482
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Kent Scheer

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This year people from the community, in conjunction with the Wadena Pioneer Journal, are pioneering an innovative new column featuring fresh, yet familiar, voices in a format called Horizons. It will appear one to two times a month. Those voices will be from our own friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives. They are the voices of our community. This new column will give us the opportunity to hear ideas for our city, and area, by those who live here with us.

Every small town has the few who work consistently on its behalf and give selflessly to make it better. And, it also has those many, many more who keep to themselves, mind the store, or focus entirely on church or family. Those who give to their community move us all forward through their personal commitment. Our town's character has been developed and advanced by their ideas and efforts. As an example, we all benefit from: arts events, the historical society, a renovated Depot, the Cyber Café, the Christmas Festival, tornado recovery, community sports and the upcoming Wellness Center. These arise from a few; are sustained by them; and sometimes rest entirely on their shoulders. We owe these community shapers and volunteers a great deal.

Yet, if you scan the room at any new event or meeting, it begins to seem that it's always the same 24 people who are willing to step-in to serve and advance the community, time after time. But, we know that everybody has feelings and ideas about our town because we hear them at coffee, at the store and on the street. The Horizons column will open a wide range of thought to look for hidden pearls. We will hear from town fathers and community boosters, but we will also hear from youth, senior citizens, employees, new residents, alumni and others.

Man lives by community. We are social to the core. Some may strongly believe that church and home are all that matter, but in reality we rely deeply on group effort and shared responsibility to keep the very basics of life flowing. Street maintenance, city water, parks, natural resource management only exist because we plan for them and pay for them as a group. Small cities, like Wadena, advance through group effort. And, many times what truly moves a community ahead are the innovative ideas. When these become projects that end in reality they contribute great personality and brightness. The Christmas Festival and the Wellness Center are easy examples.

Therefore, through the Horizons column let's look deeper through our own neighborhood for ideas, advice, pointers and brainstorms. And, let these personal thoughts be given freely for by being heard some may gain support then become action to build a community that grows richer in character and quality.

If you have an idea for a Horizons column contact rscheer@charter.net.

About the contributor: Kent Scheer is a local craftsman who returned to the family farm in Wadena in the mid 1980s. Wadena welcomed him, and so he carried-on an early Boen and Scheer family tradition of engagement in the community for many years. He's especially interested in seeing unique, off-beat and even challenging ideas added to the discussion.

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