July 31, 2003 at 3:53 p.m.
There are those who are ready and willing to spend several million dollars to construct new library buildings in Chisago County, while there appears to be at least a few who may not be completely on board yet.
A couple of weeks ago the county held a public meeting to discuss the library issue and about 50 people showed up and that’s a pretty good turnout. But, when you consider that we have more than 30,000 people living in the county, it is not a majority by any means. (There will also be an informational meeting in Lindstrom Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Lindstrom City Hall, at 7 p.m.)
In my travels around the county, I haven’t encountered anyone who is opposed to upgrading our library system; and, in fact, are not opposed to spending some tax money on the projects. What I do find is that there seems to be questions about what types of libraries should be built, will they have what people want and need, and will current operating arrangements with the regional system provide the hours of service and the products that the public may need and want? Therein lies the big question––should you build buildings under the assumption that people will automatically come to them or do we need more information from the consumers on what they would like to see in a library and where they feel it should be located? Maybe that kind of study would show that we need five or six smaller satellite libraries or maybe two large ones would serve the needs better. Let’s not do something that is going to need to be redone in the not-too-distant future. Let’s do it right and if that means it costs $8 or $9 million, I think people will support the decision. It is a shame that the issue has become a parochial issue, when we need to expend energy making sure that we will be getting the best bang for our buck.
It’s unfortunate, at any level, when the politics of the players gets in the way of doing what they were elected to do and that is to represent the people who elected them in the best, most cost-effective, efficient way possible. Don’t be shy, let your commissioners know how you feel about the issue. Don’t attack them, but rather make your case on your position and if enough people talk with them, I’m sure they will react; and commissioners please approach this sans politics and do the right thing.
Last week I received an e-mail of an article on unemployment. The article stated that the government reported that the unemployment rate “unexpectedly” spiked to a nine year high of 6.4 percent in June. How in the heck could it have been unexpected? Don’t these people track trends on a daily basis? Are their computers not linked together or is it just the fact that things have been good for a very long time and they have forgotten how to track a downturn?
I don’t know about your business or home, but if I waited to react until the problems were so bad, I would have been gone many years ago. I’m not sure that these labor experts could or could not have done anything earlier, but to say that this came on us unexpectedly would be much like saying that the month following July was going to unexpectedly be August this year. It never fails to amaze me just how much tolerance we show for public employees, who by the way are generally fairly well compensated, when they show that they really haven’t been doing their jobs. I’d be willing to bet that most of us would get shown the door if we regularly did our jobs in that mode. Also, part of the article was a quote from a Minnesota Workforce Center employee who stated because of the increased unemployment that they have been busier than usual and it is stressful and that employees have to give more.
Relay for Life, this Saturday evening into Sunday morning, at Chisago Lakes Senior High School track and football field. It starts at 4 p.m. and runs through the night. I have badgered you in this space for many weeks about getting involved and I sure hope that many of you will be first-time participants this year. You can still make your donations, purchase luminary bags or just show up and suppose those who will be raising money for cancer research. See the Relay for Life ad in this Press for all of the information.
The community celebration parade continues and this weekend you need only travel to the city of Stacy to participate in Part 1 of Stacy Daze. Part II will be a dance and fireworks held in the park Saturday, Sept. 6.
Next weekend take the short trip to Almelund for the 47th annual Almelund Threshing Show Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This Sunday, Aug. 3, if you are out and about, you may encounter a parade (caravan) of antique tractors from the Miller farm, just northwest of Stillwater, on Manning Trail, to the Threshing Show grounds, on Highway 95 between Palmdale and Almelund. It should be a site to see.