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One moment, please... A unified vision


Fri, Apr 22nd, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone: 507-251-5297

While I spend the majority of my time in Fillmore County, I do venture out a bit between 14 counties in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, spending quite a bit of time on the road meeting with business owners, EDA directors, and anyone else interested in expanding their tourism horizons.

This past fall, as I was visiting the little town of Osage, located in Mitchell County, Iowa, with a population of 3,451, I discovered something pretty incredible.

After meeting with the Osage Chamber of Commerce executive director and city officials, I was given a tour of the Cedar River Complex.

The story behind how this edifice came to fruition was an alignment of the stars in a way most of us could only hope for.

Back in 2006, the Osage outdoor city pool was in need of very expensive repair, the high school needed a new workout facility, the historical society was considering a new facility, and there was interest by many members of the community to build a spectacular, state-of-the-art auditorium.

As amazing as it may sound, all organizations seeking completely different paths came together to formulate a master plan that would encompass serving the needs of all organizations.

From 2006, when discussions were merely conceptual, to June of 2010, when the doors of the Cedar River Complex were opened to the public, a tremendous amount of good fortune and selfless collaboration were working in the background.

This $18 million dollar vision boasts a museum dedicated to the Mitchell County Historical Society, an event center large enough to accommodate up to 700 guests, an indoor aquatic center, a workout facility, basketball courts, an indoor track, a dance room, day care facility, and an immaculate auditorium with stadium seating for up to 600 people. Seriously, I feel like I am forgetting something.

And, you know what's even more amazing?

The Cedar River Complex has one full-time employee running the whole show.

How can a complex serving the needs of hundreds of people within a 40 mile radius possibly function with one full-time employee?

This complex is blessed with over 200 volunteers who volunteer four hours of their time per month working at the CRC in exchange for a free monthly membership.

Four hours per month and 200 volunteers. It sounds like a pretty good deal, doesn't it?

My visit to Osage .....
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High cost of gas

Tue, Apr 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

With spring comes the desire to wander about looking for migrating birds and the first wildflowers; to return to favorite places, favorite trails in woods and grasslands, along streams and the Mississippi River; and to explore new places. Whitewater ..... 
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With congress and the courts, what matters is balance

Tue, Apr 19th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

A year after the passage of the health-care reform law known as "the Affordable Care Act," its legal future is up in the air. Judges in five federal courts have weighed in on it, two of them declaring it unconstitutional and three supporting it. The ..... 
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Are you talking to me?

Mon, Apr 11th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

One wonders, who are the major politicians, in both parties, speaking to? Perhaps I am dense but I can usually follow a conversation that isn't on the topic of quantum physics or marine biology with at least an appropriate nod here and there. I don' ..... 
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The roots of congress' unpopularity

Mon, Apr 11th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

I suppose it's possible that Congress could enjoy even less popularity than it does at the moment, but it's difficult to imagine. Recent public opinion polls show it plumbing depths that have rarely been seen before.

Certainly that's true of ..... 
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Jottings from Japan

Mon, Apr 4th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Some of you may remember that I wrote a weekly column called "Jottings from Japan" for approximately 15 years. My first entries were hand written and sent in an aerogram. It seemed the best way to keep in touch with my Harmony friends and Grand Mead ..... 
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Congress needs to build a culture of fairness - 3/28/11

Fri, Apr 1st, 2011
Posted in Commentary

A few weeks ago, the U.S. Senate voted down a Republican attempt to repeal last year's health-care reform law. You may remember this, even though it rated only a mention on the evening news. What I'm virtually certain you don't remember is how the R ..... 
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The new new deal

Fri, Mar 18th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

In President Obama, conservatives face the most formidable liberal politician since FDR. In 2008, Obama won the presidency with a majority of the popular vote, something a Democrat has not done since Jimmy Carter won a squeaker in 1976. With Preside ..... 
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Why politicians overreach

Fri, Mar 18th, 2011
Posted in Commentary

Having dodged a government shutdown for the moment, Congress is now embroiled in a burning debate over cutting the federal budget. The House has passed a bill imposing far-reaching cuts of $61 billion - dramatically slashing everything from educatio ..... 
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