Aladdin, Wyoming ~ A Kate’s Eight

Every community, no matter its size has at least eight items it can build on.

Aladdin, Wyoming  is a favorite stop on our cutoff from Belle Fourche, SD to Sundance, aladdin10Wyoming whenever we’re headed to Colorado.  This micro-sized community packs a punch with everything from local foods and wine, cowboys and cattle, unique shopping and tourism.

Aladdin easily covers all eight assets- Arts/Culture, Architecture, Cuisine, Customs, History, Geography, People and Commerce

Everything fits into one of these categories. Every town, even ghost towns, have a story to tell about each one.”- Kansas Sampler Foundation

Here’s my take –

Geography – Aladdin is just to the east of the Bear Lodge Mountains and has k8scovered plateaus and pine and oak covered coulees and draws.  Stunning vistas no matter which direction a person looks. Aladdin also had an abundant coal seam, which was mined and sent to smelters near Deadwood.  *Bonus- there is an average of 226 sunny days a year!

Arts/Culture –  Brand new this year is the inaugural Aladdin Days Country Music and Food Festival on June 16th! (I can hardly wait, since it coincides perfectly with my next trip down!!) In the meantime, when visiting the mercantile there is local artwork – paintings, hand decorated skulls, notecards, etc- available and books from Wyoming authors. Right across from the store is the Centennial Park- with  picnic benches and toys for everyone to enjoy.

Architecture– The Aladdin Mercantile store was built in 1896 and IMG_3399 (1)is a prime example of early stores. This mercantile has been in continuous operation the entire time! The false front was a common feature during this time period.  Just a hop and a skip to the east of town is the Aladdin Tipple. Another prime example of early engineering and one of the last wooden tipples.

Cuisine–  Right next door to the mercantile is IMG_3403 (1)Cindy-B’s café and hotel. It doesn’t look like much from outside, but don’t let that fool you. The food is good, portions pretty generous and good prices. Not to mention you can sit on the patio and soak up the sun while you have morning coffee!chris wine

Inside the mercantile you will  find sandwiches, snacks and a small bar.  Local whiskeys and wines too! (Chris Ledoux, anybody???)

Customs–  Aladdin is in the heart of “Cowboy Country” and that means a certain set of rural values abound.  A mans word is his bond and handshake still means something.  Men will always treat women like ladies and friendliness is the order of the day.

History– (I could go on and on about local history, but I’ll keep it short!) Aladdin wasPhoto124462 founded in the late 1800s on coal and logging.  The Mercantile was opened in 1896.  The coal mined in Aladdin was loaded onto rail cars for use by gold smelters in Lead and Deadwood.  In 1874 Colonel Custer was in the Aladdin area during his Black Hills expedition.  Population peaked at 200 +/- during it’s coal mining years, but today hovers around 15.

aladdin8People– The people of Aladdin are a hearty bunch. Deeply committed to the land, their faith, community and country.  Always friendly and ready to help in a pinch. Many nearby residents are descendants of local settlers.  Want to know how the West really was?? Ask a local. They are usually very happy to share personal stories and local lore.

Visitors to Aladdin are equally as jolly. It’s a popular stop on the way to Devils Tower, Sturgis and for hunters and fishermen.

Commerce– The Aladdin Mercantile has it ALL- Literally.  It may be a one-man-band soaladdin5 to speak, but Wow! It carries artwork, clothing, antiques, foods and beverages, jewelry, gifts- truly, everything.  And make sure to send home a postcard from the little post office tucked inside and sit a spell on the porch.

The next time you’re road-tripping, make it a point to get off the road at Aladdin and enjoy the sights.  You won’t be disappointed!

“Kate’s 8” are a way of showcasing small towns and rural communities. When looking at your own town, get creative and see how many ways you can fit what you have into these categories and get creative with your marketing! 

~Katy~

*Katy is part of the dynamic speaking duo Tait and Kate- helping small towns and rural communities grow and thrive. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rural Values- Not so much here.

“Rural Values” –  One of the top 10 reasons why people choose to live in a small town.

Normally, I would agree with that statement. untitled

After yesterday, I am afraid I have amend that to say “everywhere but here

This story involves “small town” mentality and a complete and utter breech of financial privacy.

The local Cenex Station has long been known for it’s lack of customer service- But this really takes the cake.

You see, I told the kiddo-o to swing by and ask to have propane delivered to a house he had rented and put on our tab. – By and far, not an unusual occurrence. Plenty of families do that out here.   “P” said- “Have your mom call and OK it”

Fine- I called.

The first words of  P’s mouth were “Well- your son owes us XYZ and he has to pay it”

WOW! WOW! WOWSIE!!!!!

WHAT???? You are discussing a grown man’s credit with someone one the telephone you don’t know?????? I could have been anybody calling!!! And then she implied (without actually coming right out and saying so)  that because she heard we had moved (WE haven’t) that we may not be good for it.

Again- WOW!

Like that makes a fig of difference. Anyway- I OK’d the transaction.

An hour later, “P” calls back and tells me that because kidd-o has an outstanding balance, she refuses to let them deliver propane.

WHAT The heck!!!  It’s MY MONEY.

And “P” says that because of kidd-o,  she will not allow a delivery to that address no matter who is living there.

For the record- the house is EMPTY and we are fulfilling a promise we (not kidd-o) made to the owner 6 months ago to fill when the lease was up.

After some haggling and name dropping and I got her to do it.

And then I stewed. Since I know I have a hair-trigger temper at times, I decided waiting until morning to go ‘discuss’ the incident with “P’ was the best choice.

I show up and “P” was as condescending as they come. Continually saying that “my son” drug me into this with his carelessness…. blah, blah.

I told her that it was no sweat of my back to have McClusky or Washburn fulfill all of our bulk fuel, propane and oil needs in the future.

I cheerfully told “P” that she has opened herself and Cenex to a lawsuit for flagrant violation of privacy by discussing an adults credit with me- and in front of her co-workers to boot.  To which he replied “you’re his mother” and “it’s a small town”

WTHECK-o????

That should ZERO bearing. He is an adult. Cenex willfully entered into a credit arrangement with him. Not me. Not anyone else.

That my friends was THE LAST STRAW

I am DONE keeping my yap shut because Hubb’s was born and raised here.

If they will discuss his financials on the phone and in public without a care, who else are they blabbing about??? Because you can bet your rump they are.

**Update**  A complaint has been files with the ND State Attorney and to add insult to injury- after only OK’ing X amount of fuel to be delivered… they delivered MORE…. What the Heck!??? 

-Katy-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rural thoughts on raising the minimum wage

Many states have raised the minimum wage today. 18 in fact. Several of them to over $10 an hour.  Read about it here

Now don’t get me wrong- I don’t begrudge anybody a chance to make a decent living. I would have loved to be on the receiving end as a worker and as an employer would have been ecstatic to be able to pay my employees more.

3789566982_320590780eBut I do believe that these states did not really try to take their rural communities into account. In particular isolated rural communities.And if they did, it was only to spare a second to think to themselves ‘they don’t have enough people to matter’..

I’ve lived in several incredibly tiny rural communities in a couple of the states listed. We owned a business in one.  A little town of a hundred  people, 135 miles from the city (700K ppl), and 45 miles to the nearest ‘urban’ center (3500ppl) . Our nearest communities had 27 and 300 people respectively.  Those numbers have not fluctuated all that much in the years since we left.

Many rural businesses cannot sustain a fair sized increase in minimum wage. -Not even if it’s over a number of years.

I know many will say “Oh- What’s a buck or two?” – A couple dollars multiplied by 30 -40 hours a week adds up.  On top of that the employer will now pay a higher unemployment tax, FICA and workmans comp.  – all of which can hinder the ability to pay an employee a higher wage.

Those same dollars can also spell the difference between whether that rural community continues have a hardware store, market, café etc…

Here are some scenarios–  Bobs Hardware is a busy little place servicing several tiny communities. Bob needs help.- he hires Joe to come work and pays him the elevated wage. Joe is happy. For a time. -You see, Bob has to either sell more or cut Joes hours to afford the wage.

Bob can’t really sell any more than he already is because he doesn’t have the same traffic an urban or city business attracts. Bob is 145 miles from people. His customers are the farmers, ranchers and families in his area. And they can only buy so much.  So Bob cuts Joes hours.

Or.… Let’s say Bobs Hardware already has several employees. The minimum wage goes up. Bob has to choose. Does he cut everyone’s hours? Or does he let two go and keep Joe? And if he keeps Joe, is Joe going to up and quit because Bob expects him to work harder for the new wage?  Even if he pays a little more than the ‘new wage’- Joe may eventually build up resentment of having to do more work.

Or… Bobs Hardware employs Joe. The wages go up.  Bob can no longer afford to have even one employee. So Bob, who’s already run his rural business for decades l6939468522_bc879c5f3f_bet’s Joe go. Bob can no longer do all the work himself and cuts his business hours which in turn loses some revenue. Eventually Bob just throws in the towel and closes leaving communities without their only hardware store AND an empty/shuttered building on Main Street.  That in turn leads to lower property values for the entire community. And potentially lost revenue for the gas station, since the local farmer filled fuel on his way home from Bobs Hardware and grabbed a coffee at the cafe. In the meantime, Joe was let go and job opportunities in a town of a couple hundred are slim. Joe has moved to the city for work taking what disposable income he had with him, and quite possibly his kids out of school and money out of the donation plate at church that helped fund local causes or 4-h etc. 

Or… Bob raises his prices significantly in an effort to afford his wage increase and in the process actually loses business. – Many rural folk will save ‘it’ for a trip ‘to town’ when ‘it’ is no longer cost effective to buy locally. At the same time, when those folks go to town they will spend the entire day and do ALL their shopping and stop at the café to boot, bypassing their own community all together.

I have witnesses every one of these scenarios over the years.

**99% of small business owners in rural communities WANT to pay their employees better. They genuinely love their towns and the people within and want them to survive and thrive.

**A huge number of those same employers work tremendous amounts of hours themselves “FOR FREE” so they CAN employ someone from the area. (we did)

**Sometimes in lieu of money they find other creative compensation.  We did.  If we hadn’t we wouldn’t have been  able to be open enough hours to even pay ourselves a meager living.

So while I don’t necessarily think the new wages are bad, I do think they will force some hard decisions in rural communities.

In equal numbers, some businesses will find a way and some will not. Some will close. Some will hang on- for a while, maybe longer. Some will thrive.

Next time we’ll talk about some of the creative ways we’ve seen businesses in tiny communities thrive.

~Katy~

Katy is a rural and small town consultant with Tait and Kate Consulting  ~Helping rural communities grow and thrive~

 

 

Holiday Hi-jinks

Thanksgiving through Christmas… a time of hi-jinks in some households… Oh wait! That’s MY house!

It all started waaaaaaay back in grade school.

My brother– who is older and wiser- was in the 3rd grade I was in 1st- Back14720441_10205492732676054_2000626829392313656_n then teachers asked kids what they were doing for whatever holiday it was (Easter, St Patty , Thanksgiving…) This particular episode it just happened to be Thanksgiving. His teacher asked the kids to find out what they were having for dinner… all afternoon Stace pestered my mom. Finally she said “Damnit! We’re having hot-dogs, OK???”  – Which definitely was OK, since he loved hot-dogs.  The next day at school the teacher goes around the room… one family is having turkey, another ham, one a roast…. and then she gets to my brother… and he cheerfully states “We are having Hot-dogs” … and she goes on. Not another word was said.

On Thanksgiving, we are all seated around the table, ready to feast and the doorbell rings- My mother answers the door and behold! The PTA is standing there with a Turkey and ALL the trimmings for the poor family that has to have hot-dogs.  To say that my mother was a trifle embarrassed is an understatement.

And if you knew my mom,  being embarrassed was the worst thing that could happen to her. She would have rathered the house burnt to the ground with everything in it, than have one of us shame her.

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       Christmas memoriesMy dad hates (with a capital H) chocolate covered cherries.  A fact I didn’t know until I was 20!  When I was but a tot, my mom thought it would be funny to tell me that Daddy looooooooved chocolate covered cherries. She also knew that once I latched onto an idea- I would never let it go. For nearly 20 years I ritualistically bought my dad the dreaded cherries every single Christmas. And he would always dutifully open them and make a great production of eating one ,  andmy-mom-001 then putting them away. I had no idea he absolutely could not stand the until he told me in my 20’s!

Way to go mom! The gift that kept on giving….

 

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My boyz-  One was brains, one was brawn. Their playroom was in the basement. We had 12717707_10203960472890517_6806557131203881872_na storage place under the stairs- one year we hid all their Christmas presents in there. If the Brawn hadn’t acted guilty one day we would never have known they had been playing those presents for nearly a month! The Brain had found the presents and taken them all out of their boxes and had the Brawn flatten the boxes and the lift the toy chest on top of them.  We took them away and told them ‘NO DAMN CHRISTMAS FOR YOU’ and made them watch from their room while we opened ours.. and then they got to come have their’s back!

The following year we threatened them with certain shortening of life  if they pulled that stunt again…. We found a large box and wrapped it in the shiniest paper we could find and wrote The Brains name on it really big…. just for fun… ON Christmas Eve we told them if they even stepped one toe out their doors before we got up… it would be all over.

Not long after midnight we heard the pitter-pat of little feet… and waited.. a few minutes later we heard a loud WOMP! WOMP! WOMP!  Hubby had put one tiny toy in that huge box and weighted it with rocks and wire so if it touched it would flip over.  Startled, the Brain yelled “That’s NOT funny”!! and then laughed all the way back down the hall.

And yes there are plenty more tales!

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Merry Christmas ya’all!Christmas memories

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

This mother’s tears

This mother wept today.. Tears of frustration.  This is the first time I have not

167405_10203749198728795_4389803073782377102_n

been able to find some crazy solution and save the day.

When hubby got hurt this spring we needed help. On the farm and in the business. We asked our youngest to take a leap of faith and throw his lot in with ours- we offered a fair wage in return for an honest days work and cattle to boot, and if he worked hard, the prospect of taking over our generally very lucrative business.

Fast forward to just weeks before Christmas, and hubb’s drops the bomb on me that he’s going to have to lay the kidd-o off. – All winter, it looks like.- For whatever reason, business is slow in our industry right now. All over.

Guess who gets to break the news to him tomorrow??

No matter how I run numbers, there is simply no way to pay for both households.

My heart aches. We asked him to give up city life and move to the country and a goo

d job to boot, to come to our rescue. And now we’re going to throw him under the bus.

 

I have never NOT found a way to come through for the kids. And trust me- there’s been some insurmountable odds over the years and I always found a way to come up smelling roses. So- tears of hurt, tears of rage and tears of fear.

Hurt because I have to be the bad guy, rage because I can’t see a way out and fear because I fear he won’t help when business picks back up- and a bigger fear that he’ll be so damn mad he doesn’t talk to us again. Not that I wouldn’t blame him.

So- now here I am at midnight… tossing out my resume to nearly anywhere…. Maybe if I can land a town job, that will take the edge off…

This mother’s tears- tears he will never know.

-Katy-

PS…. I now know exactly how my dad felt.

Trunk or Treat and the demise of neighborhoods

Trunk or Treat is really catching on.  This is where folks line their cars up, decorate the trunks and the little people walk around on Halloween getting their candy in one place. One street. One part of one street.17544

Now I’m not against the concept. I see it’s merits is places like San Francisco, New York City and the like, where many folks may live in high rises or such. I can also see how it makes parents feel safer if they live in a ‘bad part of town’. Or the ease of just stopping in the parking lot at your kids school. And very micro towns- this may be a good way for everyone to get together in the evening.

But mostly I see it as the nail on the coffin, so to speak, for neighborhoods.

I just caught a local interview on the news and the young mother said she is glad it is in the school parking lot because she “recognizes other parents and children”. To me that implies that while she recognizes them, she doesn’t know  them.  It also implies that there is no value to her in knowing the neighbors on any level.

james halloween 001I am old enough to remember when everyone went door to door. Parents visited with each other on sidewalks as we ran up to “trick or treat”- Parents also made it a point to introduce themselves any new or unknown neighbors, as well as inviting them to upcoming neighborhood events and shindigs.

My own kids went house to house.  We went back and forth between country and city living- so some years we drove the kids into ‘town’ (we were 3 miles from the nearest neighbor and 16 to town) so they could go with their school chums… all of a hundred folks lived ‘in town’.

Last year I was giving a talk on community involvement in a local small town, right before Halloween. The City Auditor stated she was taking her children the next town over for trunk or treat. Why? Because there were new neighbors on the corner she didn’t know and was afraid to let her kids go up by themselves. So- my first question back was WHY haven’t you already introduced yourself? followed by Why not go up with them???  She chose to take her children 12 miles away to the town with under a hundred people from her own with nearly 500- It kinda baffles me.

Way to go- making your new community member feel unwelcome right out of the gate.  

In a rural or small town setting Trunk or Treat also takes away from the joy of the home bound who have prepared for days for little ghosts and goblins and princesses and unicorns to come to their door. Many of the older folks know every family around, whose kids have allergies, whose like nut rolls and whose love candy corn and make individual bags for them. I know Mildred (in her 90s)  would have been desolate if the kids hadn’t made an appearance- She’d been known for decades in the neighborhood.

Imagine how you would feel if you went all out, quite possibly hoarding bits of your fixed income so you could have treats for the kiddies, to have no one show up. That would probably be disheartening. And what of the new family? Don’t you think that attitude by your new town would keep  person or family  from participating in  other ‘community’ things during the year?

Trick or Treating is almost a rite of passage. It is tradition. It is neighbors being neighborly. – (And trying to out do each other!)

It is community.

It’s OK to do both- To Trunk or Treat at a location, but try  to be neighborly too. You don’t have to cover blocks… but it would be nice to knock on your neighbors door and say “Trick or Treat” or “Welcome to the neighborhood”

-Katy-

Me, Dave and Barry (Manilow)

Once upon a time in a far off land….

Little ‘ol me

I was young once. And cute. But not heartless- until one fateful day….

Way back when, there was a boy I went to school with, Dave Etchison- a nice enough boy, as boys went back then.  He pursued me relentlessly. I still have no idea what the dave etchisonfascination was. And I tried everything to get him away from me….Out right “NO” didn’t work,  I sicced my brother on him, I dated his brother, I told my friends to tell him Buzz Off… nothing was working!

This young man would walk from his place to our before school trying to catch me before I left so we could walk together… Now get this… he lived over a mile from the school one direction and we lived a mile from it the other direction… I give him props for dedication to the cause!

One day, as I was trying to sneak out the side door (I saw him waiting out front) , he busted me…. and he gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a Barry Manilow 45 ~ “I can’t smile without you”

I don’t know what came over me… But I threw his record on the ground and stomped it into a million pieces and stormed off to school.

I think he got the message. He didn’t talk to me for a couple years!

But fast forward a couple years post graduation… a mutual friend was on his way to pick me up “my friend is driving” .. Guess who the friend was??? And guess what friend tried to play with my knee like it was the stick shift???

Yeah- that’s right… I cheerfully reminded him of The Incident 

~Katy~

Moms bestest, easiest buttermilk biscuits

It’s no secret- we like bread. Any kind of breads- Sourdough, pumpernickel, garlic-y cheesy breads, bruschetta …. and that all around staple- biscuits. IMG_1641

They go so easily with every meal…

But alas- I live a fair distance to the market. So in this recipe you will learn how to make ‘fake’ or substitute buttermilk and a great cheaters trick so you don’t have to cut in the butter…

Super simple ingredients too!

2 1/2 C flour       2 T baking Powder    1 Tsp sugar   8 T butter (yes son,  you can sub margerine)  1 C milk   1 T lemon juice (trust me)  1/2 tsp salt(optional)

mix the milk and lemon juice together and put in the freezer  for about 7-10 min… while it’s chilling, melt the butter and let cool.  In the meantime mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and make an indent (well) in the center.

Here comes some magic!– Add the butter to the chilled milk and watch it make little butter balls/slush. Pour into dry and stir until just mixed. Turn out and roll or pat –gently-(I prefer pat) to about 1 inch-ish. and fold and pat..repeat like 6 times.

Cut with a cutter or glass. *tip* Do NOT twist the cutter/cup it makes the edges ‘crimp’ and your biscuits won’t rise well.

Bake at 425 10 min -they’ll be golden on top- take out and brush with some melted butter.

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Mama used a cookie cutter

Gobble up.  Eat with jam, make biscuits and gravy, dunk in gravy, make sandwiches…..

*Tips for the boy-o-s

Need buttermilk in a jiff??? 1 Tablespoon ( a generous soup spoon will do) lemon juice per cup of milk. Let stand 5 min and use.

No rolling pin? No problem- beer/wine bottles, be creative, just keep an equal pressure when rolling.

 

Yes- you can sub Margarine in most of moms recipes, though it alters the taste and these biscuits won’t be quite as fluffy.

Mama

 

 

 

 

A long overdue rebuttal “True to Washburn”

Yes- I should have done this sooner. Better late than never~

This is a rebuttal to the editorial in the Washburn Leader-News newspaper in July. ( I said it was overdue!) and gives random thoughts section by section.

Washburn editorial 001

(the True to Washburn editorial is at the bottom of this post in its entirety. )

“True to Washburn” – Not so much

As with any community the world over, they begin and then they change. Whether that change is good, bad or otherwise, there is an ebb and flow to every community. They evolve over time. New people and new businesses take the place of those that left or closed. Attitudes, economics and options dictate that change.  

To say that Washburn could become  “a mere memory” is is mis-statement. If that were truly the case, then Washburn is already a mere memory of what it was.

Opportunities, community and safety- these are some of the reasons make a home in Washburn….” So are  progressiveness and growth.  Without these the others don’t exist.

“WE came here…” We who exactly My guess would be that a door to door survey would reveal that nearly half or more have moved to Washburn for proximity to employment.

Where is our money best spent and our priorities located?“…So say the very folks that shop in other larger towns.  There is no law that says any of us owes a living to any shop owner anywhere. That is freedom of choice.  The same as the shop owner is free to choose whether to be pleasant or rude, open or closed. While I agree that ‘shopping local’ means those businesses will be there for the long haul, it is perfectly OK to spend money ‘in town’ as well. Besides- if a shopkeeper is going be rude, we’d just as soon go to town and be treated rudely anonymously and have more selection while it’s happening!

(And I quote a young employee from the grocery store in Washburn… “If you’re going to shop here, you should expect to lower your expectations” )

Not competition from a nation wide chain” …. Then why has Family Dollar been accepted so readily? The upshot is that competition is healthy, drives customer services, innovation, better products and more people stopping in town. If a national chain is what it takes to drive the 50,000+/- tourists to Washburn yearly downtown, then so be it.

toms om“…additions to the community must be done thoughtfully and over time.” It would seem the time is now.

A sense of belonging-” That IS a powerful reason to stay. But to achieve that, then don’t you think on the whole the ‘locals’ should treat newcomers like neighbors?  Belonging can be a powerful word. Act like it.

We can promote what we have”…We can clean and freshen…”  It’s been years since there was a serious effort in these departments. Thankfully there is some new leadership that is working hard at making a difference for ALL and not just some. 

We want to nurture that environment, not snuff it out.”  Enhance it, is more like it. And again.. we who exactly?

…”Becoming a different version of Bismarck or Garrison” No matter how hard anyone tries, or what new people or businesses come into Washburn, it will always  be Washburn.

Let’s think carefully as we add new things, as not to push out the old” Again- ENHANCE…. Nobody is ‘pushing out the old’…

“Locals are resistant to change.” TRUE. But remember- Always in NOT Forever! It’s a given, change is hard to accept. All things change. Once upon a time we shopped our towns exclusively. Now we are an extremely mobile society. Running to Bismarck or Minot or anywhere else is a breeze. That is change. New stores open. That is change. Are you going to begrudge AgPro because they are new? (that would just be plain silly!) Would you refrain from driving over the bridge because it replaced the ferry? (That would be plain silly too!) That is change. The way we eat has changed.  Many folks want a really quick, or a really fresh choice- without getting out of the car and without having to fix it themselves.  That is change. 

Mostly though, it would seem the most resistance to change involves the human element.

~Katy~

Leader News Editorial-

Opportunities, community, safety-these are some of the reasons people come from out of the city and decide to make a home in Washburn.  We moved here because we would know our neighbors, our teachers, our business owners. We came because we weren’t just one in hundreds of thousands here, but someone who could make a big a difference. We moved here, not because of a single feature, building or business, but because we fell in love with what the community represented.  And as plans are drawn up and ideas pour out, we can only  hope we don’t see the city  we chose become a mere memory. Let’s grow, but let’s not lose touch with our roots. So, as we think of what we can add, let’s remember what we need. Where is our money best spent and our priorities located?Maybe we need new signs and benches around town, and maybe our residents need help paying off special assessments that shook most the city.  Some would enjoy more fast food options in the city, but maybe we can bridge the gap by supporting and growing  our already established local eateries. Our local businesses need employees to fill shifts and involvement from the community, not competition from a nation wide chain. Maybe new attractions would give residents more places to go, but additions to the community must be done thoughtfully and over time. Maybe we need to push less to have more, and push more to improve what we already have. Because there is a reason so many decide  to make this place their home, and that sense of belonging is not something to overlook. This city has brought people from around the state, around the country, around the world. It is strong, independent and booming with history. And while we only hope to bring more neighbors to the city, we also know no city is the right fit for every person. Itis a place that people choose because of exactly what it is.    Washburn, like any other city, has room to improve. We can fill gaps that leave residents wanting more or visitors quickly passing through. We can promote our recreation and try new things at attractions we already have. We can clean and freshen up our community, without losing a sense of what makes it special. Because Washburn brings people who fall in love with the feeling of it, we want to nurture that environment, not snuff it out. As we push for new features, and new marketing to promote them, we hope the focus doesn’t lay so heavily on becoming just another version of Bismarck , Garrison or another city Washburn should never become. There is a saying around town that many of the locals are resistant to change, which is probably true. Because who would want to risk seeing a city they love change into something else? Maybe instead, we should strive to simply improve, to grow,to flourish. Let’s embrace what sets this city apart, and keep that message in the forefront of our minds. Let’s think carefully as we add new things, as to not push out the old. Let’s strive for better without losing sight of who we are. One hundred and thirty five years ago, this city was founded. And since then, generations have made a life here, because the city felt like home. Let’s not make the mistake of forgetting what a beautiful home it is. -The Leader News editorial board consists of Alyssa Meier, Don Winter and Hayley Anderson

 

 

Sensible shoes and memories

We went to a good Eye-Tali-an-o wedding last week down in Denver.

All the players were there… “The Don” ,”Cha-Cha”  the wise guys and all the rest. Polyester in abundance right along with chest hair and chains, big hair and high heels.

But what stood out the most, was The Don’s mother-in-law…. In her sensible shoes.sensibleshoes

I was immediately reminded of all the old ladies that used to sit on their stoops and watch kids play in the street. She reminded me of MY grandmother. Never without her sensible shoes.  And all the times she chatted with ‘The Ladies” – Comparing olive oils and pedigrees, transgressions and recipes, children and husbands and so on. All dressed alike- all in sensible shoes.

She reminded me of all the ladies riding the bus to the market in San Francisco- shopping bags tucked neatly into handbags or under their arms, housedresses and sensible shoes for walking.  She reminded me of  garlic and gravy (that’s-a what we call spago sauce) and crusty bread and cannoli.

it ladiesShe reminded me of when we lived in North Carolina and went to a Columbus Day Celebration in downtown Fayetteville.

There standing all her glory on street corner was an elderly Italian lady in her green (the EXACT same shade as the flag!) housedress, matching handbag and jaunty little hat  proudly holding a full size Italian Flag waving gently in the wind. In her sensible shoes….

A toast to The Don’s mother-in-law!

Salute!

I miss my Grammy and was happy for the memories

~Katy~

 

 

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