“New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”
A year ago, we set out an agenda for Morrison County, and said we would be supportive of these five goals:
1. Making Morrison County a Yellow Ribbon community.
2. Developing the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail to link up the Paul Bunyan and Soo Line trails, thus creating one of the longest trail networks in the nation.
3. Achieving certification from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls, by acquiring state funding for a building to house the large cats.
4. Encouraging more civility during the election campaign.
5. Encouraging the development of private business in the county in order to create the wealth needed to supply the taxes necessary for effective government.
It’s difficult to measure the progress of those five goals. Only the first three have measurable ends. All remain works in progress. In this pro-military community sitting outside Camp Ripley’s front gate, the work continues to support families of deployed soldiers from this area.
While state bonding for the link-up of the hiking trails was not provided by the state, work on this worthwhile project continues. Community Development of Morrison County obtained a $12,500 grant in part to assist with marketing the trail.
Similarly, the large cat house at the Pine Grove Zoo still awaits state bonding, but the work goes on, and the zoo remains a great attraction.
Others may disagree, and, to be certain, the election campaign still had more insults and distortions than most would prefer, but we actually thought the tone was slightly more civil than it was in the three elections prior to this one. Perhaps there is a growing understanding of how immense are the problems facing the state and nation.
Lastly, it always seems as if economic development is continuing, but, as it is nationally, the economy continued to sputter. Most troubling is that, even though the county jobless rate has dropped from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent in the past year, 782 fewer people are employed in the county, the fewest since 2009. More needs to be done.