A new year brings new possibilities in the ever changing landscape of life. Some readers will take this opportunity to make major improvements in their lives. The community as a whole will also inevitably change.
Here are five things for a 2013 agenda that we all should be able to embrace:
1. Bring down the felony rate in the county. How? We subscribe to the “broken windows” theory of law enforcement, in that even the smallest crimes need to be reported and addressed. Vandalism, grafitti, illegal drug use, etc. are the kinds of things that make life only a little harder for everyone at first, but if not addressed can blow up into something big. Put pressure on elected officials to protect the law-abiding by adequately funding law enforcement.
2. Build community ties. The healthiest, most attractive communities are those that don’t insulate them from the outside world, but instead enjoy and support each other at community gatherings and festivals. We will encourage people to reach out to their neighbors, such as the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign that assists families of deployed veterans, to make sure that everyone has a support system.
3. Support development of the Camp Ripley/Veterans State Trail. This link between the Paul Bunyan and Soo Line trails could be a huge economic development boost as well as a way to improve overall physical fitness among county residents. It would also help with strengthening community ties.
4. Support American Zoological Association accreditation of the Pine Grove Zoo. To achieve that will take state bonding money for a house for large cats at the zoo. Once achieved, however, the zoo will be able to share in state operational funds now directed to zoos in Apple Valley, St. Paul and Duluth.
5. Support job creation through small business development. The United States has a national economy that continues to teeter on the edge between profitability and bankruptcy, and that fragility is felt right here at home. The only way the nation can solve its economic problems is by developing new businesses that provide wages that can be taxed to fund the government. We support the efforts of banks and Community Development of Morrison County to find the funding for the best ideas.
If you have other ideas, let us know. Let’s make 2013 a year of growth for Morrison County.