Off the Editor’s Desk – 10-9-2013

WE NEED THE JOBS!

Fifty or so years ago Glenwood City’s businesses included at least six grocery stores, clothing stores, farm implement dealers, furniture, drug, bakery, dime and a couple of hardware stores and creamery and cheese factory.

 Today, one cannot even buy a pair of shoes or a new car in this community or enjoy a late lunch following a night out. We are not unlike many other small towns rural towns throughout this country that have lost its business complex to the bigger city because the local citizens were able to jump into their new automobile and drive a distance away to spend their money and make that other town grow.

There is no such thing as, “I like the community the way it is.” A town like ours is either growing or dying. The way things have been going, we are going to be a crossroads with a couple of taverns and a gas station and lucky to have that gas station. We need to attract business that is not dependent on the local economy.

We are still lucky to have a great group of professional people to serve our needs. A great hardware and grocery store and several other appreciated business, and I must mention that we have gained new business over that time like Misty Meadows, Dejno’s and Glenhaven that have added many jobs to the community. The school has more employees and I am happy to report that this newspaper has doubled its numbers over that time period. But the loss of those other businesses has had a negative affect on small communities like ours.

Not only have those businesses gone away, but the jobs that they provided are no longer here.

What did all those jobs do for the community? They not only provided jobs for local residents and kids that wanted to stay to home, but they provided a work force of volunteers for community and church groups. They also provided volunteers for the local fire and ambulance services.

During the Rustic Lore Kick-off Luncheon at the Hiawatha National Bank I was visiting with the banker from Blair, Wisconsin and he talked about the frac sand mine there. Blair, in Trempealeau County, is one of the many sites in the state that have sand mines in operation. He related that during the discussion with the mining interests, the community was told that the mine operation would employ 30-40 people. But now they have 96 working at the facility.

The local fire and ambulance service is in need of volunteers to provide around-the-clock staffing of that emergency services. Years ago those volunteers came from local businesses that allowed their employees to answer the alarm. But today those people now work out of town and I have seen the number of people available for fire calls drop to almost nothing. I shudder at the thought of the local fire or ambulance not being able to answer the alarm because there were no volunteers available.

Last month I attended the meeting of the Boyceville Ambulance District and noted that they spent over $15,000 in August to provide 24/7 staffing of their ambulance service. Is that in Glenwood City’s future?

Now, would  a local sand mine is our community provide any volunteers to help out would be the question? I would like to think that any venture that has a number of employees would not only help out with volunteers, but also, would also help attract new business and help retain those that are now here.

Thanks for reading.

— Carlton DeWitt