From Our ReadersIssue Date: November 14, 2019
Yes, we should build on strengths, and on our differences, too; If building is our purpose. For that reason, I am grateful for the anonymous Sound Off submission from the Eagle Herald Oct. 31, 2019
Our community's participation in the Small Business Revolution, by Deluxe Corp. was a strength-building exercise. It was not to win for the sake of winning, but to discover what we have. It was an exercise worth its weight in what the community makes out of it. Here is a sample of what we did. Our citizens pulled together to challenge the other towns in the competition. Both Marinette & Menominee High School Bands inspired us when they practiced and performed together. The first time was not the last time that would happen. Citizens and both cities displayed banners across the interstate bridge connecting both towns, counties, and states in admiration of a newfound unity. A bridge walk was held on New Year's Day sacrificing warmth to experience solidarity. Marinette & Menominee City Council's met together in one session for the first time in history, acknowledging citizens' hope for collaboration in government. We discovered the large ratio of local small businesses for our size community. There was an awakening of local companies, and what they can accomplish when working together. We got a taste of the potential community impact of buying from local independent businesses. We generated an overwhelming and positive social media narrative with reach more significant than any other community in the competition. We can be proud of holding the most real and impactful joint community welcome event deluxe had experienced before. We had a voting network established that would have put our community on the national map. Businesses that previously competed locally realized they are all on the same team when it comes to serving our community.
We were not chosen as the top town, but I was not participating to win for the sake of winning, but for discovering what we have, for proving to ourselves what we can accomplish. Participation was only an objective on the path to a higher purpose. So, what did we gain? The answer rests in how we act on our strengths and talents going forward and choosing not to waste our energy on bitterness. Taking action to move forward, using our abilities, and gaining a new perspective is what we are doing. The process of Regional Branding, and living a shared vision helps us focus all our good works along the lines of one mission. That is, to build a more vibrant community.
The mission that we had before The Small Business Revolution still remains.
I can't help but laugh when I read all the discussions about tourism and economic development. Two years ago I said the County contracting with the City for tourism promotion was a waste of time and taxpayer money. $220,000 was budgeted for two years and I doubt there was any improvement. Now the county administrator wants to add a full time county employee to do the work. It used to be a part time position before contracting out the work. The county administrator is good at spending taxpayer dollars and adding employees. Look at all the taxpayer dollars being spent remodeling the old stinky jail. Who's going to want to work in that building no matter how it is fixed up? The City of Marinette didn't want to. Would you? Not to mention the parking problems.
Don't expect the person hired by the county administrator to promote tourism and possibly economic development to be well qualified. The person running the highway department used to be the part time emergency service director. His background is law enforcement. The county administrators education and background is from running property zoning and the dump (land fill). The replacement District Attorney hired kids fresh out of law school to reduce the back log of cases in the court system. I have not heard of any significant progress with the back log, have you? Why change the methods of operation and hiring?
The county has a lot of income directly and indirectly from tourism. The little money in the county budget for tourism will need to pay salary, vacation, health and retirement costs for the employee or employees plus any promotional expenses. The money budgeted won't go very far.
I purchased my first property on Lake Noquebay in 1986 for the recreation available in the area. There is plenty of stuff to do but improvements to recreation could easily be made. The first thing the county should do is open the Marinette County ATV/UTV connection routes year round. Greatly improve the ATV/UTV trail route markings. Set up and frequently update a separate website for Marinette County's Recreational opportunities. The all in one county website will never do it proper justice. Print separate maps for the Snowmobiles, ATV/UTV, Water Falls, etc. Open the paved surfaces in the county parks to ATV/UTV and snowmobile traffic. Plow the paved surfaces of the County Parks and only the Forest Roads that people use to access their homes and recreactional houses. County Parks would then be good places to park trailers to start a snowmobile or ATV/UTV visit of the county. The county could collect parking fees year round. The county and towns should get golf carts off the streets, roads and highways. They don't have lights and go very slow. The speed limits should match the vehicle speed limits so everyone is safe.
The area needs a slogan how about "Marinette County: Wisconsin's Best Kept Secret"? We've got a good start, now we just need to further develop tourism, people and businesses will come just like I did.
In case you had any doubts about the state of our future, all you would have needed to do is be present on Thursday morning at Marinette Senior High School for the Senior Citizen and Veteran Appreciation Day. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted by lovely students from the Student Senate. They escorted us into the building to the auditorium which we were then entertained by the Choir/Chorale Groups and the Marinette Senior High Band with patriotic music and songs from our past. What an outstanding display of talent! After about an hour of entertainment, including a few jokes and trivia questions, we were then escorted to the library where we were invited to play bingo. The camaraderie shared at the tables was easy to hear by the laughter and lively conversation. The luncheon served by the students and the culinary class was a perfect answer to the chilly temperatures outside. The potato soup brought back memories of my mother's kitchen.
It would be difficult to thank everyone that made us feel very special that morning. It was evident that more than just a small group of people put many hours of work into this grand event. Special thanks to Dr. Dzurick, Mrs. Braatz, and the staff, Mr. Berg and Ms. Blystone and Student Senate, Ms. Giebler, the Chamber Choir and Chorale members, Ms. Oskey and the band, Mrs. Nygren's Family and Consumer Ed Classes, and the M&M Area Community Foundation.
You all touched our hearts that cold November morning. Thank you for inviting us to "Be your guest!" Cast any doubts aside about our great nation's future. With these students at the helm, our future remains bright.
Sharon Brey & Friends,
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