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Looking good in all neighborhoods

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

If you travel around the midwest, you'll see communities dealing with the shrinking rural population in different ways.

Some towns give up. Empty storefronts and decaying buildings mark their community centers.

Others roll up their sleeves and fight flight with action.

I hope you all had a chance to read Gabe Licht's series last week on the historic renovations of Spencer businesses. My family has been around here for over 35 years, and I didn't know many of the interesting facts Gabe shared.

The commitment by the city, business owners, and Spencer Municipal Utilities has resulted in a community that looks great! The North Grand Ave. improvements have made the always-beautiful boulevard even more attractive. And, looking ahead to river-front development promises to add another dimension to the cachet of Spencer.

We'll be seeing lots of activity this summer on the south side of downtown as construction begins on the renovation of the former Johnston Automotive facility into the Clay County Heritage Center. As a member of the building committee, I can honestly say that seeing actual construction will be a relief after months and months (and months) of planning and fundraising.

But what a sight it will be when completed!

The new facility will be a well, grand addition to Grand Avenue for those arriving from the south.

Keep your eyes open this summer, and watch the progress with us!


This coming year will mark a lot of "lasts" in our house. We marked one this past weekend.

We made the trip to rural Schaller to pick out and pick up Drew's last set of 4-H lambs.

My sister and her family have been our source since Drew was just a young 4-H'er. Our Memorial weekend trips to their farm have been a tradition.

My sister and I sit outside the pen, watching, and smiling, as Drew, his dad, and Uncle Kurt sort sheep, discuss the attributes of each, and finally whittle a dozen or so down to the four or five we bring home. It can be an all-afternoon affair.

We didn't know anything about raising sheep when we started, and believe me, there's still a lot we don't know.

But, those summer evenings spent walking the sheep down our gravel road, talking and laughing, are memories we won't ever forget. Drew, and his parents, learned a lot over the years of lamb-tending, a lot that had nothing to do with animal husbandry.


Mother Nature has been pretty fickle this spring. After a pretty smooth corn planting season, we've seen way too much water to finish up those beans.

Just give us a little sunshine Mother Nature.

And some warm weather.



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Paula Buenger
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