I’m two weeks away from being with the Reporter for a year. In that time I’ve met a US senator, sat through numerous city council sessions and watched a city change and grow. It introduced me to the North Country, the landscape and its people, which I’ve come to feel connected to because of their willingness to let me in.
I have also come to feel very strongly that this region is ripe for rebirth. It has so much to offer, so much potential, and I feel it isn’t destined to be trapped in the economic condition it is currently.
My wife and I got invited to the Coös Symposium. It will be interesting to visit and talk with other people interested in kick-starting something positive. I don’t really know what to expect, but it should be interesting no matter what.
I’m also working on a side project to raise the profile and the perspective of the region as a destination. I don’t know how it’ll go, but I’m hoping to turn my enthusiasm for the region into tangible economic benefits.
Working in a small city is tough, because the paper is both a critic and a champion of what happens. I am supposed to look over the decisions of the local government and municipality, but I’m also supposed to provide a positive view of the are. It’s a tough balance to strike in a city so small. The year of working has made me feel even more strongly that the time is right for a real push toward change, but at the same time I am trying to watch that change with a critical eye, ready to point out problems so residents can make informed decisions about their self-governance.
I know there are people who read LPJ just for the Laidlaw/CPD debate. That’s only a fraction of the future of this place. In the past year I’ve watched, heard and taken part in hundreds of discussions about the future of the region. There are more forces pushing for success right now than bonds tying the region to failure. Hopefully the last year of LPJ and the Reporter has made more of those positive developments and possibilities clear to residents, who sometimes have more trouble seeing the good than those from away do.
So although it’s a bit premature, thank you for a year, Berlin and Coös County; I don’t see us slowing down anytime soon.