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Author Patrick Overton attempted to check the pulse of New Richmond last week. What he found was a racing heartbeat. Overton spent several days in the city at the invitation of the New Richmond Area Economic Development Corporation and local businesses and organizations. His goal is to help the region heal from an atmosphere of incivility and disrespect that has been prevalent since a number of controversies have rocked the community. "New Richmond is looking at the perfect storm and it's ready to blow," he said. "Some people feel the storm has blown and it's over.
A fledgling industrial development company is moving full steam ahead on plans for a new industrial park in Roberts. The concept plan for DSZ Development's 11-lot park has already been given the nod to proceed by the village. Company officials are now negotiating with Roberts on a development agreement for the 106-acre parcel, which sits directly south of the existing industrial park. It's the first industrial park DSZ Development has ever tackled, but the partners in the venture have a long history of residential and commercial development in the area.
The Conlin family marches to the beat of a different drummer. While most New Richmond families spend their summers swimming, participating in sports and vacationing, the Conlins are on the road with area drum and bugle corps. Now the family is settling into a fall routine at home, all the while yearning for next summer's hectic schedule. "Being in a drum and bugle corps, it's almost like a subculture," said mom Sandee Conlin, who plays percussion. "Once you get involved, you can't give it up." Sandee is the family's most experienced drum and bugle marcher.
Students and staff at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College are in the midst of a two-year effort to treat others more kindly. The New Richmond college developed the theme of "Civility" for its facility last year in hopes of spurring on everyone to foster more appropriate personal relationships. The educational institution had struggled with some internal conflicts previously, and administrators were interested in promoting healing and greater respect among individuals. Oprah Winfrey and radio's "Satellite sisters" had both taken up the mantra of civility in recent months.
Del Magsam expected to retire and fade away from the local business scene. It didn't take long for him to change his mind. Magsam has opened Wisconsin Outdoor Products at the site of the old Warner's Dock building, 928 Knowles Ave., New Richmond. Magsam has been a fixture in the New Richmond business community for years. He owned and operated Fireplace Design and Sharp Rite, Inc.
Rain and a cool breeze didn't scare them away. Hundreds of onlookers lined the streets of downtown Hammond Thursday night to enjoy the 10th annual Running of the Llamas event, sponsored by the Hammond Hotel. "This is real Americana," said one man along the race route who could hardly contain himself. "If this is the tenth year for this, I've been here four or five years. People wouldn't believe it if I told them about it." Almost all of the estimated 200 people who watched the spectacle was carrying a camera or a cell phone with picture capabilities.
Commuters from New Richmond and points north and east will honk in happiness this week. If all goes according to plan, the next leg of the newly revamped Highway 64 will open to traffic Thursday. When the three-mile stretch is open, about five more minutes of commuting time will be cut for many motorists. The previously completed four-lane sections bypassing Somerset already have shaved off five-plus minutes from the drive to Stillwater from here. For people looking to move out of the crush of the Twin Cities, New Richmond will suddenly become a little more attractive.
New Richmond's newly formed Urban Forestry Board is looking for help. The nine-member volunteer group is charged with developing a long-term plan for the community's trees. Now that they've completed four initial meetings, the board wants to gather the opinions of local residents about the current state of trees in the community. New Richmond Park Director Joe Kerlin said a simple questionnaire has been posted on the city's website that people may print out and complete. Copies of the survey may also be picked up at the city office. Residents can find the survey at ci.new-richmond.wi.us.
The millions of dollars spent to lure jobs to town are a misplaced governmental priority and the money would be better spent educating children at a younger age and helping adults become better parents. That's the message Arthur Rolnick brought to a United Way of the St. Croix Valley luncheon in New Richmond Sept. 13. It's an unconventional message from Rolnick, who is senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Two local residents want addicts to get SMART when giving up drugs, alcohol or gambling. Beth Anez and Monae Johnson have started a new support and training group for those recovering from any form of addiction. SMART Recovery, which uses an abstinence-based approach to kicking a habit, uses a system of training one's mind to make better choices in life.