Do you ever say, “Why doesn’t the younger generation pitch in and do some of the volunteering or run for office - it's time that they do!” I have, and I’ve heard a lot of the rest of you say it also. Well, this year we have three – John Berends for YMC Commissioner, Dave Nordaune for Chippewa County Commissioner, and Sarina Otaibi for Granite Falls City Council. All are hard working young people, contributing to our community.
Tough decisions need to be made in Yellow Medicine County very soon. The county has signed a purchase agreement for the Fagen Engineering building for $450,000 and will be renovating it for another $300,000. These foregoing estimated amounts to expand the county’s physical plant do not include all the soft costs, refurnishing, and utilities. Next year, health insurance for county workers is increasing by 30% - all of this in a county with decreasing population.
John Berends, was in school with my kids, and as I watched, he has grown and matured, quietly yet strongly, running his business and employing about 20 people. He is a member of Lions, Granite Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board, and Wood Lake Battlefield Association, to name those that I know. John’s degree in economics, his experience as a commodity trading advisor, and business experience as owner of Bootlegger’s Supper Club give him a background for solving the tough problems facing Yellow Medicine county. John has attended nine County Board meetings in the past five months. He has gone to work already, preparing him to vote on the county budget before year’s end.
The Advocate Tribune reported that the county denied funding for Prairie Waters Tourism and Southern Minnesota Tourism Association who work to develop our area as a destination. This is short-sighted because additional revenue comes from visitors to our area. The 7,500 visitors to Fagen’s air show, several more thousands for the opening of their new museum, and the 5,000 for the Upper Minnesota River Art Meander left many dollars in our region. Tourism needs to be supported, and signs of growth do not happen in a vacuum - John is aware of this. Not that he can do this big job alone, but he is prepared through education – street smarts and book learning – along with the energy of youth, to make things work in a calm and thoughtful manner.
Vote for John Berends for Yellow Medicine County Commissioner.