We would likely all agree that fifty years is a long time. Still, what happened in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 somehow doesn’t seem all that long ago.
Fifty years ago this week President John Kennedy was gunned down in broad daylight while his motorcade traveled through a crowd in downtown Dallas.
It was a turning point in our lifetimes and in American history. It was one of those few times that you remember where you were when you heard the news.
I was in Chauncy Balfany’s fifth grade class here in Granite and there was talk on the playground during our noon recess that President Kennedy had been shot. It was only when we were back in our classroom that we heard that he had died.
By the look on our teachers’ faces, we 10-year-olds knew that this was something way out of the ordinary and it was a big deal.
We listened to the radio over the school’s PA system and then were released early that day which was on a Friday.
We were learning very quickly what the word assassination meant. There was no doubt that the world was going to be different. At age 10, you have a pretty good idea about what’s going on with the people around you and there was no mistaking that this was a pretty big deal. It still is, but then it has only been fifty years, not really all that long ago.
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I made a trip to Chaska last Thursday evening for a town hall meeting about the plan for widening those very busy two-lane segments of Hwy. 212 on either side of Cologne. This meeting focused mostly on the 4.6-mile stretch between Cologne and Chaska and I figured that we needed to show some support from our end of 212. Renville County commissioner John Stahl of Olivia was there too and we both had a chance to speak up about those much-needed improvements that have been in the works for more than 50 years. It is time to get this work done.
Former Granite Falls Hospital Administrator Bob Stevens, now the CEO of the ever-expanding Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, also spoke in support of the project. His organization built the new Two Twelve Emergency Care Center along the Hwy. 212 Chaska by-pass and they are already expanding it and need a safer road system for that fast growing area.
You can read about the meeting on page 2B of this issue. The present amount of funding for transportation (or, the lack of funding) has pushed back the four-lane expansion of Highway 212 in that area by at least another 20 years. We’ll all be older by then and my grandkids will all be adults.
Page 2 of 2 - Everyone at the meeting was saying that something needs to change and that the project has to get moved up as a priority. The problem is, no one seems to want to pay extra to get these kinds of projects done.
Someday, perhaps. Meanwhile, we’ll keep beating the drum.
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Speaking of highways, I was happy to see that Hwy. 23 is going to get funding for some additional passing lanes. I’m not sure where those are planned but they will be a welcome addition.
I know that some folks from Marshall submitted the suggestion of passing lanes in their area and I did the same for passing lanes on Hwy. 23 between Granite Falls and Willmar.
As nice as it is to see that project picked for the state’s Corridors of Commerce program, it was also disappointing that other necessary projects didn’t get picked. I hoped there would be funding for replacing the railroad underpass in Granite, the additional lanes on the east end of Hwy. 212 and for making Hwy. 212 between Granite and Monte safer for the mix of traffic.
Maybe next time. I just hope it isn’t another 50 years.