Congratulations to the Yellow Medicine East class of 2017! It's great to see another group of young people starting off to find their way through life. It's natural for young people to want to leave home and experience something new at this age. College, a new job, a new city are all exciting and an important part of becoming an adult. But we need to remind the young generation of all the opportunities that exist right here. Part of the problem is the attitude that "nothing ever happens here, it's boring, there are no opportunities."

All rural communities need to start talking about the positive aspects of living in a small town and think of it as a privilege that many city dwellers envy! When our young people hear this from the adults, they'll pick up on this as well and choose to move back after attending college, or just stay and get a great education at Minnesota West! Last week, 55 people from the Twin Cities came to visit Granite Falls and Montevideo looking for jobs and relocation opportunities.Employers here can't find enough qualified people to fill their jobs.

Do you have an idea for your own business? Commercial buildings are a fraction of the price compared to large cities and we have local expertise and loan packages to get you started. Home ownership is a better option than rent with less expensive prices. Day-care is less expensive when it's time to start a family, schools are great, lots of time for family.

There are efforts to recruit people to this area by individual employers, Chambers of Commerce, Pioneer Public TV, the Southwest Initiative Foundation and the Upper Minnesota River Valley Development Commis-sion. Visitors and new residents of Granite Falls always comment on what a beautiful town, the potential of Minnesota River recreation and the potential for tourism. We all need to appreciate our surroundings, keep our money in town by supporting our local businesses and attend local events.

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Congratulations to the Granite Falls Kiwanis and the Popcorn Stand for the "Finding Minnesota" segment on last Sunday's WCCO 4 news. If you have stories - old or new - from the popcorn stand, the Granite Falls Historical Society would love to include them in our History of the Popcorn Stand exhibit during Western Fest. Bring your photos and stories to the Chamber office or e-mail gfhsociety@netscape.net.

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