It would be an oversight to not mention just a bit about that wonderful finish to the Vikings/New Orleans play-off game last Sunday. Many, if not most of us will remember where we were when that end of the game pass, catch and run turned what looked to be another glum near-miss into one of the most memorable of Minnesota sports moments.

It would be an understatement to say that it was loud at the Angle Inn resort on Oak Island on Lake of the Woods where ten of us, after a busy day of catching walleye and sauger through 30-inch ice, were watching the game with resort owners Deb, Tony, Cole and Katie Wandersee. The whoops, high fives, fist bumps, toasts and yes, even hugs, were all over the room. And then we watched it again, about three or four dozen times, and each time it was just as fun and each time seemed to reinforce that there was a bit of destiny in the works.

From heartbreak to pure joy, it was a memorable rollercoaster ride. Let’s plan to hang on for two more results like that.

Last Thursday evening’s annual meeting of the Granite Falls Fire Department brought the news that long-time Fire Chief Craig Opdahl was stepping down from that position. While he has decided to step back a bit, he’ll continue as a member of the Granite Fire Department. First Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Le Blanc was voted in as the new fire chief and will bring a lot of good experience and dedication to the job.

Being in a leadership role in an organization or agency that deals with emergencies or public safety can be demanding and at times stressful. We tend to take that all for granted and just assume that those good folks will be there when they’re needed.

In reality, it takes a lot of training and dedication to be on a fire department, ambulance squad or to be in law enforcement. It also takes some real vision to be in a leadership role with those organizations.

A big thanks to Craig for his hard work, service and his big-picture vision as the local fire chief these past several years. 

Last week’s Advocate Tribune school board story included the news that the YME School board will move forward with the process for hiring a superintendent. Most folks take these kind of decisions for granted but they often become a time for ponder the possibility of sharing a superintendent position with another school district or having a part-time superintendent. Several area school districts have done that, or are doing that now, as they try to decide their path forward.

We have been well served by Dr. Rick Clark during his time here serving the YME school district on a part-time basis. He has a lifetime of experience that has been helpful in moving the YME school district forward with a successful levy referendum and negotiating various teacher and staff contracts. He has kept a steady hand on the wheel while steering the school district. He’ll continue here for one more year and help the board find their way in this process.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am certainly no expert when it comes to school administration matters but the school’s sizable budget of $12.6 million seems to demand that we have a full-time superintendent.

Serving the school district part time can certainly be done and someone with Dr. Clark’s experience is capable of handling most of the issues and details that come along with a sizable operation like our school is. However, having someone there full-time will help the district in many ways. The small amount that could be saved by sharing a superintendent with another district or paying for a less than a full-time position can easily be made up by having the right full-time superintendent. Having an everyday presence and day-to-day leadership will help to advocate for the school district’s best interests.

Some years ago Yellow Medicine County shared a county administrator and eventually found that, despite, the relatively small savings, it was better to have a full-time person at the helm. It seems inconceivable that the city would ever consider not having a full time city manager. There is too much to handle and too many decisions that need to be made. There are also too many opportunities to work on to not have someone there full time.

While hiring a superintendent will probably not be easy work, it is likely the most important work that the school board members will do during their time serving on the board. Best wishes to them as they begin this all important work.