Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 10, 2001

Cleaning up our act


As I look around the office this afternoon, I see normally clean people walking around with mud caked on their shoes and pant legs.

It's not that they are taking a break from hygiene. It's just that they have met with the fun mess we have in front of the Herald/Journal office in Howard Lake, due to the Highway 12 construction. I know those of you who live in Winsted can relate.

This construction is, literally, right out our front door. I have sacrificed by giving up sandals the last few weeks that they can be worn, because there is no way to be comfortable with dirty feet.

We are, after all, in Minnesota's "construction season," you know. "Construction season," of course, being our season between winter and sloppy spring. There's not much of a chance to wear clean shoes with our seasons.

These past weeks have been quite an adventure for the newspaper staff, and I would say, our customers as well, although for obvious reasons, we haven't seen many of them.

Most of our business seems to be done by phone lately, because at various times throughout the day, there are very few ways to get to the front door. To visit us, you need to be creative.

This morning it rained, and what a sloppy, muddy mess we had out front.

I just found out that a staff member (who shall remain nameless) got stuck trying to drive into our parking lot this morning to come to work. She is very thankful for the help that she received, and was able to make it in.

I received a call from a customer just the other day, literally asking how to get in the door. I'm sure she wondered how it was that the staff got to work.

For us at the newspaper, it is mostly an inconvenience. For the other businesses surrounding us, however, it is much more.

I have made a pact in my mind to utilize the Highway 12 businesses as much as possible during this time. For some of them, this construction is devastating.

If it were just a matter of inconvenience for those businesses, I'm sure they wouldn't mind being inconvenienced. But for them, that simply isn't the case.

The same holds true for businesses on the construction route in Winsted. I attempted to stop to get gas yesterday, but couldn't get to a gas station. I really tried, drove over fresh tar and everything (sorry to the construction workers!), but couldn't do it without burying my car in a tar grave.

I noticed other cars driving in circles, obviously trying to figure out how to get into the parking lots, just the same as I was. The attempt was there, but so were the physical barriers.

Now is the time to be a supportive community member, and visit your local businesses!

We will be back to normal soon, and hopefully, not only normal, but greatly improved.

After all, our shoes will need the time to dry before winter starts.

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