KATIE ZERR: Nothing’s happening doesn’t apply here
A common thread in small towns is the answer given when a resident is asked, “What’s going on?” The common answer is “Nothing ever happens here.”
That might have been true before the advances in technology. Our worlds are wide open now in most areas of this country. Anything can happen anywhere at any time.
Mobridge is a prime example of a smaller community that continues to evolve through many channels.
Growing up this was strictly an Ag community. Everything- our economy, school, events-revolved around what needed to be done on the farms and ranches of the area.
Kids didn’t go to school until the fall work was done. People put off playing until the calves were branded, or the hay was cut and the crops were harvested.
That is still true today, but technology has made all of that work less difficult and less time consuming.
As those changes were occurring, the dams on the Missouri River system were changing the face of our state and the bases of our economy.
Once solely Ag driven, the scope of revenue widened to include more tourism dollars. More and more people heard about our gem of Lake Oahe and began their annual pilgrimages to Mobridge.
Pheasant hunters continued to flock to the area and the appreciation of Native American history and culture beckoned tourists to our doorstep.
We have evolved into a community that has become a tourist destination that depends on our Ag producers.
Mobridge has continued to change with these events. We lost the MDU power plant, the Milwaukee Road and Bell Telephone, but gained a casino and resort just to our west.
We have a world-wide product distribution company based in our city, a large medical facility and a growing concrete and road company, each of which employee large numbers of residents.
We have changed and there is always something going on here.
We understand our treasures and are working to preserve and use those treasures to our best advantage.
The Oscar Howe murals at the event center are one of the most unique and amazing works of art in this state. The work of the Friends of Scherr-Howe and other members of our community to raise funds to have these restored to their former glory is very important. Those murals are priceless.
As is the bust of Sitting Bull on the monument to the Lakota leader. It is one of a kind and an important work of art. It too deserves to be preserved and protected.
The most priceless gem of this area is the people who live here. Ask anyone in need of a helping hand. Whether it is a family with a child battling disease, a friend or neighbor who for some reason needs help with cutting firewood and getting the crops in, the people here line up to help. Once the word gets out, people are there.
As Mobridge changes, there is that one constant. The people here are willing to help one another, this community and our area.
Whether it is raising funds to build an addition to the library or getting a pool built that will provide safe entertainment for the kids of the region through the hot summer, volunteers work to get it done.
From MYO, the Mobridge-Pollock School District, 4-H, Boy and Girl Scouts, our churches and many groups that help our youth with hunting and fishing activities, this community is dedicated to making Mobridge a great place to raise kids.
To those who think nothing ever happens here need to open their eyes and look around. There is something happening here all of the time.
We need to appreciate what is here and the benefits of living in a small town.
As we move forward with development of the riverfront, we need to look into the future of our community. We need to remember how change has turned from dread of the loss of something familiar, to the benefit of something new.
There is plenty happening here, we just need to embrace it and roll with the changes.