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Front Page » December 4, 2012 » Opinion » Letters to the editor
Published 717 days ago

Letters to the editor


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By Carl Kem
Columbia

Small communities need change

There has been a bug that's been going around for a long time, and I'd

like to help squash it. The bug is called "My Hometown".

Having a hometown is special. The communities I have been to in my 40+ years all had their own certain "flavor" and "uniqueness". There is nothing wrong with having a hometown, or loving your hometown. Everyone should have one and those that don't love and respect their hometown aremissing out on a treasure. Now, on the dark side of the subject, there is a point where "my hometown" is extreme.

In the extreme end of "my hometown" I see entire communities wasting away. People that were born and raised there, bitter over how their

hometown is going down the drain, yet they are unable to focus on the

reason for the loss. I think that's when I compare it to not seeing the

forest because of the trees. They simply cannot look in the mirror and

see that if anything, the problem can be them.

I have lived across the United States. What I have seen is how the residents in those small town I lived in, they showed their bitterness. They showed it when they were not accepting of outsiders. You know, people like....me. People that move from out of town or out of state, and try to "make a go" of living there. After all, small towns have always been able to rely on only themselves and perhaps their neighboring communities for support. Right? Actually, that's totally wrong.

In this day and age, the support structure for communities has changed. Gas, oil, propane, natural gas, groceries, pet supplies, car parts,

building supplies, the list goes on, more often than not in small communities they have to go out of town for those. In some cases going out of town is an all day trip to Provo or Salt Lake City.

But when it's to the point that the small town communities are so destitute that they reject "new people" from out of town they are ensuring their hometown is going to die. There is only so long a community can stagnate before it collapses. Who is to blame for the community's failure then? It's not the industrial complex that left. No it's the lack of acceptance of not only new people, but a new way of life.

I recently bought a home in Columbia. I was fortunate for that as I

found that to be among one of the best moves I've made in the past 40 years. But Columbia has a problem. And that problem is because it's not self-sustaining. How many businesses are here? I honestly can't think of one. I suppose I could be wrong. But then there's the community that has been the Big Brother for Columbia- East Carbon City.

Another fine community. And there, perhaps I'm blind (again), I don't see many businesses starting up. East Carbon is, really, stagnating.

It's sitting there, not growing, but it's not exactly dying off. Just sitting there, existing.

And that is a problem that will hit like a big bomb. At some point the

stagnation period will end, and if the place ain't growing, it's gonna get hit harder than before. Maybe the power plant will shut down. Maybe Grassy Trail Res. water will be unusable. Maybe ECDC will begin closing their doors. It can be anything. And the sick funny thing is, these businesses can close down and East Carbon will still be here.

This problem was covered recently by C.J. McManus (Sun Advocate reporter) when he wrote "...And that is the most unfortunate piece of this whole situation. When did neighbors start calling the cops instead of calling each other? When did the sound of a barking neighborhood dog become a crime? East Carbon is a city struggling to find its center since the destruction of East Carbon High School and until that center is found the city feels like a collection of strangers."

When you watch old time favorites like "The Andy Griffith Show", "The Waltons", and "The Little House on The Prarie" even there you had some room for growth. If you want to see what happens to towns that have no growth, look at Wattis, Hiawatha, Cisco, Thompson and Mack (Colorado).

One town was hit so hard by a literal overnight change that it went from 3,200 to 900 in a year and a half, maybe two years. It didn't take

long. Can East Carbon or Sunnyside stand a hit like that?

I think the problem is when you have people that have been in the small town for so long that it becomes their only world. I have seen that before. Recently I met a town council member that was so caustic when we spoke, I am still scratching my head. Is there any wonder why the community has problems? You can't be like that. I would like to do

something about the apathy I see in our community...I would like to see

people involved and passionate about what is going on in this city.

That's what a community needs. People need to get involved. People

need to become more passionate about their hometown. The "lifers" need to be more accepting not only new people, but new industry and a new change of life. And any kind of disgruntlement or caustic attitudes by councilpersons cannot be tolerated. You want to draw people in, not

push them away. <

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December 4, 2012
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