December 2, 2010

Communities converse for change

By Michael Johnson, Editor

Residents and business owners in the area came together with a plethora of concerns and ideas for the future in their community and in the state at a listening session in the Underwood City Hall Nov. 23. The session was led by NDSU Extension Center for Community Vitality director Kathleen Tweeten and it will provide information to the Bush Foundation. This will help them know where to focus their funding. It was an interesting environment as residents from Washburn, Underwood, Riverdale, Garrison and Mercer all came together and brainstormed for about three hours. There were no boundaries between towns, just simple conversations. Everyone that came was placed into small groups and given a remote control clicker. Tweeten would ask a question such as "What do you think is the most important issue facing North Dakota?" and after the group discussed what they thought was a good suggestion, they could vote on the suggestions made by every group using the clicker. The results were instantly shown on a screen. Then the groups continued to vote on different questions until the major concerns were outlined. Then all they had left was to solve the problem. One group included Underwood Mayor Rick Olson, McLean County Commissioner Steve Lee, representative of District 8 Jeff Delzer, Common Enterprise Development Corp. Director Bill Patrie and Underwood Economic Development Director Becky Bowen. Tweeten asked the groups to discuss what they felt was the biggest concern for them.


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