Our Community in the Times of COVID-19
Those who know me well or have fished with me some will tell you I have a tendency to become very focused to the point of having tunnel-vision. It seems that the last month has been consumed by COVID-19 and our response to it as a community; almost to the point of that not being healthy in itself. That we need to take every precaution available is not a bad thing in a single sense; but when that singularity consumes what we do or don’t do then that response also becomes at least mentally unhealthy. Life still has to have purpose. Need has to be found to get up every day and fill that day with a purpose, even if we are requested to stay at home or practice social distancing when out and about, purpose still needs to be found. A lack of purpose often leads to depression and depression can lead to many undesirable consequences.
So contrary to what you may think while I focus on COVID-19 when I have to I have tried very hard not to let it consume me and or my time. So in that regard I have only one additional request of you in light of the COVID-19; please consider wearing some type of respiratory mask when you know you will encounter people outside your immediate family unit when you are out and about shopping or what not. It is a recommendation at this point from the Center for Disease Control and one that many cities across the country are initiating. Many individuals and groups around town have been making them and here is a DIY video if you want to make some: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieI7HITRm3c&feature=emb_logo
Beyond the virus at the City we have been focusing as much as possible on working forward. In the office those in Administration are working at bringing our new administrative software online and training almost daily in addition to their regular duties. Building permits and construction inspections are being done by appointment.
Outside things are progressing as normally as possible. Streets continue to be repaired and swept. I have heard some complaints of the street sweepers being run at night and I can tell you this is being done in response to the virus, social distancing and the lack of daycare for employee families where both parents are still able to work. Sweeping at night also eliminates most traffic issues; although, I understand the sweepers are a bit noisy when folks are trying to sleep and we will try and focus those efforts in less residential areas as we are able to.
Under our streets and alleys water and waste water maintenance continues; as it does at the treatment plant. In a bit of potentially really good news the federal economic stimulus package is providing up to 80 percent grant funds for infrastructure projects that are shovel ready for the construction year of 2021. We put our name in the hat last week to be considered for two projects; the first is replacement of 13 miles of four inch water mainlines and the second is the installation of sidewalk from the middle school to Lee Street Park. We were only able to request assistance on those because of the work we had previously done with each to be ready for their construction. The availability of the funds were announced on a Friday and requests for consideration had to have been submitted the very next Monday.
Our efforts continue with the potential Ferry Hollow Trail as we work with the Bureau of Reclamation and other stakeholders to find a path from Seagull Bay to Lee Street Park by 2023. All the trees in North and South City Parks have been inoculated for beetles and the new sprinkler systems is being prepared to be brought on line there and at Lee Street Park. Golfing continues with modified service at the Club House. If you are enjoying the golf course please practice proper social distancing even in the carts if you are not walking. It is a privilege we are happy to be able to offer under the State mandate and guidelines; please don’t abuse that privilege and cause us to have to modify further the use of the course.
At school things are progressing on line. Most students are adapting; although, there are many with connectivity problems that makes it harder for them and us as teachers to deliver curriculum and content. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on perspective the greenhouse is in full production and transplanting is consuming much of my time along with that of Ms. Knickrehm, Ms. Nelson (our student teacher) and a few students who are able to help. Flowers and baskets will be ready for Mother’s Day, put us on your calendar to visit.
Spring is springing as I see crocus, tulips and other early flowers peeking up to the sun. Enjoy the warmer days as you are able to. As I have written before sunshine is nearly a cure-all for what ails me; I hope it works for you too. Focus on the positive, whatever those bits in your life are, you will find it makes everything else at least manageable. Take care one and all and be safe. We can all get through this with a positive attitude and a bit of diligence.
Until next week…
Postscript: depending on circumstance this column may be suspended should my time become less available.