5 thoughts on “Abracadabra!

  1. I seem to have asked a question I couldn’t answer. There are so many things I’d like to change about Little Falls. So, I’ll do like the politicians do and answer the question I wish I’d been asked instead of the one I was actually asked. Feel free to do the same.

    What I would change about Little Falls:

    1. I’d create more opportunities to assist small (and I mean very small) businesses. We spend a lot of time and money on large businesses that promise many jobs that never quite seem to materialize.

    2. I’d allow for home-based businesses and businesses within neighborhoods, like the old-fashioned neighborhood grocery stores. While grocery stores might not work because of the high cost of stocking a small store, maybe a little coffee or sweets shop would. These stores could serve as gathering places for neighbors to get to know each other. I’d encourage home-based businesses as a way to employ locals and help the economy.

    3. I’d like to find a way to convince local people that professional work involving thinking and ideas is as valuable as labor and that people who write, do research, create art, do graphic design, and etc. deserve to be paid for their work. (I’m well aware that this isn’t just a Little Falls thing.)

    4. I’d like residents to learn how to “ooch,” how to do a small test of an idea in order to get some feedback on whether it will work. One thing ooching would help with in the community is getting action on ideas, rather than letting them die untested. However, the community needs to be supportive of ooching. One way to help people test a business idea is to have pop-up stores. These are stores that operate for a month or so, typically in buildings that are sitting vacant and waiting for new owners or permanent tenants.

    5. I’d make better use of the parks we have, rethinking them in order to see if they are providing useful public spaces. We really could use a dog park and there are a number of locations around the city that might work for this with little cost (a fence, a garbage can, and a bench should do).

    6. I’d like to see the city provide residents with an e-newsletter to let us know when meetings will be taking place and to provide other important city info.

    7. I’d like for there to be post-secondary options for adults of all ages, but not necessarily a college. Can we find a new way to provide rolling education/classes for retraining that does not involve putting students into debt?

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    • In response to your 7 items:

      1. Little Falls has always had small businesses, most were “mom&pop” stores, and by their nature, did not employ many people other than family and friends. They also don’t provide opportunities for local graduates, therefore many leave and never return. Zoning, at least from my perspective, is only a government ploy in order to collect higher taxes from businesses, small and large. That raises the price everyone pays for goods and services. Little Falls would probably attract more larger business, who would employ many, not just a few, if commercial property were taxed at the same rate as residential.

      2. I remember the “old-fashioned neighborhood grocery stores” that you mention, from back in the 50’s and 60’s. Unfortunately, they were replaced by “convenience” gas stations. There was also a grocery store, Schaffer’s, more commonly known to most as Red Owl, that is now the home of the new Boys & Girls Club, thrift store, and a laundromat. The west side was “promised” a new grocery store, in that same building, by the owner of a grocery store in Randall, but after getting the building for a pittance and a whole winters-worth of free advertising for his store in Randall, he never did anything with the property. Of course, the city gained with the property tax he paid annually, but the city didn’t nothing to get him to get that grocery store started, even though there’s a time limit in the city charter.

      3. I don’t know how to reply to this one. Apparently, you have done, or are doing something that you feel you should be paid for. Join the club! There are a lot of us already standing in line!

      4. I found 3 definitions for “ooch” on the “Urban” dictionary…none of those fit with what your trying to say. Many “startup” businesses fail for many different reasons, and many of those reasons can apply to larger businesses, as well. I took a “Start Your Own Business” class at Pine Technical Institute some years ago, and from that class, you have to have a business plan. Before you even make the plan, you find out if people are even receptive to your ideas by doing surveys, and in some cases, providing samples. All businesses are required to advertise in order to market their product (and be legal). Choosing a suitable location is also a prerequisite step. With your “ooching” plan, you might as well work out of your own home. If you go into your favorite store, and find out that everything has been moved from where it used to be, isn’t that like setting up shop in one place and then having to move to another location?

      5. And what would the “rules” be for a dog park? From what I’ve seen, as well as stepped in, people aren’t cleaning up after their “children” now. The police need to be more proactive with people who are out walking their “children” by stopping them and asking to see their “doggy dropping bag”…if they don’t have one, write them a ticket…make them pay a fine…maybe they will learn, maybe not. A dog park would be no different…people should be cleaning up after their pets. The leash law also needs to be enforced 100%.
      If you think your dog is so smart, teach it to use the toilet, and wipe…see how that works out!

      6. The city has a website which should provide this information. Unfortunately, this resource is of little use if it’s not updated, which I find in many instances, it is not. I hope the new administration will handle this issue promptly.

      7. I’d like there to be more selective training for children when they are in their sophomore year of school. By testing children in their sophomore year for all academic studies, guidance counselors should be able to show students what fields they should pursue and show them what classes are needed to get there. Many should not be directed to college but tradeschool instead. My first contact from my “guidance” counselor wasn’t until my senior year. I wanted to be a laboratory technician, perhaps in a clinic or hospital. He told me that a lab technician was a woman’s job and that I would serve better by enlisting in the military. Not exactly what I had in mind. As far as adult education…there are classes on the internet for many things, however, you receive little or no credit for them. Another option would be correspondence schools for which you can get credit as well as a certificate/diploma. Just research the school first…many are worthless.

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      • J. SKI – Believe it or not, I got my definition of “ooch” from (gasp!) a real honest-to-goodness hardcover book, one that I checked out of the library. As it’s been a while since I read the book, I hope I have the title right … “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky. http://www.amazon.com/Making-Ideas-Happen-Overcoming-Obstacles/dp/159184312X I did find a website online that refers to “ooch” as I’m using it above: http://www.thepalife.com/ooch/

        As for your comments about dogs, I do agree that all dogs should be on a leash when out and about with their owners. However, dogs also need time to run off-leash and socialize with other dogs, hence my desire for a dog park. The fact that people don’t pick up after their dogs during walks doesn’t mean that people who use a dog park won’t pick up after them there, either.

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  2. I would change the intersection at Hwy 27 and 18th Street Northeast to a roundabout. Since everyone who exits Lemieur Street and wants to travel west has to first go east and then make a U-turn at the intersection anyway, why not eliminate the need to wait for a light? This would also get rid of that idiotic “No Right Turn” light for those turning right onto 27 coming from Walmart. Nobody would have to stop and wait for traffic signals, there would be no need for them at all. That would save energy.

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  3. There are many things that could be done. However I think more thought needs to be put into things which will draw young families to town. More young families will mean more taxes, better schools and a bigger outcry for many of the ideas put forth. Plus doing so will bring fresh ideas into town.

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