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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
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May 12, 2019     Sidney Herald
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May 12, 2019
 

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SIDNEY HERALD,‘SUNDAY, MAY l2. 20I9 AIS OPINION gunman Eileralh SERVING THE MONDAK REGION SINCE 1908 Kelly Miller Pub|isher Cultivating a . community ecently a customer, who shall remain named, Phil Johnson, asked me when I arrived at the Sidney Herald. When I told him August of last year, he said “Well, you are coming around the mountain.” Could it be? Could it be I have been in Sidney for almost a year? In some ways it feels like I just arrived. In other ways it feels like I have lived here my entire life. When I think about first arriving in Montana I think about West Virginia and the friends I left behind. I miss my Rotary Club lunches. When I first joined Rotary in Keyser, West Virginia, I sat alone. I was so discouraged and felt out of place. All the tables were full and everyone had their click. I am so glad I stuck with it. Before long, one by one, people started sitting at my table. Sure, I was too loud for some. But the ones who stayed, became my people. We worked on projects in the community together, planted trees, rode in parades and tried to make a difference in our little universe. I recently read a great article by Jenny. Anderson on qz.com, Quartz. It was called, “The only metric of success that really matters is the one we ignore.” It’s a great read about community and relationships. You should look it up. Through a very personal story Anderson comes to the realization the true importance of community. It’s the relationships in our lives, incur community, that really matter. Most of us have an exorbitant amount of “friends” on social media. We spend hours of our time looking into the lives of people we barely know. Are these friends ever really there for us? I remember a few years ago I Was visiting Michigan and my family and I were elly MI r at The Gilmore media. Soon after an old high school buddy of mine checked in at the museum too! I was almost scared! What if I ran into him? What would I say? Did I look as good as my photos on social media? Seriously, what have I become? I am wasting my time sharing my life with people I am afraid to see in real life! Who would be there for us if we got sick? What if we couldn’t care for our family? What if we couldn’t pay our mortgage? If you are smart, you are one of the lucky ones who has already figured this out. Have you nurtured the relationships you have in the community? The real meaning of the article on qz.com, the real metric of our success is the relationships we build in person. The people who will be there for“ us when we need them. Better yet, the people who will be there for your family when they need it. I know Sidney is one of those communities. I see so many people who care in our town. I am working to build that bond and find my people in Lions Club I and beyond. I have made a few friends since my arrival in August. But I know I have a long way to‘go. In small towns people keep to their own. I know it may take a while, but I am in it for the long haul. I want Sidney to be my community. On ‘a professional note. I am also working hard to find the perfect newspaper team for our community too. Everyone here at 310 2nd Avenue NE wants to be your community newspaper, in print and online. KELLY MILLER is the publisher for the Sidney Herald. NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE V w M THERs “unionism '- Whypoliiics is crazy these days ack in 2004 when I Breturned from years of living abroad I reconnected with an old friend. One of the things I wanted to ask him was if politics was ' really as crazy as I’d read about in the press. What he told me was that it had gotten “mean.” As I got used to living in my own country again I saw that it was also pretty crazy. Let’s skip past the part where we argue who is meaner and crazier. I think there is general agreement some are, just not me. Instead let’s consider why it might be that so many of our fellow-citizens are convinced those with‘ whom they disagree are not just wrong, but rotten people. I have my own ideas why, which you might find interesting. Or you might conclude I’m a rotten person. To begin with, the stakes are higher these days. Those old enough to remember the Johnson- Goldwater race of 1964, can recall it was pretty hard-fought and nasty for the time. But afterwards Barry Goldwater made a gracious concession speech in which he spoke of the high personal regard he' had for Johnson and Hubert Humphrey despite their political differences. Contrast that with Al Gore’s public bitterness throughout the Bush administration. After winning the presidency, LBJ began a course of ‘ .. COMMENTARY government expansion and intrusiveness, escalating one foreign war while declaring a domestic “war on poverty.” :E?:: The Johnson administration ended with a federal government four times the size he found it and growing. A government that much bigger is throwing around a lot more money and giving a lot more orders on how to run your business and your life. So who gets to spend the money and give the orders is a lot more important now. But we’re just trying to do good! Don’t people realize that? Annnnnd there’s the other thing. In terms of “doing good” the low hanging fruit has been picked. Consider that you can’t work men like you could even 50 years ago. Racial and religious discrimination is not only illegal, it’s vulgar. Contrary to the doomsayers, starvation is almost unknown in our country. Most of our doctors won’t even recognize the symptoms of scurvy, pellagra, or beri-beri unless they’ve practiced in odd corners of the world. Pollution is still here, but much improved. Some of us remember when visiting big cities left you with a burning sensation in your eyes and sinus problems. It’s not that we don’t have problems, of course we do. But the problems that yield to mere money and education have been largely addressed. What’s left are the hard problems. Poverty is still with us, even after spending enough money to have created the largest class of idle rich in the world. But we’ve found that while you can create opportunity, you can’t force people to take it. Because the culture and habits that help you survive poverty do not help you escape it. Homelessness may be even worse. But it’s not that there aren’t enough homes to live in but enough hospital beds. The homeless are largely mentally ill, often substance abusers and we still don’t know how to fix that. It could be that the time of social crusades where you could expect to see victory within your lifetime is over. What’s left requires generations of patient work. For cause junkies looking back to a heroic age of social activism this is frustrating and maddening. Andpften they want to believe it'isiactive obstruction responsible for the slow pace of change. STEPHEN BROWNE is an award—winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991-2004. He currently lives in the Midwest with his two children and dog Pearl. Working hard or hardly working at the Sidney Herald for yours truly. This is the first newspaper I’ve worked for that puts as much emphasis on digital content as it does on the print product. It’s a refreshing step into this century’s newspaper world. Of course, being the new kid is never easy. While I know I am professionally equipped to handle this job, it has been a test of confidence to come back into this community in a completely new role. The process of self-reinvention can be so intimidating. People It’s been quite the first week around town think they know me in a certain way and challenging those perceptions, _ whether directly or indirectly, is a difficult task. The truth is, I’ve worked really hard to get where I am. I don’t need to convince anyone of that, it’s simply a fact. No matter what age or stage of life one is in, higher education is difficult. It requires a lot of time, time management, focus and sacrifice. v I have so much respect for people who put in the leg work to make their dreams come . true. Whether it’s vocational training or a college degree, creating one’s own opportunities in life is the real American dream. I’ve done the vocational training thing (I went to beauty school and did hair for a number of years). While it’s a very different world than academia, it is just as respectable and important. There’s a big push right now to expose more high school students to vocational certificates and I think it’s a great approach. A piece of advice from my mother often Amy Venn echoes in my mind. “You have to have a marketable skill, Amy,” she would tell me in my rebellious younger years. She was right. Whether it’s a degree or a certificate, give yourself an edge up on the competition. . V Hard work doesn’t typically go unnoticed around these parts. But I do think we’ve come to expect so much of.it , in oil field country that we sometimes forget to appreciate . the effort being made. That being said, I want to take this chance to give a big shout out to my dear friend Mariah Selensky. She just finished up her RN degree Thursday night through Williston State College. She was a CNA at Sidney Health Center for about a decade and a half before going deciding to go to school. Itwas tough work, an enormous time . commitment and a very trying experience. She worked, er tail off all while raising a teenage daughter. I couldn’t be more proud of her. .She’s one of the many f’ “ if examples in our community of people putting in the-work to better themselvesand their circumstances. If you’re out there working hard, achieving goals, educating yourself either through on-the-job , training or higher education, I want you to know I see you. I understand the struggle. I appreciate the effort. Don’t give up. . AMY VENII is the managing editor for the Sidney Herald