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Readers’ Views

Fun events upcoming

To the Editor:

Kids Just Want to Have Fun would appreciate any individual or business sponsors to assist in funding our upcoming community events.

Our 3rd annual Father/Daughter Sweetheart dance will be held 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at Fairmont Bethel Evangelical Free Church. It will include a dance with music by a professional DJ, professional photo booth, games, door prizes and Pizza Ranch pizza supper. Suggested donation ticket price is $15/family pre-sale from the Fairmont library or $20/ family at the door.

The 2nd annual Mother/Son superhero event has been rescheduled to 4-6 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Fairmont Bethel Evangelical Free Church, with professional photo booth, bounce houses, face painting, games, special superhero guest appearances and Pizza Ranch pizza supper. Suggested donation ticket price is $15/family pre-sale from Fairmont Library or $20/family at the door.

Sponsorship donations may be dropped off at or mailed to Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce with checks made payable to: Kids Just Want to Have Fun and note of intent for donation.

Thank you for your consideration and we hope many of you join us for these events.

Laura Olsen

Fairmont

Living the good life

To the Editor:

For a healthy and vibrant community, we need to engage, recruit and retain young adults in the Martin County Area.

The Jan. 8 Bureau 14 meeting was focused on this issue. Fairmont Area Life was started by the Fairmont Chamber of Commerce and FEDA to figure out ways to bring more young adults to the area. There are many returning and many new to the community, and Fairmont Area Life continues to work toward increasing those numbers.

There was a panel consisting of six young adults. Two are new to the area and four are returning students. They are at all levels of employment – business ownership, management and entry level. Some are married with kids; some are single. This diversity helped give perspective on the positive and negatives of what it has been like for them. You know what the general consensus was? Our community is pretty great. Overall, they are all happy to be here. They feel safe; they have felt welcome, and are happy (or excited to) raise their families here.

They say the school systems provide great education and opportunity. They also said there is a healthy mix of industry, health care and recreation activities. We constantly hear negative things and this was so refreshing to hear directly from our target audience that Fairmont is a great place to live.

One said that when he was being recruited, the business owner took him for a drive around the town, showed him the lakes and took him to dinner at the Channel Inn, and he was sold on our community.

The panelists were asked if they knew the job they moved back for was an option for them while they were in high school. They all said no.

The panelists were asked what is not here that was at their previous location. Answers included: lakeside church all summer; wineries & breweries; more outdoor recreation (trapshooting, outdoor sports); youth athletics outside of school-sponsored; a recreation center; and more arts opportunities. A great quote from a panelists was: “Maybe it is just us that need to make more effort to find these activities. There is more going on that we know and if just sit at home every night we not going to find it.”

So maybe we just need better communication of all the activities going on here? Maybe we need to figure out a way to gather them all in one place? Efforts have been made on this – through social media, the Community Calendar and mailings, but maybe we need to change this and attempt to centralize it? What role should employers have in assisting with this?

We had a discussion on things that the panelists did not like. A major issue is housing options. While Fairmont has many houses for sale, they are not what many young adults are looking for. A majority of the houses need upgrades before they would be move-in ready. This issue has been discussed in the past and with our aging population will continue to be an issue.

Another wish for our community is a college. With Presentation College leaving, we are left with this void.

The issue of daycare shortage was brought up. This is not unique to our area and there are programs started to help with this.

We encourage employers to ask their applicants during their interview what they like doing during personal time. Maybe there are ways you can help them connect? As an employer, you can help sell the town along with the job. You can help introduce them to people and where to find activities.

We encourage newcomers and returning grads to reach out to the Fairmont Area Life committee with ideas and to help connect.

Our “Fairmont Area Life” initiative has been recognized and talked about at the state level as being successful and ahead of the curve in efforts of attracting and keeping young professionals in our community. We will continue to educate people of the job and recreational opportunities that are available. The next steps include more education for everyone on what this town has to offer, working with students and working with employers to help in recruiting and retention efforts. Thank you to all who attending this meeting and we look forward to seeing you at more events.

Sara Pierce, Linsey Preuss,

Chris Pierce, Ned Koppen

Fairmont Area Life Committee

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