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Letter: Survey shows that there’s a conversation to continue

I have lived in Dickinson for nearly all of my 30 years, and it stung a bit to read in The Press the perception that our quality of life has suffered, so I began a “top 10” list of improved facilities and services that are new to our community or are slated to be completed shortly.

Air service to Minneapolis certainly belongs on my list, and so does Menards. I include the Biesiot Activities Center and Prairie Rose Elementary, a building that I was fortunate enough to share this spring. My list has an expanded West River Community Center, and will soon include a new hospital, an outdoor waterpark and a new movie theater. My personal list reaches 10 when I add a favorite new restaurant and hotel events center. I also must include my professional mentor and his family, who moved to our community approximately five years ago. I hope others can relate to some of these items.

For most of us, the boom has delivered a mixed bag. We can no longer reliably drive across town in 10 minutes, and our cost of living has increased. My wife and I entered a challenging housing market for the first time in 2013. Our budget is tight, but we are satisfied with our outcome.

We generally feel safe in our neighborhood, though a recent confrontation startled me. While out for a walk, a young man in an out-of-state pickup truck pulled up next to me, rolled down his window, extended his middle finger and continued driving at my walking pace. He had been exhibition driving, and he appeared to be under the influence. I was frozen in fear until I was rescued by three neighbors and their intimidating dog. I should note that these neighbors are also new to our community. The man sped away and I jogged home at my admittedly slow pace. We had plenty to discuss at home.

I must confess that I was one of many who completed the survey anonymously, but I feel strongly that these conversations are the most productive when we attach our identity to our thoughts.

Let’s continue these conversations in a constructive manner at our water coolers, coffee shops, kitchen tables and places of worship. In my case, the conversation will also continue in my social studies classroom. We certainly have no shortage of material.

Carter Fong, Dickinson