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Welcome everyone! This is our space to get to know one another.

Please introduce yourself, tell us where in the state you’re from, and share one goal or vision you have for North Dakota's future.

I'm Erin and I work with the Citizens League.  We host CitiZing and hope it will be useful for us to discuss how to tackle some of the state's most pressing problems.  I'm not from North Dakota, but feel passionately about meaningfully involving citizens (that’s us!) in decision-making and policy processes.  I think dialogue, like on CitiZing and at public meetings, is the only way we’re going to be able to come up with the innovative solutions that we need for our communities and state to succeed.

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    What a great showing thus far from Rolette!  It sounds like jobs are a big concern; once those are in place families will be able to help communities thrive. Did I get that right? 

    What about in other parts of the state?  What are the goals or needs for your community? 

      Hi, I am Pat Beaver. My husband and I were born and raised in Rolette ND.  Our families have been here for generations.  Yes, we are involved in farming.  Everything is related to farming as far as jobs are concerned.  This could change with the expansion of the oil fields and wind energy in ND.  We have the potential to be on the fringe of the activity.  Maybe people looking for a clean enviroment or safe live style will relocated to our area.  We have to be open to new people moving in with new ideas.   

        I am Jennifer Wright and my family currently lives in Rolette, ND.  We find many positives associated with our move here.  At first, I was quite unsure about living in such a small town in a state that had a TOTAL population that was about 1/3 of that of the closest CITY we lived near.  We love Rolette, the people have been very welcoming to our family and the town itself offers many services that towns this small in Texas don't (for the most part because you only had to drive 30 miles to a larger place that did)

        When driving the other day, and thinking of all the towns in the area that were no longer, or the school/church closings it made me think about the long term future of Rolette.  My husband and I graduated from a farming community of 5000 in Texas and it did not offer anything as Lee Rahn said that would "encourage a return of educated young adults" and the town has seriously deteriorated. Even though it started out much larger than Rolette, it shows that if there is no planning for the future the community it will not be sustainable.

        With this said, I do want to say that part of what I love about Rolette now IS how small it is and it does have advantages.  However, it needs to remain stable or grow (slow and steady is best) to be able to keep the services and businesses that we have now and create more.   If those that graduate move on to college or other jobs and they do not return, it will deteriorate.  People may love the small town atmosphere and people here and wish to be a part of the community, but if there is no place for them to live and no job to be had to support their family, it won't happen.  I have a college education and right now it is useless.


        I always say that what can be good can also be bad.  As a town grows, and businesses create jobs and bring people in, you also have to be prepared to address social services issues, criminal justice issues, educational issues.  Is your town prepared for growth and what steps will be take to ensure that the values that are important to the town now will remain etc?  These things need to be mapped out in advance.  As other towns in ND are finding out with the oil industry, there is alot of money to be made for businesses, municipalities and families, but it is also taxing on the educational/law enforcement systems already in place etc.

        Towns people must be open to discussion and sometimes change.  Things can't be the same and then be different at the same time.  

          HI my name is Grace Brown and I am in Rolette as well.  I agree with Lee that we have no business to speak of but our small community is holdiing its own right now!  Trying to turn the community leaders to think outside of the box is one of our main projects. So I guess you can say that is my goal for North Dakota. That our small communities can look to the future and strive for a place in it! 

            My name is Lee Rahn and I live in Rolette, ND. Rolette is a town of 500 or so and has no industry to speak of other than farming. In these days farming does not employ additional workers, with the new machinery available to farmers now it is a one or two person operation. Our city is bounded on all sides by farms. There is no room for expansion for housing. We held our city conversation this evening and one major issue that we settled on is to develop a city plan for growth to bring in a source of revenue to the city and surrounding area and provide employment to those who would leave the city if none was available or encourage a return of our educated young adults for employment.

              I live in Detroit Lakes, MN but work in North Dakota on the North Country National Scenic Trail.  One vision for ND that I have is this...

              North Dakota will become a U.S. leader in alternative energy (ethanol from biomass, wind energy, etc), sustainable agriculture, and nature-based tourism (everything from birding; hiking; mountain biking; horseback riding; to waterfowl and big game hunting).

                Hi, all.  this is Jean Burkhardt, a consultant working with the Bush Foundation on this project.  I live in rural Minnesota, the county where I grew up. I have been working on rural development and community problem-solving for most of my life and am particularly excited about this new on-line tool that can help keep conversations going further.  Hope you like it too!