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Grateful for ‘normal’

As we approach the upcoming holidays, we are reminded of how we have so much to be thankful for in 2021.

Last year at nearly this same time, Gov. Walz had just issued a 4-week dial back period in which in-person social gatherings with individuals outside your household was prohibited (Our very own Police Chief Jim Marshall had to grapple with being asked –“are you going to enforce social gathering violations?); bars and restaurants were ordered to take-out and delivery service only; gyms, fitness studios, entertainment venues, event spaces, and similar establishments were closed; and adult and youth sports were also eliminated.

Many schools were either in distance learning or in hybrid learning situations. The Minnesota State High School League had just canceled the remaining football, volleyball seasons–Marshall VB swept New Ulm 3-0 to win the conference championship as their last match of the season and the #8 ranked Marshall football team beat #4 ranked Jordan 14-10 in section football to finish their season. Most importantly, for most of us, COVID meant we were not able to spend Thanksgiving with our extended family or visit loved ones not living near us.

This year, we can enjoy dining at bars and restaurants, visit gyms and movie theaters, visit the Lyon County Museum and their wonderful new exhibit on coming home from World War II, enjoy MAHA Hockey/open skate at our Red Baron Arena and most importantly we can safely be with our families.

Recent visits to local businesses throughout the city has revealed improved interior and exterior facades and an eagerness to help customers without limitation as was the case in 2020. Two vacant spaces on Main Street have recently been filled-Graceful Marilyn Quilt Shoppe and the Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce. Across the street, City Hall shines with eminence and it is certainly good to be back in Downtown Marshall.

Businesses are in fact doing better than last year, but the need to support small businesses is still important, after all, you are supporting your friends, family, and neighbors.

COVID and booster shots are available as evidenced by a recent stop at the local grocery store where the busiest area was not the toilet paper aisle, but the pharmacy where appointments for the shots have been filling the seating area.

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the immeasurable value of our health, and Avera Marshall still has to react which has meant continued pressure to meet the demands for health care. However, the former Avera Carlson Street Clinic will once again be open in January of 2022 to help alleviate space and patient needs. We can all be appreciative of this space being used once again.

Last year the term “new normal” were the buzz words, but honestly, it feels like this year we are just plain old “normal”, and for that we are grateful.

— Sharon Hanson is the city administrator for the city of Marshall

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