Rick’s Blog

There's not many places you can go where the topic of retail shopping is front and center. The big box stores are closing, malls are struggling to fill vacancies and small town retailers are wondering if they're next. The good news is that small town retail...

[caption id="attachment_1509" align="alignright" width="300"] Sandy Henneberg found the Alexandria Area Newcomers Club to be a great way to get connected in her new community.[/caption] (Editor’s note: Ten years ago Sandy and Gerry Henneberg were very busy with their careers and living in Crookston, Minn. As retirement...

I spent an afternoon in Barnesville this week. About 15 years ago, I bought a car in Barnesville. I've had lunch at the Eagle and the Purple Goose, I shopped at the hardware and antique stores. One lazy afternoon my wife and I traveled from Moorhead...

There must be a name for the phenomenon I have been experiencing lately. As I'm exploring west central Minnesota's Live Wide Open territory, I've been talking to people about their roots, why they ended up where they are and what they love about where they live. It's...

I'm a believer in the power of the arts as an economic development engine. You can look at the numbers: Studies show that more than $13 million in annual economic activity is generated by the arts in our nine west central Minnesota counties. Yet each of...

Have you ever been involved in community discussions where a group of citizens gather to do some community problem-solving or  brain-storming? It's a good way to learn more about your community and get involved. There are a number of ways to find these conversations. Check with your...

How passionate are you about your hometown? On a recent daylong journey to Alexandria, I engaged people in conversations about living, working and playing here; this area definitely has more than its share of advocates. Joining me on this daylong journey was Bridgette, the Pelican Rapids Schools...

In 2018, Live Wide Open gives a weekly reason why we love living in west central Minnesota. My favorite so far? "Embrace the Cold!" Anyone can do it. Just last week I ran into a fellow who was experiencing his first winter ever, having moved here...