The Prayer Rock

We finally had a sunny day arrive, and as it wore on, the northwest wind finally subsided enough to where it was actually calm by the end of the day. While on the phone with an associate today, I couldn’t help mentioning how much colder and windier this past March was, and later having it confirmed when opening my office’s gas and electric bill. After comparing the exact time frame of last year’s bill, my bill went up a staggering $100. I know the gas and electric rates went up, but they couldn’t have created that much of a difference. As we all know, it’s not just the cold that creates those high bills, because the wind is what really makes the difference. I’m sure everyone else has been complaining about their high bills, but unless we can get some sort of alternative power sources, we’re stuck with paying them.

After reading the online Globe Gazette news, I was not the least bit surprised by Mr. Sayles’ renewed his attack on the financial nightmare our City Council and Administrators allowed our hard-working taxpayers to get sucked into. The more I read about the so-called hold-ups with Rachie’s financing of “Hollywoodland” and hotel build-out, I’m thinking it’s beginning to look more like the makings of a slap-stick comedy where the players are doing and saying such outlandish things, they become laughable. Unfortunately I don’t consider it funny in the least bit, because we’ve been duped by a slick-talking snake oil salesman. I still remember Dan Latham standing up before the City Council some years ago and saying he was the mastermind behind it all. Well, guess what? He’s no longer living here in North Iowa.

Another player in that whole fiasco, was Brent Trout who’s no longer here because he must’ve figured he’d better take the first city administration job that came along, so off he flew to Topeka Kansas where he served as their City Manager up until the end of this past year. Hmm…He sure didn’t stay there long, and my guess the reason for his leaving, was he really didn’t want to be there in the first place, and used it only as a good exit-play out of Mason City. Sounds like he’s moving back East.

I recently read an article in the monthly newsletter which Mason City Chamber of Commerce sends out, and in it, there were high honors given to our illustrious Dr. Lala for spearheading the building of that arena the residents of Mason City will be on a financial hook, for likely generations to come. Now who in their right mind would throw that many millions of dollars at something they don’t even own? And to top it off, the chokingly high monthly rents our City has to pay to the guy who can’t even pay his taxes. Isn’t there something really wrong with that picture?

Now we come to Robin Anderson who’s the head of our Chamber of Commerce. After seeing her home go on the market, I had to find out what the deal was. Well, after it sold, I heard thru the grape vine that she’s retiring sometime in September and moving to their newly built home in Gulf Shores Alabama. I learned a number of years ago, that Robin Anderson has always been a “player” in what our City does and doesn’t do whenever it has anything to do with our Downtown. Even in our present age, there still remain king makers and breakers, and I would definitely place her in that category. Just two weeks ago I walked down to get a good look at the new music pavilion she pushed to have built onto that decaying Southbridge Mall. That was over a million dollar build-out which I would’ve given the “thumbs down” to if I had anything to say about it.

Now we have the “Walking Bridge to Nowhere” they’re resuming construction on which is another 2 million dollars of willful waste. I’m sure once it’s built, there’ll be all the many saying, “Who in the hell came up with the idea to build a walkway over a major highway that leads to a parking lot.” Oh of course, the “powers that be” are still sticking to their guns saying, “Hollywoodland and the hotel are gonna happen.” We’ll see, and if they don’t come to fruition, there may be a public out-cry like what happened when Rachie almost got a city in Ohio to fund him. Like Sayles said, there were many who were responsible either canned or voted out of office. Luckily that City managed to dodge the bullet, but un-lucky Mason City has already given Rachie over a million bucks and nothing to show for it, along with all those needless money pits they’ve erected since he arrived on the scene.

I’m not normally this bitter about all of it because I know there’s nothing I can do about it, but after reading Sayles’ article today, it all came rushing back. I will go to my grave insisting that hotel should’ve been built next to City Hall, but unfortunately that’s when the dark ideas of others did everything they could to stop it. I don’t place all the blame any given person, but rather the collective. When standing back far enough, you can get a glimpse of the whole picture, and especially when taking note of the timelines. Too coincidental if you ask me.

Nearly my entire day was spent working at paying bills, making journal entries, sending out emails, and scheduling appointments. When stepping outdoors this afternoon, I almost didn’t want to go back inside because of how pleasant it was. I swear I could smell Spring in the air.

Now I have to talk about something creepy-cool. As well you know, I do try to get out in the countryside as much as possible while the weather is nice. Well, the more I explore North Iowa, the more I’m finding interesting public areas which would normally go un-noticed by passersby. While out some days ago, I was compelled to walk down a small incline towards a meandering stream, and when I got there, the first thing I noticed were a number of deer tracks circling a big rock. The more I looked, the more it seemed terribly odd they’d do that. I snapped the above photo and named it “The Prayer Rock”.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Where grief is fresh, any attempt to divert it, only irritates.

Joe Chodur

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