Editorial....No county is an island unto itselfMore and more these days, we are seeing how life outside Carlton County has a real and direct impact on our people, our lives and our livelihood. When events and happenings in adjoining counties and states experience growth or crisis, we here in Carlton County experience the ripple effects in many real and powerful ways.
More and more these days, we are seeing how life outside Carlton County has a real and direct impact on our people, our lives and our livelihood.
When events and happenings in adjoining counties and states experience growth or crisis, we here in Carlton County experience the ripple effects in many real and powerful ways.
The recent fire at the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell is a good case in point. In addition to the tragic death of one of the mill workers and the injuries incurred by four others, the unexpected shutdown of the mill left a small town not all that different from Cloquet in a major economic tailspin, since the lion’s share of its jobs have come from the mill for several generations.
And while we here in Carlton County couldn’t help but feel empathy for that small central Minnesota community, we also feel some very real pain from their loss – many of our local loggers have depended on the timber market at the Verso mill for a portion of their livelihoods. Unless and until that mill is up and running at full strength once again, there will be less and less wood being used in the state every day. Coming at a time when the logging industry is already struggling, that’s bad news for Carlton County, just as it is for Sartell.
On the up side of things, at the time of that very same fire, Verso and the community of Sartell received support and assistance from some 70 different fire departments from around the state in combatting the blaze. Carlton County’s own Ken Klatt of the Cloquet Area Fire District was called upon to provide safety management services during the night following the explosion that ignited the fire. As such, he shared his estimable talents at situational analysis and incident command to make certain that firefighters and others at the scene were safe and secure in their efforts.
Likewise, Anita Rasmussen, economic development director for the city of Sartell – knowing that we have a paper mill here in Carlton County – called upon Carlton County Economic Development Director Pat Oman to assist her with researching state and federal grant opportunities to fund the necessary equipment and technology to get the Verso mill back up and running as soon as possible.
Finally, at this week’s meeting of the Carlton County Board, Oman spoke of how the recent boon in the oil fields of North Dakota has caught the attention of local industries and manufacturers interested in prospecting for potential markets for their products in a region that is growing and expanding at an exponential rate of speed and profitability. Perhaps some of our county businesses will succeed in securing a “piece of the action” and help provide needed goods and services to an area that is struggling to keep up.
Carlton County has much to be proud of in its own right, but as the rest of the world becomes smaller and smaller through the advent of ever-evolving technology and emerging markets, it pays to bear in mind that Carlton County is only as strong – and as vulnerable – as its neighbors.