I have been trying to write this post since early November. At first I hoped to somehow tie it in to Veterans Day, then Thanksgiving, and now here we are in 2019 and I am just now sitting down to try and craft the words into something that will hopefully make a difference. And no, I do not plan on taking aim at my procrastinating in 2019. I guess I just needed the ideas to marinate in my head a little longer.
Since I began working at the DCBA 18 months ago, I have seen our community with a new set of eyes. I look at things in a new way because I constantly need to ask myself, “How can I help this business or that business?” The simple fact is that if everyone in our community could just make an effort to change a few behaviors, it would make life in our small town so much better.
In searching for the right way to begin, I discovered that using the morals of some of the ancient Aesop’s fables would be an appropriate way to express these resolutions simply:
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop
There are two reasons I am asking you to please remember this one.
First, let’s consider some of the things I have seen on social media with the vision of a chamber director. I am shocked to see how mean people are. Hiding behind social media, I have seen so many people become bullies. It amazes me how, when there is an event in town, so many people will complain about it before the event is even over. There are too many people who feel it is their obligation to be a professional complainer.
Can we not turn that around? Surely each day, or at the very least on a weekly basis, something good happens in this town either to you or with you as a witness. Can we not rush to tell people about these things on some of the Dunnellon community social media sites? We even have a special area on our website for testimonials https://www.dunnellonchamber.com/testimonials/
Listen, I know that not everything is perfect in this town. Nothing is perfect. But please, find something positive. And tell the world.
My second reason for choosing this one is because we need more people to volunteer in our community. These acts of kindness go a long way. Think of how many ways it benefits the community when you volunteer. Because of my job, I do a lot of volunteering in the community with different groups. If we want to continue to have great events in our community, we need to add some new troops to our forces. It would not take more than a few hours a month to really make a difference.
Can you commit to volunteering to help at a community event, at your church, at the little league field, or to keep our community cleaner or a safer place for kids? If you are interested but are unsure where your efforts are needed, please stop by, call or email me and we will find a place for you. A big thank you to those who are already helping!
“Every truth has two sides. It is as well to look at both sides before we commit ourselves to either.” —Aesop
Again, with the eyes of the chamber director I see a lot of people talking about what used to be Dunnellon. Unfortunately for some, we will not be returning to the Dunnellon of 40 years ago, 60 years ago, and hopefully for all of us, the Dunnellon of the 1890s which did put us on the map, but was a time when there were shootouts in the streets.
I am in no way saying I disapprove of the Dunnellon of the past. It was fascinating. There are many reminders of it. If you have never visited the old train depot, I suggest you do. I love that place and every time I visit, I see an image in my head of this old town and how exciting it must have been when the train stopped there. Another glimpse of times past is our Christmas Parade. There are not many places that can still pull off a small town Christmas parade. But we do, and I am thankful.
All of us, and our town as well, will continue to grow over time. In turn, some of what once was will become nothing but memories. It is safe to say our town has been discovered. You can see this every summer day if you dare to make a trip to the KP Hole.
You cannot stop all growth. Conversely, you cannot hope for some fancy chain restaurant and expect them to come here if our size remains the same. (Actually, I do want to take this time to encourage you to visit some of the mom-and-pop restaurants in our community—it’s our small businesses who are contributing the most to our community. And you would be surprised at the variety of offerings we already have here, too).
I want to encourage you to educate yourself on what is happening in the community. We need to consider many opinions in order to experience the smart growth necessary to sustain our town. Attend the city council workshops and meetings. Get over to a county meeting every so often as well. We have a unique situation here in our corner of Marion County in that we have a river to protect and a town which has distinctive traffic issues due to the fact that two of the town entrances cross rivers. Learn the truth about how these things will be addressed in the future and let your voice be heard during the decision making process.
“Slow and steady wins the race.” —Aesop
So getting back to the traffic issues, I hear a lot of complaining about slow drivers, but almost daily I see accidents in the same places. The truth is we all just need to slow down and pay attention. It won’t be long before DOT figures out that we have too many people traveling the roads for the speed limits to remain what they are. Allow yourself an extra ten or 15 minutes so you can arrive safely and stop playing with your phone when you drive. I have been meaning to contact DOT myself because while we wait for the widening of North Highway 41, we most definitely need turning lanes at SW 56th Lane (Dollar General) and at SW 54th Street (the giraffe), and a new traffic signal at Rainbow Lakes Boulevard. We need these now.
So, once more, for those of you who just didn’t want to read this whole thing:
Educate yourself about changes coming.
Slow down and pay attention.
Happy New Year!