PUBLISHER’S COLUMN: WONDER AS I WANDER
I have a lot of questions these days, and it feels exhausting.
In light of the announcement that Schmeckfest as we know it is once again on hold, I wonder when the big tasting festival will return to form, and what form that might look like. Will the big meal, served buffet style in recent years, draw enough to fill the Pioneer Hall dining room like it once did? Will musical theater, a touchstone of Schmeckfest, be part of the celebration? And with an ongoing concern about the volunteer labor force — a reality before the pandemic hit — is the two-weekend festival sustainable?
Like many, I also have questions about the proposed sports cooperative between Freeman Public, Marion and Freeman Academy. The task force that includes leadership from all three schools was to meet Wednesday night to continue the conversation and engage in what will hopefully be healthy dialogue. Anybody who has been paying attention knows that Marion and Freeman Academy weren’t exactly keen on the proposal put in front of them by Freeman Public and were expected to offer a counter proposal at Wednesday’s meeting.
What will that look like, and will it be enough to win the favor of Freeman Public? If so, this co-op is likely a done deal. If not, all three schools will simply continue to function as they have — Freeman playing as the Flyers and Freeman Academy and Marion as the Bearcats.
And if a deal doesn’t get done, I wonder if that’s the end of the conversation for good, or if we will be right back here in a year or two.
I also wonder about Freeman’s Main Street project. This week’s Courier went to press before Wednesday’s 2 p.m. bid opening for the capital project that would see the downtown roadway rebuilt from the Mr. G’s corner north to the North County Road so I can’t report here on what the bids look like. But many are expecting them to come in higher than the $3.9 million estimate. Just how much higher is the big question, and will anything be too high to prompt officials to pump the brakes on the project?
I sure hope not. Main Street is in such bad shape that a solution needs to be found at all costs. We’re talking about a key part of the city’s infrastructure that, if it doesn’t get fixed now, it’s only going to get worse and remain a significant blemish on Freeman’s complexion. But will the city council see it that way?
I wonder how much longer it’s going to be cold.
I wonder if that whopper of a winter storm is still on its way.
I wonder if the midterm elections are going to be as ugly as I fear.
I wonder if the Freeman Public boys will win another game this season, and if the Freeman Academy/Marion boys can actually get to the state tournament.
I wonder what kind of flowers to plant in spring …
I wonder this, I wonder that; I guess it never stops.
Jeremy Waltner is a husband to Stacey and Dad to Ella & Oliver, who wonders if he should try his hand at making homemade pasta.