13 February 2016

always good ideas at the bottom of a coffee cup.

Today, River City Eatery hosted "Coffee with the Council," and I can't tell you how wonderful it is that the city council is offering the public a neutral space and time to sit down over coffee and have discussions about the important things facing our community.  This is a step in the right direction, folks.  I believe city politics should be transparent.  I believe city politicians should be approachable, and we should be able to have positive discussions about issues that will directly reflect the quality of life in our city.  I believe in an opportunity to be heard and understood. I believe the tough decisions we trust our city leaders to make should be guided by the voices and concerns of the people who live in our community.  Through Coffee with the Council, our city council members are now giving us, the people of this community, the perfect opportunity to be heard in a non formal, intimidation-free environment, and I encourage all community members to attend Coffee with the Council.  Below is a list of places and times for the upcoming year.

                                                              Coffee with Council
2016 Schedule

January 9                             Hy-Vee                                               Cooley & Johnson

February 13                         River City Eatery                               Jones & Joyce
March 12                             Hardee’s                                             Ray & Cooley

April 9                                 McDonalds                                         Johnson & Jones

May 14                                Hy-Vee                                               Joyce & Ray

June 11                                River City Eatery                               Cooley & Johnson

July 9                                  Hardee’s                                              Jones & Joyce

August 13                           Windom Country Club                       Ray & Cooley

September 10                      Hy-Vee                                               Johnson & Jones

October 8                            River City Eatery                               Joyce & Ray

November 12                      Hardee’s                                             Cooley & Johnson

December 10                      McDonalds                                         Jones & Joyce

01 February 2016


Where to start? Thank you to those who have requested more posts from me.  It is humbling to know I have listeners.  I'm truly passionate about Finding Windom, my community, the place I call home, and I need to remember to keep tracking my journey.  I know, my posts have been, well, absent.  Yes, River City Eatery is keeping me quite busy, family keeps me busy, and well, Finding Windom keeps me busy.  But let's get to the point...I haven't gone anywhere, I'm still working on making my community a better place, so let me start again to fill you in on what we've been up to during the void of my2cents.blogspot.com...

Finding Windom continues to work on keeping the appearance of our city a clean one. We adopted Highway 60/71 going through our city limits, which is the first group in the state of Minnesota to adopt within city limits.  How exciting!  I'm proud to see our "Adopt a Highway" signs on the edge of town.  In the fall of 2015, Finding Windom introduced "It's Hip to be Square" downtown revitalization initiative.  Since the inception of Finding Windom in 2010, one of our missions has been to revitalize our beautiful downtown Square, and we are finally on our way into making a big impact through small changes right now (watch for future posts on more details of our initiative).  Finding Windom continues to meet the first Monday of each month at River City Eatery and our downtown revitalization initiative meets every month as well.  Our next meeting is Monday, February 15th at 7pm at River City Eatery.

The first kick off event of "Its Hip to be Square" was the "Downtown Christmas by Candlelight."  Let me tell you, folks, this event was awesome! I was so impressed by amount of support and participation from our local businesses and organizations that I can't help but be optimistic about where this initiative is headed.  Holy cow!  On the cold, windy winter night of December 17th, our retailers and local businesses stayed open, along with several organizations such as the Historical Society, the public library, BARC, the Cottonwood County Courthouse, and the Windom State Theatre, until 7pm by candlelight.  Live reindeer, horse and wagon rides featuring a nightwatchmen who pointed out historical architecture around our Square.  Christmas carolers and greetings of "Merry Christmas" were plenty.  It was a storybook setting, a Gilmore Girls scene, it was a community coming together to gather and celebrate where the founders of Windom intended their community members to gather, around that beautiful courthouse, around the Square.  I think this event was the beginning of something wonderful, and I promise to keep you updated...

09 April 2015

"bin" doing some work.

It's no secret my posts have become few and far between, but I assure you, Finding Windom hasn't stopped working to improve our community with our ideas and most importantly our hands.  I can't tell you enough how good it feels to be a part of something so amazing.  I have to say there are many minds and hands at work here, and they should be recognized for being such positive, active members of our community.  Finding Windom is currently working on a number of projects right now (stayed tuned), but here is an update of the latest project Finding Windom has completed written by a Finding Windom member (THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED!!!):
"Finding Windom and the new Riverfest Fireworks aluminum can bin

Sometime during the Summer of 2014 at a Finding Windom meeting, the group was working on a list of projects to make Windom a cleaner and more attractive place to live and work.  Along with the Adopt-A-Highway and a variety of other projects, someone suggested the aluminum can collection bin that is used to generate  funds for Fireworks for RiverFest was not in the best of shape and should be replaced.

Dave Vaupel and Howie Davis offered to head up that project.  With input and information from Buckwheat Johnson, the first step was to locate a replacement corn crib that some farmer would donate.  The request went out on Swap Line KDOM and within a day or two we had offers of 4 or 5 bins that were ours for the taking.  After taking a look at all the choices we decided to accept a bin,  located near String Lakes and owned by Jerry Haberman.

 The choice was made on the basis of several factors:  How sturdy it appeared; How far from Windom it was; How accessible was the bin to being loaded on a trailer; How tall the bin was (because of low hanging wires over roads that would have to be traveled).

The bin from Mr. Haberman fit our needs best in every major area.  It was in good shape, the bottom ring of 3 could be removed and have a 12 foot high bin with a sound roof.  We could get to the bin with a trailer so it was fairly easy to load, and very, very important there was only one wire across the path that might give a 15 foot bin (including roof) on a 22 inch high trailer trouble.  The only problem at the time was that we started the project too late in the season and had to delay the move until spring of 2015.

We had wonderful cooperation from a number of people and agencies as well as information and input that was invaluable.

Miller-Sellner Equipment in Bingham Lake donated the use of a trailer, which we absolutely had to have to move the bin.

The Windom Street Department agreed to have one of their staff lift a wire over 16th Street or disconnect that wire located across the path of the bin if the bin did not fit underneath (it did fit underneath).

Others that helped on the day of the move (Wednesday, April 8) were Tom Meyeraan and Jerome Robillard (each of whom ran their own skid steer),  Buckwheat Johnson, Per Nielsen, Dave Vaupel, and Howie Davis.  Giving much need assistance were Sheriff Jason Purrington and Windom Chief of Police Scott Peterson, as well as members of their staffs.

Bob Lindaman, owner of Windom Pallets (and the land on which the bin has been located for several years), gave us a great deal of help and is willing to take possession of the old bin."
Finding Windom together,

06 January 2015

team windom.

Hello.  My name is Mari, and I am the founder of Finding Windom.  What is Finding Windom, you ask? Well, it all started right here at mari2cents.blogspot.com. It all kind of happened by accident, and let me tell you, I haven't done it alone.  Let me explain why I'm starting from the beginning. 

I very recently have been reading quite the discussion on one of my favorite places to get information, just like many, I'm sure.  Some information I enjoy reading, some I could do without, but none the less, it is the wonderful world of social media, and which I must admit has been quite the tool for some of my self proclaimed successes (when used positively of course) in my endeavors not only as an active member of my community, but as a local business owner as well.  This intriguing discussion can be found on the "What's Up in Windom" Facebook page.  A resource for community members to post information, to ask questions, and to be informed about all the wonderful things that happen in our wonderful community.  The discussion happens to be one of my favorite topics, bringing more businesses to our town, a topic that has been quite popular on my blog for the past 4 1/2 years.  Yes, you read that correctly, I have been writing in this blog for well over four years now, and I'd have to say I'm quite excited to see such discussions happening.  Now that there are over 120 some comments, the name Finding Windom seems to show up in many of these comments.  Wow.  Cool.  But there seems to be confusion as to what Finding Windom really is and if the "group" is still active and what it is Finding Windom does.

You see, I didn't intend for the Finding Windom as discussed on social media to happen. It all started with my love for writing, and my discovered passion for Windom. I would love for you to check out my very first blog posts, especially the very first post titled "poking inspiration with a stick."  This blog was intended to be my accountability, my art, and my commitment.  I thought the only person who would honestly read my blog, besides myself, was my mom.  But, nope, here we are folks.  20 seconds of insane courage and vulnerability has birthed what you know to be Finding Windom.  And the things that have happened with that courage.  That belief that I'm put here for some reason and why can't that be to take interest and pride in my community? To believe that I can make a difference by doing the things that I love in my community.  I mean, River City Eatery is my love and look what this small business does for our community, wouldn't it be great to have more!  I'm not saying everyone should go out and start a business, but I'm saying take all your ideas and opinions about what you're passionate about, what your opinions are regarding what we should have or what could be better, and do it.  Just talking has never changed anything.  you know, "breathe it all in, love it all out."

Which leads my to the "haven't done it alone part."  The others in the "group" Finding Windom are just normal people like me.  No superhuman powers, no extra hours in the day, no problems not as bad as others, just plain making the community a better place kinda human.  Thank you to those who possess the selfless, a quality that seems to disappointedly disappearing.   Thank you for your positive attitudes, your working hands, and willingness to change.  You should be celebrated for your actions.  Many hands make for a lighter load, and we must come together.  Together we have become Finding Windom and we are taking members daily.  Tell me, what team are you on?  I hope its team Windom.   

So here I am again, writing poetry, while regaining strength and positivity, remembering what it feels like to dream, to believe I alone can make a difference and what that would mean if we all believed it.  For "it is not the easy or convenient life for which I search, but rather live to the edge of all my possibility."  So tell me?  What "sucks" about that? 

16 October 2014

coffee talk.

I think it is time to tell a little story, so here it goes, just a play by play.

Tuesday.  Its a normal Tuesday at River City Eatery.  I leave for about 2 hours after the lunch rush to get some work done, you know, all that small business paperwork, marketing, paying bills, mailing bills, emails, researching recipes, planning events, reaching out to potential catering opportunities, compare food and drink costs, work on web presence, etc.  I come back to then start prepping for round 2, meaning dinner.  Literally, the first thing I noticed after walking into the kitchen was the large McCafe cup laying right on top of the trash.  I'm thinking to myself, what is that doing here? Weird.  And this is when the story gets pretty interesting.  My staff begins to tell me that Mr. Collin Peterson came to eat with some city leaders while I was out.  Cool, right?  I was pretty thrilled to hear he came to River City!  And this is when the story gets even more interesting.  They continue to tell me he ordered a coffee and food with the group he was with and when the server told him it would be about 10 minutes before he could get his specialty coffee because the espresso machine/steamer needed time to regroup (it has been a busy machine since the weather has been cooler), Mr. Peterson and his staff person left the eatery and came back with McCafe in hand to finish his meal.  Wait...what?!

I'm a small businesses owner, nothing really surprises me anymore, I've witnessed a lot of people do some crazy things.  I thought this was worth sharing because I found it kind of funny coming from a politician, and in all honesty, it was a bit frustrating, so I took a picture of the cup and hit post.  I wanted people, not just Mr. Peterson, not just democrates or republicans (it is not about politics FOR ME), but everyone who sees the post to really think about it for a second, you know, what this picture says and means.  It wasn't about calling out a democratic politician to me, I saw it as an opportunity for people to think about not only small businesses, but manners and etiquette, and how the choices we make affect others, you know? 

Next day (Wednesday).  Yeah, wow, I really didn't expect anyone to really care until 15,000 and counting Facebook views later and a phone call in the early evening from Rep. Rod Hamilton asking if its okay if Torrey Westrom comes to buy a cup of coffee tomorrow around 4pm.   And then at 8pm, the phone rings at River City Eatery while I'm mopping the floor after another day at the eatery. 

"River City Eatery, this is Mari," I answer. 

"Yeah, Mari, this is Collin Peterson."

Pause. Pause. Pause. All I could think was, this is a joke, right?   Pause. Pause. Pause (for dramatic effect, the pause felt quite long)

"Yeah, Hi!"

He continues to apologize, he says he didn't know what he was thinking, yada, yada, yada.  The food was really good, yada, yada, yada, the next time he is in town he would love to stop by and get a cup of coffee, yada, yada, yada.

"I really appreciate your apology. Thanks!"

I can respect anyone who has the ability to apologize, and I sure wasn't expecting that, so wow.

Today (Thursday).  Nervous as all get out trying to wrap my brain around what the heck just happened in the last 48 hours and anticipating a visit from Torrey Westrom.  We had a lovely chat, nice guy, small business owner, gets it, and bought some coffee.

And there you have it, a little bit of coffee talk.  The moral of the story...the choices you make, even the small ones, have a great impact on the world around you, choose wisely, my friends, choose wisely and don't forget to shop small and tip your servers.