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Be the light

June 29, 2016
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

There's a lot of darkness in humanity. I've been covering the court case, and when?I come home at night, I pretty much have been trying to relax, meditating, and either looking at pictures of cats or petting my real one, Flannery O'Connor.

There's also a lot of light in humanity, a whole gob of it right here in Emmet County.

Wednesday, the Emmet County Community Foundation granted $97.085 to 27 organizations. Among them, the helpers.

Have you seen the Facebook meme or post quoting Mr. Rogers, the PBS?children's show star, as saying, "When I?was a young boy and I?would see scary things on the news, my mother told me to always look for the helpers."?The Emmet County Emergency Responders Association, Seasons Center for Behavioral Health, Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and Wallingford Community Fire and Emergency Medical Services all received grants which will enable them to do their jobs better.

Another group of recipients were those who develop projects in the humanities. It's the arts and humanities that cause us to express life in a different way, and to tie the things that have happened to the things happening to us today. The Emmet County Historical Society, North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom, the Emmet County Nature Center Foundation and the Friends of Fort Defiance, (because where but nature has inspired so much of our great visual art, music, poetry, and more, and how much have the forces of nature contributed to the history of this part of the world?), and Fractured Atlas (I'll get to this in a minute)?all received awards from the Community Foundation to help create new expressions of how we live here.

I?believe the children are the future. I really do. In appreciation, Camp Foster YMCA, the Elk's Lodge, who helps so much with developing character in our youngsters, Estherville Lincoln Central district, Estherville Little League Association, Iowa College Access Network, Iowa Lakes Community College, and the Izaak Walton League all earned awards.

Not left out are the cities of Estherville, Ringsted, Armstrong and Gruver,as well as Emmet County,and the Ringsted Community Improvement Association, improving the places in which we live.

Then for our veterans, who have given us so much;?the VFWs were honored at the noon ceremony.

Which brings us to Fractured Atlas. If you've heard of it, you get a gold star, because despite their extensive work for artists, and the fact that at least two North Iowa artists sought their fiscal sponsorship (making us a 501(c)3 organization instead, of, for example, just me, doing my arts project). The other artist is Matthew Coley, the marimba virtuoso who has one of the few marimba ensembles maybe in the world.

The Emmet County one is me. Well, us. In my other, secret life I'm a playwright and while my stuff has been publicly read and performed in New York City and Boston, I've not found any love in my lifelong home state of Iowa, ever. Until now. It's a starting point grant and we need lots of everything to make it happen yet this summer or early fall. It's more than a show, too, it's a chance to do something good here in Emmet County.

I think, in addition to all these other good things happening with all the Emmet County Community Foundation recipients that this could be something we could really use right this moment.



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