by Rick Schultz
St. Joseph mayor
My father and mother were born in 1929 and 1931 respectively and lived through the post-depression recovery. They both lived, worked and participated in World War II, in which everyday life across the country was dramatically altered. Food, gas and clothing were rationed. Communities banded together for blood drives and other needed supplies to help build the armaments. Women were thrust into the work force as electricians, welders and riveters in defense plants. They also experienced the post World War II boom, a period of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity.
Today we are met with a similar crisis of global proportions, the likes of which most of us have never experienced. With the amount of news coverage, countless news briefings and transparency, I still struggle with confusion, anxiety, fear and frustration.
In the first week of lockdowns for this historic pandemic, families are struggling to adjust to a new reality. Kids are home. There are not any hectic calendar of events or practices to attend. There is time to eat meals and play together. Parents may be finding a new role as teacher, a job they may have had no training for. They’re also trying to manage their own anxiety, as their kids, generally social creatures, may be cut off from friends.
I see the silver lining in all of this, families spending quality and quantity time with children that would never normally be allowed with their over-scheduled lives. I see a diverse community enjoying their time off, even as there is a need to know.
I struggle myself, with not knowing when this will end, how we will recover, what will recovering look like. I’m sure many of you do also. Sometimes, to some end, optimism, hope and tenacity are the only means for getting through any challenge, however dire it may seem. As a community, we don’t turn on each other. We turn toward each other, and we help…at a safe distance of course.
Find your rainbow. Look for the positives. There hasn’t been a time like this when the entire planet is focusing to save the weakest, the oldest and the most infirm among us. We are finding new ways to communicate, to work, to socialize, to stay connected during this time.
I really appreciate the residents’ support and patience as we all work through this pandemic. I thank the City Council for their leadership and partnership in ensuring the public is protected now and in the aftermath.
I will continue to focus on providing essential city services and ensuring they flow as smoothly as possible for our residents and businesses. I am working with Gov. Walz’s administration, state agencies and our legislators and will take any local action necessary to ensure proper safety and security measures are in place. I, along with the City Council and city staff, are committed to ensuring youth, seniors and small businesses are looked out for during these challenging times.
I am following Gov. Walz’s executive orders and will comply with the next set of mandates.
• Effective Friday, March 27, at 11:59 p.m. until Friday, April 10, a two-week stay at home order will be in place. This limits movement outside homes beyond essential trips for two weeks.
• Parks are open; however, St Joseph has included park playground equipment in the restrictions as these areas are most susceptible to close contact, without safe distancing guidelines.
• Closure of bars, restaurants and other public accommodations under Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 remains in effect until May 1 at 5 p.m.
• Distance Learning Period begins on March 30 and will last until May 4.
While it is extremely uncomfortable and highly unorthodox, these measures are meant to secure better availability to needed medical equipment and services for those that need it most.
When the governor makes the decision to reopen small businesses, including the food, beverage and entertainment industries, the council and I will be ready to help in any way we can. The Economic Development Administration, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will be available to figure out best courses to move forward as we recover.
I appreciate the efforts of our city workers, emergency services staff and business. Our community is resilient and committed. The city is adapting and will continue to adjust, so we can continue to fulfill our commitment to the community. We will all get through this Covid-19 pandemic together. It is this generation’s challenge…we must come together.
We have links on City of St. Joseph’s website, showing all up to date COVID-19 updates:
In addition, we are available to answer your calls. City offices are being staffed, with someone available to answer your calls. If there is some question you are not able to find an answer, please call city offices: 320-363-7201.
And of course, I am always available to talk, exchange email or text to help anyone through this event.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
If my mother were alive today, she’d say something like, “what’s everyone getting so excited about?” What we need to control is the panic…we’re going to be fine.
Thank you. God Bless.
Author: Heidi L. Everett
Heidi joined The Newsleaders Oct. 30, 2020 after being a fan of the St. Joseph edition for 15 years. When she is not sharing local news and stories, she is a professor of strategic communications at St. Cloud State University.