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The end of the road for the Bookmobile, and more

I remember the first time my parents took me up to the top of the hill in our development to where the Sioux Falls Public Librarys Bookmobile was parked.

It was summer, so I think we either biked or walked. I hopped into the little truck, snooped around a little bit, and tripped and fell as I came out of the vehicle.

At that point, I didnt like the Bookmobile.

I was also a very clumsy child.

I grew to love the big, metal, book toting beast, however. In the end, I would ride my bike to the top of 51st Street and Lewis Avenue, grab a few books, toss them in the bookbag and then coast my way down the hill and all the way back home.

The Bookmobile in Sioux Falls is still running strong. In fact, its a converted school bus, painted white, that makes trips out to surrounding communities in the Siouxland (I should be careful with that, but thats what they call the area around Sioux Falls; Im sure the NCAA will want that changed some day) area, catering to those people who probably cant make it into the city to hit the Sioux Falls Public Library on a regular basis.

Fargo, meanwhile, has curbed the Bookmobile, while city leaders there continue to squabble about satellite locations, where the new library will be built (with taxpayer money) and is still recovering from a scandal that ran a head librarian out of town.

Its things like this that set the West Fargo-Fargo area back, instead of making it the vibrant community it should be. While some organizations, such as the Plains Art Museum, excel in taking their services to other places, others struggle to even serve the population within our communitys borders.

The fact is, if you want to enrich the lives of your residents, you need to do more than pave roads and plan housing developments. You need to provide quality-of-life items. Hopefully, that should be a major issue in the next election this June.

Sure, its just a library on wheels, but its a representation of where this area continues to come up short, especially with certain government-funded programs.

Thank goodness for the volunteer groups and arts organizations, from Plains Art to the Lake Agassiz Arts Council to many more, who are there to pick up the slack. After all, theyre making it work with much less input from taxpayer dollars.

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A little anecdote from my visit to the Metrodome for the NCAA Mens Sweet Sixteen in Minneapolis should lighten your week, even if you dont enjoy sports.

As my traveling companions and I made our way to the parking lot behind the Metrodome, George Mason University was in the midst of their big upset over the University of Connecticut.

As UConn scored its game-tying lay-up just before the final horn, we decided wed head into the dome and watch the end of that contest on the monitors in the concourse, because our game (Florida vs. Villanova) wouldnt start until the other one was over.

More than 20,000 people had the same idea. And since the game wasnt on inside the stadium, we all jammed the halls of the concourse area, and the cheers that went up after Mason won were reminiscent of Twins playoff games. It was quite the experience.

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A new space vehicle is being designed to take us back to the moon, and possibly to Mars.

While Im sure this wont happen in my lifetime, its kind of exciting. Yet, with all of the other things going on that are draining money out of this country like a sieve, shouldnt we think about putting this off for a little while?