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Homeland Committee considers a new future

Ork Dorken, chair of the Community Homeland Security Committee, stared through the cracked window as he waited for the town's electors to gather in the remodeled Bohemian Lodge Hall for an emergency meeting.

As Holger Danske shuffled through the double front doors, noisily slamming the stubborn one with the loose latch, Garvey pounded his old Coke bottle on a nearby chair and called the meeting to order. Ten residents were present and a few stragglers were still coming up the steps.

"The governor says that the state stands on the brink of building its own destiny and I think we should join him by creating a new destiny for our town," Ork declared boldly.

"What destiny?" barked Old Sievert from a dying armchair in the corner.  "We already had our destiny...50 years ago."

"Yah, the governor can talk because he's got 2000 oil wells but all we got is an abandoned railroad," complained Orville Jordan, the depot agent who stayed even though the railroad left.

"Build a destiny on that," he added as an afterthought

"Alert Officer Garvey Erfald was over in the LightsOut Saloon in Darby doing research the other day and found a story in a Ness newspaper about North Dakota having money to do something for abandoned, vacant and substandard housing," Ork explained.

"Well, that's us 100 per cent," Old Sievert noted. "Our town is abandoned, vacant and substandard."

Disregarding the side comment, Ork continued. "They're interested mostly in shovel-ready projects."

"Well, I can think of at least six places that have been bulldozer-ready for 20 years," Orville observed. "And four of them are still lived in."

"That's half the town," blurted Holger.

"They said that folks would be eligible who are below 50 percent the area median income," Garvey added.

"That would be everybody in town," Holger concluded.

"If we want to create a new future, we ought to consider selling the whole town as farmland for $3000 an acre and reorganize the town in that new 16-plex in Darby," proposed Josh Dvorchak.  Josh was a genuine futurist.

"The town covers about 20 acres, meaning we would raise $600, 000," Josh continued. "I heard they sold a town in Wyoming last month for $900,000 so there's a real market for old towns."

"I'll bet that town was no better than ours," Holger said, lending credence to the idea.

"If we're going to do something for the future, we ought to get one of those recreation grants from the Garrison Conservancy people," Little Jimmy suggested. "I see where Watford City and Williston have built some great playgrounds and parks."

"Personally, I like the playground idea better than messing with everybody's houses," Madeleine suggested. "We could have swings and teeter-totters ...."

"Wait a minute!" Holger interjected, raising his hand as if to stop a runaway mouth. "We don't have any swingers in our town. They've all swung.  The last swinger ran off with the lady mailman in 1951."

"Mailperson," Jimmy corrected.

"They were all mailmen in 1951," replied Holger firmly.  He hadn't surrendered just yet.

"And who needs teeter-totters?" asked Josh.  "Almost everybody in town is teetering or tottering. What we need mostly is places to sit -  benches, a lot of benches. That would be creating a great future."

"A bench park!" Ork exclaimed disgustedly. "This meeting has lasted too long."

            Ork rapped his Coke bottle on his table to adjourn the meeting.  

"Tell the governor we like the idea but he can count us out," Orville whispered to Ork as he headed for the door.