Light It Up!

Today, we lit the traditional city Christmas Tree in clock tower park.

What a great community event for the family. Thanks to the Boy Scouts for serving hot chocolate, the St. John’s Choir for the music, Windstream for the location, and ACT and Rick Seagraves for tree and light donation.

Well done.

ACT Field to Feast Farm Dinner: A Unique Fire Hall Experience

On Saturday, we attended ACT’s (Annandale Area Community Team) 2nd Annual Field to Feast Farm Dinner event. Around 300 people showed up to partake in a unique dining experience featuring fresh organic ingredients from local farms and vendors.

Field to Feast at Annandale Fire Hall
Field to Feast at Annandale Fire Hall

It was intended to be held outdoors on Oak Street in front of the park pavilion, but was moved to the fire hall due to questionable weather.

Field to Feast servers at Annandale Fire Hall
Field to Feast servers at Annandale Fire Hall

Throughout my experiences traveling to other communities being a Lion, a DaBand Member, or just an event goer, I noticed that many communities use their fire hall as a main event location. I personally have attended many a beer garden, fish fry, and pancake breakfasts at a local fire halls. I don’t know what it is, but there is certainly an allure of attending an event at a fire hall.

In my opinion, it was really cool to have a large event here. It gave the attendees enough space to enjoy a fine evening in addition to providing an opportunity to see our fire hall, the equipment it houses, and the people who manage it.

Thank you to Sandy Holthaus and the rest of the ACT team for creating a unique event for Annandale. Great job and I look forward to next year.


The Annandale Girl Scouts Step Up

Annandale Girl Scouts at Work

Today I had an opportunity to help paint the hockey rink with the Annandale Girl Scouts. It was great to see so many young volunteers stepping up to better our community.

Annandale Girl Scouts Organizing
Annandale Girl Scouts Organizing

Even better, it was great to see so many volunteers and parents encouraging the kids and even cracking the whip to teach them the value of hard work.

This is another example of what makes Annandale great.

Check out the Girl Scout Troop #15002 Facebook page here.


National Night Out 2017

National Night Out in Southbrook

I attended the National Night Out get together in Southbrook tonight. This is truly an amazing evening where the community gets an opportunity to meet each other. A neighborhood that knows each other is certainly a safer neighborhood.

Annandale Fire Department at National Night Out 2017
Annandale Fire Department at National Night Out 2017

Thank you to Police Chief Jeff Herr and Fire Chief Dale “Duey” Machovsky for bringing your crews out.

Click here to learn about National Night Out

Massive Appreciation for Annandale Police Department

Annandale Police Department

Today I had an opportunity to attend a live fire exercise with Council Member Matthew Wuolett. Unfortunately, the general public has no clue how our police officers prepare for situations that we hope will never come. However, I am proud to have an outstanding police force that does just that.

Thank you APD.

Memorial Day Speech 2017

Dwight's Memorial Day Speech 2017

By Dwight R. Gunnarson
Delivered at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Woodlawn Cemetery

I am honored and humbled to be up here with so many great veterans and so many great Americans. Thank you for all of you being here today. You honor our fallen heroes simply with your presence.

Most people today associate Memorial Day with the unofficial start of summer. A time linked with opening up cabins, doing yard work, and throwing parties. However, Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in our country’s armed forces. This holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

A big part of how I interact with people whether it is socially, politically, or professionally, I often ask myself why? Why do people think they way they do and why do they make the choices they do in certain situations. Why? For what? For what reason? For what cause? For what purpose? When it pertains to the average American, you and I, the answer to why people make the important choices they do is pretty clear. It’s to advance themselves financially, to elevate their class, or to gain more social power to attract opportunities to better the lives for themselves and their families, and those they care about. Makes sense, right?

I believe the act of making these types of choices has a direct correlation to an American ideal we don’t hear much about any more. And that ideal is called the American Dream.

According to Wikipedia, the American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals (democracy, rights, liberty, and equality) in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.

As Americans, I think we can all buy into this, right? We use our freedom of choice to make our own American Dream a reality. We make choices to pursue a life of unchallenged happiness and prosperity. And the more of us that work hard for that dream, the more America prospers for all. The American Dream is the ideal promised to us by the very foundation of what America has been built on.

Now, why do people volunteer? Why do we as Americans serve our own people whether it’s in a volunteer organization, educational position, or any other way to unselfishly donate time and resources to help people other than ourselves? I believe we as Americans volunteer to help others achieve their own American Dream. Volunteerism is a noble act that every American should participate in.

Digging a little deeper in thought, I now ask the question, why do some Americans choose to courageously volunteer and serve our country and its citizens in a way that quite possibly results in experiencing some of the most horrific experiences any human can endure. I am talking about making a single decision… to serve your country… to defend your country… to go to war… knowing full well that a possible outcome is the ultimate sacrifice anyone can make.

Granted, there have been some stressful times in our country’s history where some of our military heroes did not have a choice to serve, but they still made the choice to fight with courage and honor for their fellow soldier and ultimately their country.

Why?… Why?… Why do some Americans choose to serve in our armed forces and put themselves in harms way knowing full well that their own American Dream will be put on hold and possibly be extinguished?

The answer is simple. They do it, unselfishly, to protect the opportunity for all of us, you and me, to strive for our own American Dream. I believe it’s just that simple.

On a single day, today, where we all come together to remember our fallen heroes who have made that choice and paid the price, our price, with their lives, how best can we as ordinary citizens honor those who have sacrificed their lives and their own American Dreams?

We honor them by not only appreciating WHY our fallen heroes made that choice to serve, but respecting what they have sacrificed and by doing our part to push ourselves a little bit harder, each and every day, to not only achieve our own American Dream, but to pay it forward and serve others through volunteerism to help them achieve theirs.

So while we are enjoying the rest of this beautiful weekend and holiday, let it be a reminder that if it wasn’t for the dedication and sacrifice made by our fallen heroes to protect the ideal of the American Dream, none of us would be here today to honor them.

Thank you.

Downtown Renovation Open House

It was a good turn out at the Downtown Renovation Open House last night. It appears there was a consensus on what the businesses and the public would like to see for the downtown. This includes interest in possibly removing the canopy system and incorporating a decorative awning system, trees and shrubs, street furniture, decorative pavement, additional signage opportunities, and other amenities. These are all great ideas. I believe the steering committee has a clear direction to work towards.

Based off of the discussions, some businesses want a grand theme and complete overhaul and some businesses want nothing to be done and to be left alone. I believe the correct solution is somewhere in the middle.

Whatever the final solution is, the final goal is clear. We need to work towards keeping our downtown iconic in look and feel while creating an amazing and pleasant environment for the businesses to grow and thrive.

So, that’s what we are going to do. Wish us luck!

Thank You Tim Thone

Tim Thone

Last night the story broke that Tim Thone will be purchasing the Heinrich house and demolishing the structures by Christmas. Mr. Thone has been impacted by this story since the day it began many years ago and felt compelled to do something to provide an opportunity for all involved to heal. Mr. Thone is truly someone with a big heart and proof that there are still people out there ready to step up, for whatever reason, and help make things right.

On behalf of the council, I would like to thank Mr. Thone and his team for providing this gift not only for the community but for all involved.

The question that remains is what will the city do with the property. The answer at this time is absolutely nothing. There will be plenty of time in the future to determine what happens to this property, but what is important now is that we be patient and take some time for the healing process to continue.

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