While most of us have to stay home during this corona virus crisis, or at least work as much from home as we can; let us take a moment to appreciate all those who don’t have that option -- those businesses, employers and workers who continue to operate as either “essential businesses” or performing an “essential function.

First, let us appreciate all the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals -- and not just the ones who are the front line treating and testing sick people who may be infected with the virus. We also appreciate all of those who are keeping us healthy during this period, to include paramedics, pharmacists, counselors and other mental health professionals, eye doctors and dentists -- because health issues don’t go away in a crisis like this. Now, more than ever, we need you.

Next, let us honor all those who are keeping us safe -- police officers, sheriff’s deputies, military personnel, firefighters and all of the others who keep the people and allow the judicial process to take place. That also includes judges, public servants, and yes, even lawyers. We know that even if in an age of social distancing, you still have respond to domestic violence calls, enforce the law, put out fires, and protect the most vulnerable. A vital part of democracy is due process and treating those who get into trouble as innocent until proven guilty. You can’t shut that down, not even in a pandemic.

Thirdly, we must recognize those businesses and individuals who are getting us fed and stocked with we need to get by -- including grocery stores, hardware stores, other retailers, and truck drivers and manufacturers who are keeping them supplied. We regret that the retailers especially, have seen the worst of humanity in a crisis like this, who have treated them and other customers rudely, horribly and with disrespect. You don’t deserve that, and we want you know there are many more who appreciate what you’re doing than don’t during this time of crisis.

Fourthly, we want to recognize those workers, utilities and government departments that are keeping utilities we need while we’re stuck at home -- from gas and electric to water, sewer, telephone, Internet and cable or satellite TV. Being stuck at home would not be pleasant without these services that not only keep the lights on and the toilet flowing, but also keep us entertained and connected with those loved ones we can’t visit right now. We also appreciate those keeping the streets and parks and other public amenities maintained.

Fifthly, we want to give our teachers kudos for so quickly responding with a plan to continue education while our kids are stuck at home. We know you share our sentiment that this isn’t ideal, but we appreciate you stepping up. Guiding and teaching kids from home through an Internet connection is going above and beyond. It will be an adjustment for everyone, but we’re pleased to see you’re finding clear and creative ways to get that accomplished.

Lastly, we want to thank those businesses and others who are able to and choosing to provide amenities that the governor’s stay-at-home order allows, but not everyone may consider essential. That includes repair services; restaurants who offer carry-out, drive-through or curb side service; religious services; and liquor stores, to name a few. These services will help ease the stress of having to stay at home. And thank God liquor stores are essential. Without alcohol, some of our loved ones stuck at home with us might not make it through the month. We know there are many others who we haven’t thought of who are still working -- thanks for keeping things running.

We also want to let those of you who are unemployed, furloughed or laid off that we share your frustration and we appreciate your understanding during this time of crisis. By staying home and not working, you are saving lives.

This is a time we need more than ever to build each other up. Do what you can to do that -- because saving loved ones will depend on how long we can keep this up.

-- Ryan D. Wilson

Adding pickle ball  court will do more than just bring families together

Common Ground Ministries pastor Bob Stratton told they Clay Center City Council recently that the organization is all about bringing families together.

So while the idea of building a pickle ball court might seem to come out of left field for a non-profit Christian organization; it isn’t for Common Ground given, their mission.

We don’t know anything about pickle ball, except that it’s a lot like tennis except that it’s played on a smaller court with funny looking paddles and a whiffle ball with slightly different rules. We don’t doubt that this recreational sport has taken off among the retired community and among kids -- as it looks exactly like the kind of fun kids and retired people would love to get into.

Because we don’t know much about the sport, it’s tempting to be skeptical whether such a court would actually be used. There are quite a few things at Dexter Park that were built at Dexter Park with a great deal of enthusiasm that don’t see a lot of use after the newness wore off.

But in this case, we think the idea is worth the gamble, mainly because parks and rec. superintendent Pat Hayes said there’s so much interest, he considered arranging for a temporary court to be set up inside the Armory. That fact coupled  with the sport being taught at the middle school tells us that pickle ball really is a growing trend.

While neither the city nor Common Ground have yet committed to the idea of building a pickle ball court, we are certain it will sail through both organizations without a hitch. Common Ground has already done the ground work and found a way to build to court at minimal cost to them or the city. There is some maintenance cost and time required to set it up, but we can’t imagine that it would be much more than mowing the grass.   

Any idea to get kids and seniors moving in a healthy activity is worth a shot, and this one might even get seniors and kids to interact with others. That’s always a good thing.

We commend Common Ground for coming up with the idea. If funding becomes the reason they aren’t able to build the court, we hope donors back the idea or organization picks up where they pick off. The businesses and individuals willing to donate materials, funds and labor to get this project done should likewise be commended for supporting this great idea from the ground up.

And we urge the city to likewise support this grassroots effort. The location they’ve selected in Dexter Park is a perfect place to showcase just how progressive and family-oriented this town can be.

-- Ryan D. Wilson