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Street Talk

Working Together Ensures Quality Of Life

By Alexe van Beuren

Once upon a time in the state of Colorado, there was a small town. Actually, there still is a small town– due entirely to the town’s own efforts.

After I heard about it on the radio, I had to find out more – because Walsh sounds a lot like Water Valley.

It’s a small town.

The nearest major town is a half-hour away.

And it used to be a railroad town.

Couldn’t many of our citizens make this statement? “For a place this small to survive, it requires lots of people to step up and wear different hats.” (David Greene, reporter.)

That’s why Ron Hart juggles the demands of Chamber and of Midtown Auto.

And that’s why Dolly Morrow both works as a teacher in Walsh and as the founder of the local Arts Center, something she might not have done in a larger community.

“You get all bogged down by the bureaucracy,” she said. “The ‘us’ and the ‘we’ is much more powerful.”

But what really interested me was how the town reacted when its sole grocery store decided to close.

Instead of driving to the big town a half-hour away, residents got together and formed a coop, selling shares for $50 apiece.

Last year the grocery generated more than a million dollars and has been called “the engine of the small town’s economy.”

“Once the dollars leave,” said Rick Mills, the chair of the grocery store’s board, “They don’t come back. They’ve gone to the city and that’s where they’ll stay. People from the city don’t come to Walsh to do their grocery shopping – or any other shopping, for that matter.”

It is always a powerful thing when a community works to ensure their own quality of life. By keeping that grocery store going, the residents of Walsh are making sure they have a real town to live in –  as opposed to a zip code.

Here in Water Valley, there are so many people doing the same thing. The Town and Country Garden Club. The Booster Club. Joe Newman, who seems to handle just about everything that ever comes up, from library renovations to banner hanging.

Thank y’all.

In that spirit, I am going to ask you as a Water Vallian to do three things:

• Fill out our Consumer Survey (on the home page of this site as a PDF file which can be printed) and mail it in or drop it by the office.

• Volunteer for Better BackStreet – the program we’re doing to clean up, landscape, and repaint the Duncan Street side of our Main Street merchants’ buildings. See our ad (also in this paper) and sign up for a shift.

• Help WVMSA figure out our promotion strategy by going to and voting on this week’s poll.

Have a great week in the Valley!

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