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HEART OF STEELE

ALC students help put a shine on downtown
By
Joni Hubred, News Editor
Heart of Steele, Joni Hubred, ALC cleanup, Owatonna

My path to becoming a community journalist didn’t follow the typical route–no journalism school, no internship, I just dove in.

I mean that almost literally: My first job came after I walked into a small-town newspaper office and asked whether they used freelance contributions. Lucky for me, they did, and I ended up with a career I love.

Last week, Owatonna Public Schools Alternative Learning Center students, who are also traveling a non-traditional path, carried on a 20-year tradition of giving the city’s downtown a good spring cleaning.  

Working in small groups, they walked through parking lots and down streets, picking up trash along the way. They cleared parking lots, picked cigarette butts out of planters. These kids even swept dirt off the sidewalks.

As if on cue, a hard rain blew through after they finished and washed everything clean.

While this is an amazing way for kids to learn what it means to have civic pride, I was also struck by how important the annual event is to the community. We all know what it’s like to walk through a downtown–or any neighborhood–strewn with trash.

Not a place where you’d want to spend time.

Downtown Owatonna is getting ready for its close-up, that time of year when so many great events showcase the area. Please join me in thanking the Alternative Learning Center students who volunteered their time and energy to help put a shine on the heart of our community.

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