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Q: What makes Worthington a positive community to live, work and play in?

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187
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Q: What makes Worthington a positive community to live, work and play in?
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

Daily Globe reporter Julie Buntjer posed the above question to 10 Worthington residents. Here are their responses:

Nancy Vaske

Manager, AmericInn


"The greatest asset that Worthington has is the people. We all come from many different backgrounds and each share a history that is not the same. One thing that we all share is a love for our families and wanting the best for them.

Worthington has stepped up to the plate and provided wonderful opportunities for many people. Our school system is one of the best in the state, city parks are lovely, a wonderful choice of businesses to shop at. That's why we are a cut above the rest!"

Ron Wood Worthington City Councilman; past Minnesota West president:

"When one thinks of Worthington we think of all the natural and man-made amenities available that make it a great place to live. However, they would not be so wonderful if over the decades we did not think as a community about what we need for tomorrow. We have been blessed with a community that looks toward tomorrow yet protecting the history of our heritage."

Liz Radtke

American Lutheran Church

"I think that the answer to this question is actually found within the question itself: What makes Worthington such a positive community to live, work, and play in is that it is truly a community.

"Worthington is a place where neighbors really look out for each other, help each other, have fun together and grow together. We have services like Love INC, where 17 different area churches banded together to help out our neighbors, to be a true community working on systemic issues and meeting people's needs. We have the International Festival, where the diversity and richness of Worthington is highlighted and celebrated as we continue to get to know our neighbors from near and far. The beautiful setting of Worthington, which allows for amazing outdoor activities, builds a sense of community as we meet each other running and biking and fishing around the lake. Worthington is an open community, a welcoming community, embracing all who are here and all who will come to love us."

Alan Oberloh

Mayor of Worthington

"I have been asked 'What makes Worthington a positive community to live, work and play in,' so I will give my answer it the same order.

"When it comes to living here, I would say we have a growing community with 19 parks, numerous places of worship, a solid public education system with dedicated teachers and a low rate of crime when compared to cities of a similar size, a couple of excellent golf courses, fine arts opportunities, and a great fishing and recreational lake as well as a friendly and very diverse population.

"When addressing work, while the recession definitely affected this area, I feel job opportunities remain strong and unemployment is way below the national average -- if people want to work, they should be able to find employment. We are not a community with one industry, even though hog processing is the largest, as various types of businesses operate here. Construction building trades, plastics manufacturing, medical facilities, ag specialty businesses and related agricultural businesses provide employment opportunities to area residents. While some would say we could use more retail and restaurant businesses, we do have solid shopping venues for our citizens.

"Playing: Let's start with a lake, more parks than most cities, a new year-round swimming pool, bike trails, snowmobile trails, golf courses, a racetrack, an airport, city festivals, camping, a new YMCA, family values and something parts of the country do not have -- four seasons."

Aida Simon

Nobles County Integration Collaborative program aide

"I like the fact that Worthington has resources that other communities don't. We are fortunate to have resources to help people learn about life in America and how to be successful here. Some of these unique resources include: Love INC, Nobles County Integration Collaborative, Community Connectors, Southwest Crises Center, Bibles for Missions, churches and more. Worthington also has many leaders who are passionate about making Worthington an inclusive place to live. I love how people are curious to learn about others' cultures, and accepting of differences. They are willing to learn from one another.

"I feel very safe here in Worthington; it's a small town where most people know one another. I also love the fact that even though I live in a small town, I can still eat traditional African food, Asian and Mexican dishes. It amazes me the variety of ethnic stores Worthington has.

"Finally, my favorite part of Worthington is the beautiful lake! The lake and the parks bring people together in informal and fun ways."

Mike Potter

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1161

"The community of Worthington is very special and also unique in the perspective that many people come here to work and raise a family. Personally, I appreciate the fact that there are many agencies and programs that assist all of our community members who may be faced with the challenges of the unknown and not knowing where to turn to for answers.

"Worthington provides an environment of acceptance and cooperation for all. It all begins within the local government, within our business community, within our education system and within our churches. People who reside in our community, from the young to the old, from the past to present, have worked so hard to make our community what it is today -- 'GREAT,'"

Bill Souksavong

Owner, Top Asian Foods

"This community is good for bringing all kinds of people together. It's nice.

"Worthington is a nice town. Life is easy in Worthington -- not too rough, not too busy, not too many people. It's a clean town -- a nice town."

Wally Scholten

Senior volunteer, Bibles for Missions worker

"Worthington has many churches where people can come to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank God for all of them.

"We have many beautiful parks for picnics, reunions and gatherings. We also have many good playgrounds for the children and young people. Many are on Lake Okabena. They are well maintained, too.

"We seem to have good employment here, which is a help to all of us. We have good schools and a junior college. All four of our kids went to the Worthington schools and also the junior college before going on to other schools.

"Pioneer Village is a very good attraction. There are programs to go to there, and we especially enjoy the Fourth of July celebration there.

"We have been married 62 years and have lived here all our married life. We have felt very comfortable here and have not worried about break-ins to our home or car.

"The annual King Turkey Day is a good celebration and brings many people to our town to enjoy the day.

"It is nice to drive around town, where the traffic is not like big cities. We have a number of good shopping places, but could use more.

"The annual Salvation Army Christmas bell ringing does very good here. We have a lot of good and devoted bell ringers. They are very faithful in their work, too.

"We also enjoy the summer band concerts. It is nice to be by the lake and sit and enjoy the music. We have devoted people presenting these concerts for a couple of months during the summer.

"We think Worthington is a good place to be and to be able to go about without difficulty."

ennifer Weg

Chief Nursing Officer

Sanford Medical Center Worthington

"The best part of Worthington is its population and size -- it's small enough and big enough. It's small enough that kids can play in neighborhoods and parents aren't fearful about them riding their bikes to get there. We can be assured the other kids' parents are there to watch out for them, because we know each other, and that's what people here do for each other. It's big enough that my kids have options to keep them busy. They can run, walk, bike, roller blade, play volleyball, go swimming indoors or outdoors, play traditional golf or Frisbee golf, participate in or watch a huge variety of team sports, and even have the opportunity for a local summer job.

"Worthington is small enough that if I go down 10th Street or Oxford Street, I'm sure to meet at least one person I know and they will always wave a hello. It's big enough that we have excellent schools and even choices of private or public schools. We have local law enforcement that knows and cares what's going on. We have excellent health care and a wide variety of exciting jobs related to health care.

"I could make a longer list, but these are what are most important to me and that I'm familiar with."

Zuby Jansen

Owner, Crafty Corner Quilt & Sewing Shoppe

"Worthington has been my home since my marriage to Ken in 1959. We raised three children and have owned and operated three businesses here. Ken has been in business on Oxford Street since the late '50s. Worthington is in the heartland of America where the work ethic is strong. This is helpful in raising children and is a positive element in this community.

Worthington has a strong church base, which makes for a sound moral foundation. This helps any community to work and live together in a more positive way. I see evidence of this in many organizations such as Love INC, Kiwanis and Christmas Baskets, to name a few. These church and service-related organizations reach out to those in need. It is our Christian base that prompts us to not only care, but to act.

To add to our strengths our medical facilities are great. This gives us a feeling of comfort. Our schools are top and meeting the needs of a multi-cultural town.

Worthington is a safe place, and I am never afraid to go to any part of town. it is most comforting to be greeting with smiles or a 'Hi!' Sometimes we know each other, and sometimes it is just a friendly gesture.

We travel extensively and always say, 'Isn't it good to be home.'

Worthington is a happy place"

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at
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