My family recently received a letter from an astute neighbor informing us that a blacktop company based in Proctor purchased the lot across the street from our home at Martin and Eagle Lake Roads. Current city ordinances apparently do not allow for the operation of a gravel pit as a hot mix asphalt production facility. As a result, a request was made to the city of Rice Lake to amend the ordinance to allow the company to operate there as an asphalt-production plant, the letter said.

Hearing this was, as expected, difficult to digest. It is even more difficult not to succumb to anger and resentment when sitting on the deck we built in our backyard, overlooking the swingset we also built after kids were born and while we were living in our home. Seven years of hard work and the emotional growth made as a person, father, and husband pour out while contemplating giving up the home where so much life has happened due to outside circumstances.

Truth be told, my rational brain accepts that there really is no one who deserves the brunt of my anger. Perhaps the business owners, but how can one fault them for expanding their business in what likely is a profitable location to serve the Duluth market?

This is currently in the beginning stages. The planning commission in Rice Lake has been tasked with researching the feasibility and potential language change in the ordinance. My best course of action, in my opinion, is to research the subject and present a logical argument against it while trying my best to keep my anger from targeting those working through the governmental process. Because if I’ve learned anything as I’ve grown into an adult, it’s that you can catch more flies with honey than with asphalt.

Ian Johnson

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Rice Lake