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There’s no lack of discussions on what the "new normal" will be whenever it is we start to move past these unprecedented times. Perhaps a few personal observations in the last few weeks will help be our guide.

Increased neighboring: From check-in phone calls to friends/family, Bible studies and group connects on Zoom, no-contact special event drive-by parades, or more intentional hellos, waves and dialog.

Increased outdoor activity: From heavy usage of trails to parks to bike rides, walks and runs.

Increased gratitude: For first responders, medical professionals (doctors, nurses, mental health workers, etc.), police officers, firefighters, service workers, and delivery folks and for leaders who have stepped up to lead during these times (Tim Wiebe and his team are doing exceptional work leading Chaska efforts as is the Carver County Health Department, District 112 staff, Ridgeview Medical, etc.)

Increased adaptability: Shifting staff members to more critical short-term assignments, converting home spaces to home offices, shifting to online worship experiences, to maximizing grocery store visits, delivering goods/services in a "contact free" way, crafting children's learning and workspaces, and educators delivering school in a virtual way.

Increased community: From supporting local businesses, to reaching out to others (including high risk populations like those that are lonely, prone to drug/alcohol addiction, etc.), to donations to local not-for-profits, to creative school announcements (shout out to Mr. Slinde and others).

Increased outlets for connection: Whether it’s social sites (Gratitude Spark, MN Rocks, Chalk Up Chaska, Chaska Loves Local Business, etc.), library book clubs, virtual trivia and games, signs for residents at senior living facilities and more.

Hopefully in the coming months we decide the "new normal" will be building an even stronger community, with increased gratitude, and intentional neighboring. Perhaps we will lead a #communityunity trend!

Matt Udermann


Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.