Correspondence

Forgotten Corners

Minnesota celebrated its 150th birthday in 2008.  This occasion drove news reporter Boyd Huppert from KARE–TV in Minneapolis to travel to the corners of the state for a four-part feature series.

In the far northwest corner sits Kittson County, bordered by North Dakota and Manitoba.  (Winnipeg is about an hour-and-a-half drive.)  The landscape is flat prairie, and, like much of the prairie from Kansas up to Montana, it has been virtually abandoned; free trade shut down the factories, and the smaller farms were gobbled up by agribusiness thanks to government subsidies.  Only the old folk have been left behind, and small towns such as Kennedy, Humboldt, Lancaster, Halma, and Karlstad are dying off along with them.  The youngsters who live in the county seat of Hallock, where the school is located, dream of moving away when they turn 18—to the Twin Cities, Fargo, Grand Forks, or wherever life takes them.  Perhaps the new biodiesel plant might keep a few of them around.  But the subsidized biofuels market is a bubble that has already burst, so this sort of economic development is not a long-term solution.

Every state has its forgotten corners, the places that are deemed no longer “economically viable” and left to rot while capital, both monetary and human, chases the bright lights and big cities.  Nobody much cares about these places except for local politicians who, thanks to good intentions...

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