I know the importance of civic engagement, supporting local businesses, and the havoc that giant corporate entities like Wal-Mart can wreak on a small community.
I've lived it more than once in small towns in South Dakota and Iowa. But that story has been told over and over, and some just don't want to believe it, so we'll leave that one for the history books.
- "Efforts of PARD must go on," Patricia Freitag Ericsson, Letter to the Editor, Moscow- Pullman Daily News, July 18, 2008
I'm wondering if Dr. Freitag Ericsson, a WSU English professor and professional colleague of PARDners T.V. Reed and Alex Hammond, would be willing to elaborate more on how Wal-Mart "wreaks havoc on a small community."
According to her CV, she graduated from the University of South Dakota in 1972 and then worked as a high school teacher in Vermillion, SD. Wal-Mart did not open any stores in South Dakota until 1990. In any case, she worked at Dakota State University in Madison, SD from 1982 to 1997. There is no Wal-Mart in Madison, SD.
I'm not sure where Iowa fits in. Wal-Mart didn't open any stores in Iowa until 1983, when Dr. Freitag Ericsson was living and working in South Dakota. She did receive a master's degree in 1988 from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL, which is on the border with Iowa. But Rock Island is part of the Quad Cities area that has over 400,000 people. Hardly a "small town."
She then taught at Michigan Tech in Houghton, MI from 1998 to 2003. Houghton does have a Wal-Mart Supercenter, as well as a ShopKo. However, Houghton was recently included in the book The 100 Best Small Towns in America. That doesn't sound very havocy. But to be fair, she didn't mention Michigan.
I'm anxiously awaiting Dr. Freitag Ericsson's next letter to the editor where no doubt she will detail the exact havoc that was wreaked, as well as the specific places where it occurred. Like Agent Mulder, I want to believe.