Saturday, April 25, 2020


It's been over one month since COVID-19 precautions began to impact our community. Some of the social distancing practices have maybe become easier to remember and adjust to, while others are more challenging. Our businesses and community organizations have worked hard to adjust to changing times.  A big thank you to everyone in our community who has been going out of their way to support local business or offer assistance to those in need.

If any city resident has been wondering about the parades of cars with kids waving from windows, and horns honking please don't be alarmed. This is simply the new, social distancing way of celebrating birthdays. It's great  to see not only the smiles on the birthday kid's face but the residents standing out on  front steps waving in support. 

The city also would like to thank everyone who has picked up trash around town the last few weeks. Whether it was for Earth Day or out of quarantine boredom and seeing a need, we have noticed and are very grateful. 

At the city we get a lot of questions about the status of the grocery store. I'm happy to report that we're seeing some excellent momentum towards getting the store back open. During normal times this type of endeavor is often slow, but COVID-19 has added further challenges to making progress.. There is a group of very dedicated folks who have been spending a lot of time on making decisions the past few weeks, and they look forward to sharing good news soon. 

This week  Sargent County residents were saddened to hear of the passing of Rutland mayor Ronnie Narum. Ronnie was one of the most dedicated community members I've ever met. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the Sargent County Teller a few times and served with him on the Sargent County Job Development Authority. He was also a big part of the establishment and continued success of the Sargent County Museum. We extend our condolences to his family, friends, and the community of Rutland. 

While we look forward to when things can go "back to normal" , during this time of the abnormal we are thankful for hearts on windows, eyes that smile above masks, rainbow-hued chalk art on sidewalks, curbside service, and friendly waves as we walk around town. We're a Forever Hometown no matter the circumstances. 

Paige Cary 
Forman Economic Development Coordinator 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Community Spirit in Troubled Times

Living in a rural area we like to think we are sheltered from a lot of the stress or dangers of the "big cities". Many times that is true. We live in safe and friendly communities with some insulation from the issues that are more common in urban areas. As our world faces a pandemic with many precautions being put into place, our community is not immune from uncertainty and a rapidly-changing world.

Driving in Forman yesterday evening I saw places that usually are busy--the fitness center, the bars, the school,  all had empty parking lots. The nearest COVID-19 case might be many miles away but the same restrictions apply to us as anywhere in the state.

In the midst of tension, however, there is amazing community spirit. Elementary students and teachers  are taking turns reading books to classmates on social media, people are texting where to get toilet paper or coffee, and offering to pick up items for those who can't get out. Four Seasons residents brought smiles to many faces as they shared messages for the world outside their quarantined space.

Another positive in the midst of a trying time is the news that the Forman Community Development Corporation is now the owner of the grocery store building in Forman. Plans are underway to get it up and running as soon as possible!  Refurbishment of the building is planned and an advertisement is out for a manger. We hope that once this crisis is over our whole community will have this new place to shop... and may we always have shelves well stocked with toilet paper!

In the mean time, the city asks that everyone would please support their local businesses wherever possible. Order food or off-sale liquor, and pick up curbside. If you have concerns about going into a retail or service place give them a call to see if they can come up with a solution that will work for both of you.

Warmer temps are coming and the outdoors is still free and available! Take a walk or run down the new pedestrian trail, get your kids and dogs out for a walk around town. Be mindful of keeping distance between yourselves and others out doing the same. Waving and yelling greetings is still ok!

Thanks to everyone who makes this town and community a wonderful place to live, work, and play. Stay strong, Stay healthy. Be kind to each other. We are a Forever Hometown!

Paige Cary
Forman Economic Development Coordinator

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Pick One For Forman and You!

Happy February! Some nicer weather and sunshine helped to get rid of a little snow and remind everyone how spring feels. Is it just me or does seeing daylight at 5:50 p.m. feel pretty amazing? 

Last week we started our Pick1 volunteer campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to:
1. Make people aware of the various organizations in the community
2. Allow people to see the variety of needs within the different organizations
3. Help people to match up their skills and interests to volunteer roles

We hope this has another positive effect in that those volunteering feel a sense of purpose and belonging.  We know that most often people feel more invested in their communities and have a more positive view of their city when they're involved in making it better, even in a small way. 

Many of these roles and tasks are not very time consuming. Some require just an hour or two a year. A few require training or some paperwork but most just involve a willing community members saying, "Sure, I can do this, give me a call". 

Twice this week I was tasked with making phone calls asking local people to volunteer in certain capacities. I was delighted with the many positive responses I received. Several said they felt happy to be asked for these roles. Those that weren't able to say yes were encouraging about the plans and suggested other people to help. The idea behind Pick 1 was that if everyone just said yes to one thing, even a small thing, in our town we could see some amazing things happen. 

We know many of you have already picked one (or two, or three) volunteer roles in our community. Maybe you've been doing volunteering for many years in Forman. We truly appreciate all that you do. Whether you help manage the golf course, call bingo at Four Seasons, or bring bars to a fundraiser, you are an important part of our Forever Hometown. 

Here is the link to our Pick1 Campaign: Pick 1

If you haven't read the article on rural grocery stores in the most recent issues of the Sargent County Teller I encourage you to check it out. As we deal with our own grocery store loss we are also aware we are not unique in our challenges. The Forman Community Development Corporation has been working diligently on getting our store back again. We hope to have some positive updates soon. If you have ideas or suggestions for going forward with this business please contact me. This will be a community effort and we value input.

Paige Cary 
Forman Economic Development Coordinator

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Memories and a Message

Last week I shared some old photos of Forman on our Facebook page. After I post these  pieces of city history I’m always amazed at the number of comments and reactions. My favorite thing to see happening on these vintage pictures is watching Forman residents reconnecting. They maybe haven’t been in contact in years but a comment on an old photo suddenly has classmates or neighbors reminiscing together. A photo has an amazing ability to bring back memories of another time, like it was just yesterday.

 Seeing the comments and connections posted I was reminded of our city motto. We are a Forever Hometown. Whether you are coming, going, or here right now we want Forman to be that place that brings back a smile on your face as you recall your first job, that neighbor who was like a grandma to you, or playing baseball out by the fairgrounds.

Another great thing about sharing old photos is that people who have longer memories can recall dates and locations to help us identify businesses or houses that are no longer standing. We’re always on the look out for more photos of Forman, so if you have any to share with us we would be grateful.

While looking at pictures from the earlier days of the town is a delightful walk down memory lane, it can become easy to compare those days to now days. Sometimes those comparisons can lead to discouragement. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a theater again?”, “ I remember when Main Street was full of businesses and now look at it.” “I never thought we wouldn’t have an open grocery store.” While it’s important to be realistic about where we are currently and be serious in addressing challenges, we should never forget the positives as well.

Main Street might be quieter but there are a half dozen businesses on the highway that were never there years ago, not to mention a new housing development to the south. While retail services are not as plentiful we’re seeing growth in service industries and manufacturing in our area. Growing up in Forman in the eighties and nineties I remember walking past an empty lot on Maple Ave for years. Today that lot is home to a large industrial building that is part of a growing business.

Multiple sources show our median age as being younger than many other parts of the state. Young people are moving back or settling in town for the first time to enjoy the safety and relaxed pace that small town life has to offer. We have a museum and a wellness center that would be the envy of many communities, as well as new assisted living facility and a recently expanded nursing home.

As we work to come up with viable options for Main Street spaces and attracting businesses and growth in town we remember where we came from, but we also have faith in a bright future for our Forever Hometown. We hope you'll join us with your ideas and energy to make Forman a better place in 2020. 

Paige Cary 
Forman Economic Development Coordinator 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

New Year

New Year!

It's the start of a new year, which means new ideas, new challenges, and new energy.   In January the city is launching Pick 1, a campaign designed to raise awareness of volunteer needs in our community. Every resident in our town, and those living in the surrounding area, plays a part in helping our community to thrive.We are hoping this campaign brings awareness of the many organizations that help our city run, and prompts folks to get involved. 

A committee has been hard at work for several months, partnering with Lake Agassiz Regional Council, to create a strategic plan for Forman. Once approved by the council this will be made public. This has been a work in progress since last summer. We sought the input of the community when we had a public meeting in June. We received a lot of great ideas and input at that session, which helped to start the committee's discussions. Housing, businesses, and community development are some of the main categories in the strategic plan.

One of our town's greatest challenges right now is the lack of a grocery store. The Forman Community Development Corporation has been working on this issue for months. Different options have been explored and every effort will be made by FCDC and the city in 2020 to get this business back in town. As difficult as it is we know that we are not alone in this problem. In the past five years over 30 grocery stores in North Dakota have closed. Several of these were in towns larger than Forman. We are hoping to be in the positive statistics in 2020 for having a rural grocery store that reopened. 

In 2019 we gave out welcome bags to five new residents (not including rentals or those who were already living in Forman and moved to a different home) and welcomed two new businesses. We had a successful Car Fest in June that included some new events. We're already thinking about this year's Car Fest and are taking ideas and suggestions from community members now.

In 2019 the city received three grants, assisting us with planting new trees, our city mural, and the beginnings of a green space on Main Street. The apple trees from last year's orchard grant are thriving at Central Park, and the new playground equipment is being used. We're grateful to find resources to help us make our city more functional and beautiful.

Thanks to everyone for your part in making Forman a Forever Hometown. We look forward to working together in 2020!


It's been over one month since COVID-19 precautions began to impact our community. Some of the social distancing practices have maybe be...