The Free Press, Mankato, MN


November 23, 2012

Our View: Big Ten just isn't as special as it used to be


Flame Theater in Wells sparks anew

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To the Wells community and its city for supporting a first-rate, historic theater in the town of 2,400 residents.

Maintaining local movie houses has been tough for small towns for decades as regional centers sprung up to draw patrons away. But the residents of Wells have continued to support The Flame with their business, donations and city support.

The theater, originally called the State Theater, was established in 1912 when it opened with 5 cent shows. The theater was renamed "The  Flame" after it burned down in 1960 and was rebuilt.

It recently purchased $65,000 worth of digital equipment to accommodate the motion picture industry's phasing out of 35mm films next year.

As the only small town theater within a 40-mile radius, The Flame draws some 20,000 visitors a year and charges about half the admission, $3, of big city theaters.

The community came together to support something that maybe doesn't fit into the traditional municipal budget, but people of Wells have decided its worth it as a way to keep people in town and draw others from the region.

Movie theaters were long staples of small-town life. Wells is keeping that alive.

Dotson Co. day builds community

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To the Dotson Co. and their policy of giving their employees the day before Thanksgiving as a day off to volunteer for some worthy community cause.

The company designates a day, usually the day before Thanksgiving, to allow workers to get paid for volunteering for a local cause. Wednesday several employees donated their time helping with demolition work at the old Nichols Office Building that will become the new VINE senior community center.

Employees can take the day off as vacation, a day without pay or get paid while doing volunteer work. It's a nice gesture on the part of a longtime local company to allow its employees to help out a community cause as a way to give back.

We'd like to see more companies offer the same thing.

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