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Youth asks council to keep swimming pool open

By: Tom Durkin
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For more than three hours last Tuesday night, 14-year-old Joseph Goulet waited patiently for his turn to address the Colfax City Council. During that time, he watched council members and residents debate and generally ignore Robert’s Rules of Order as they wrestled with the city’s latest financial crisis. The meeting ran so long, in fact, that the council decided to continue its scheduled hearing on the city’s proposed general fund budget until Sept. 2. Since the budget was on the agenda and Goulet had waited to speak about a budget item, several adults urged Mayor Sherrie Blackmun to let the young man have his say. Clearly intimidated by the acrimony that had preceded him for the last three hours, Goulet approached the microphone diffidently. “Please, don’t close the swimming pool,” he asked the council. He politely explained that since the youth center had been closed down, local youth have nothing to do. “They get in trouble,” he said. At least with the swimming pool, Goulet continued, there is a fun place to go and somewhere to hang out with friends. It’s also good healthy exercise, he added. Mayor Sherrie Blackmun was quick to assure Goulet the council had not yet voted to close the swimming pool. It was just an option under consideration. According to the latest proposed budget, however, the $38,570 aquatics program would be eliminated next summer. Blackmun sincerely thanked Goulet for his input. She said the council would seriously consider the issue he raised and again reassured him that no decision had been made yet. The mayor also praised Goulet for having the courage to speak up and the courtesy to speak his mind so civilly. She encouraged him to run for city council when he grows up.