I guess it is inevitable that we are going to lose our small town of Opheim in the near future. I was born in Opheim and have lived here most of my life and I am not in favor of losing what we have.
As our school grew smaller, due to people moving away after putting their farmland into the CRP program, or people moving away so their children could be in sports, (although I haven’t seen many move on to the college or professional sports levels), and people home schooling their children, it won’t be long until we don’t have a school in Opheim.
A few years ago our rural electric company, Northern Electric, which our forefathers worked so hard to get, merged with Glasgow’s Valley Electric. We were told that almost everything would stay the same in Opheim.
It did not.
We used to have a board of directors that met in Opheim and ate a meal at the local café; now they meet and eat in Glasgow. We used to have a manager in Opheim (with a family and children in the Opheim School). Now the manager lives near Glasgow and works in the Glasgow office. We used to have three or four people in the Opheim office. Now we have two and they work in Glasgow once or twice a month. We used to have at least four linemen. Now we have two.
Now our local Pro Co-op is considering a merger with the Grain Growers co-op in Scobey, and packets for Pro Co-op producers to vote on the matter have been mailed, a Pro Co-op employee told me.
This would probably cause us to lose our Opheim Post Office, as Pro Co-op has quite a volume of mail going out of the local post office. The 600 voting packages that were sent out to producers were mailed out of Great Falls last week – eliminating our local post office from getting this business. The merger would probably cause Opheim to lose its office and the four ladies who are now employed here. And I wonder how many employees would we lose to Scobey.