Hardin is No. 1

Simply Biased
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

Iran across a YouTube video the other day that frankly irritated me to no end.

It was made Nov. 29, 2018 by the “World According to Briggs” online channel and called, “Top 10 worst small towns in Montana.”

Going through the countdown, I saw Whitefish at 10, followed by Shelby, Laurel, Black Eagle, Lockwood, Deer Lodge, Crow Agency, Orchard Homes, Pablo and – you guessed it – Hardin at No. 1.

“This town has about 4,000 residents and none of them are happy,” the narrator says in the video. “This place should be on everyone’s things-not-to-do list.

“It’s a drive-thru-type place.”

What galls me the most is that, during the video, not one image shown is from Hardin.

I’m not going to knock any of the other small Montana towns, having been in a lot of them. Still, while all small towns are going to have issues, there is no way Hardin

deserves the top spot.

Having been raised here and gone to school here, I can say Hardin has a lot of positive points.

No. 1 is the people. We are just like the people on any small town: We work hard, we are friendly and we go out of our way to help people. Every year, I get a letters to the editor from someone out of town or even out of state who has complimented Hardin, its people or its school kids.

The video stated that Hardin had an 11.8 percent unemployment rate, four percent higher than the town’s actual 7.8 percent rate, according to Sperling’s BestPlaces.

Another area where the narrator seemed to quote incorrect statistics was when he said the poverty rate was 38 percent. Where did he get this number? According to data from the federal government, the poverty rate for Hardin is 20.84 percent. While that is still high, it’s nowhere near what was said in the video.

Another issue is the shot it took at Hardin education.

Being someone who is up at the school weekly dealing with sports, education, journalism or any number of other issues, I see teachers, coaches and students working hard every day to make the school better.

I’ve seen the rise in testing scores over the past decade; I’ve witnessed the educational improvement. I’ve worked with students and teachers on various projects and I’ve seen their willingness to learn.

I realize Hardin has been bashed over the years. We’ve had our share of bad press and, yes, we have problems, but the town I see is a community of caring people who look out for their neighbors, are not afraid to help a stranger and work hard to better our community.

People of Hardin, hold your head high and be proud. If anyone bashes the town, smile, turn and walk away, because you know better.