Writers comment on local issues

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to editor.forestlaketimes@ecm-inc.com. Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.

A Real Funny Guy

Mr. DuFour, You think you are a funny guy wearing a T-shirt to a public workshop meeting regarding an animal dispatch policy that reads “Got Fir?”

Your snide remarks about sending the cops to the range to become better “sharp shooters” showed your ignorance as a community representative for the city of Forest Lake.

I am not sure how you were ever elected but I will do everything I can to oust you from public office on 12-31-12.

For the record, I am a sportsman that hunts small and big game. You, however, simply like to kill animals.

Jeff Carpenter
Forest Lake

A Special Guy

Julius Thorp — we called him “Ed” —  was my favorite carpenter.

He was the creative foreman of Fran LaBelle’s crew that built our house. They worked from our  blueprints but added a number of extra amenities — like the clothes chute, the sweeping chute, built-in drawers, bookshelves and more — these were Ed’s ideas.

Then I called on him to handle the virtually endless succession of remodeling projects at the Forest Lake Times plant — the rental shops in front, the extensions to our building at the rear and to the north, the wall down the center of the shop when Sid Anderson took over the job printing shop.

It was always — Call Ed.  Sometimes it seemed he was a member of the Times staff.

Ed died recently and his granddaughter, Dawn Quigley, wrote in the about his WWII service — “After he survived the beaches of Normandy . . . surrounding him was hatred, death and the chaos of war.

“Yet, ever the carpenter, ever the lover of building things, he chose to create an object of beauty. Of his meager possessions he had a knife and a coin. And amid the devastation around him, during spare moments he took out these two simple things and began tapping out a hole in the coin, carving out the center first, then forging the circle into a ring — the same ring he wore while telling this tale.”

A really special guy.

Earl M. Lellman
Forest Lake

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Earl Lellman is a former owner, publisher and editor of the Forest Lake Times.)

Moving On

Memories, but moving on.

The taking out of the buildings from the southwest side of today’s roundabout has brought back memories of earlier days in Forest Lake.

Growing up in the Forest Lake area since 1934, I’m sure other old-timers recall the beautiful old park with tall evergreen trees. That was where these buildings were cleared from. It was big and welcoming; where we waited for special relatives who would arrive via the train. The train depot was to the back of the park, nearer Houle’s elevator.

Beautiful evergreens covered in snow —  the perfect spot to meet Santa Claus (Hector Pepin, father of Wayne Pepin – Santa to our children). Thanks for the beutiful memories!

Florence Daninger
Forest Lake

Just Plain Foolish

There is a petition currently being circulated to hold a referendum vote in Wyoming, which could reverse the city council’s decision on the purchase of the RiverBank building. I have to ask, “What did we elect these people for if we aren’t willing to allow them to make these kinds decisions for the city?”

A new city hall, police and fire station has long been a part of the plans for the city. This just didn’t spring up out of nowhere. The financial overview is this,

The bank cost $2.7 million to build in 2007. The city can buy it for $900K.

That folks is not only a good deal but a great deal. It amounts to $.13 a day to the average homeowner.

The alternative is to build a city hall and public safety facility from scratch which could take as much as $6 million. A deal like this is absolutely a no-brainer. The scenario is parallel to the commercial, where the mechanic says; “You can pay me now or pay me later.”

The inference of course is if we wait to pay later, it will cost much more. Many economists and investment consultants recommend strongly that now is the time for growth.

For us to pass up this deal is just plain foolish. This is the best time to invest in our future and do it in the most cost efficient manner.

Mike Soule

Donate Blood

The Forest Lake Lions held their annual blood drive July 9 at the American Legion. While there were prolonged waits for those coming to donate, the Red Cross was able to collect 152 pints of blood. (A note for the future: people arriving to donate between noon and 3 were taken almost immediately.)

This blood and its byproducts will help over 300 people.

Of interest, is how the warm summer weather hindered many people coming to donate. When the temperatures reached 100 degrees, everyone was advised to drink plenty of fluids. The Red Cross advised me that drinking the extra fluids is great for the body but it leaches some of the iron from the blood. Most of our deferrals were for low iron.

The Lions would like to thank the community for volunteering to donate this much needed commodity. If you missed this drive, please try to find another one close to you.

The Forest Lake VFW will be doing a drive 2-7 p.m. July 26. The American Legion will be doing a drive on August 20.  Summer blood supplies are low. Please roll up your sleeves.

Nancy Immel
Forest Lake

Call for Discipline

A recent letter criticized Rep. Bob Barrett and the Republican legislature for taking a $6.2 billion deficit, –inherited from the Democrats– and turning it into a $1.2 billion surplus.

The writer said, “They expanded delayed payments to schools to 2.4 billion.” Here’s the rest of the story. The Democrats own $2 billion of that from the 2010 legislature when they had the majority and voted for this $2 billion shift.

Earlier this year the GOP legislature passed a bill to pay back all their school shift and begin paying off the Democrat shift but Gov. Dayton vetoed the legislation saying, “It is irresponsible to use cash to pay off debt.”

The writer chastised the Republicans for reforming the broken Homestead Market Value Credit program which cities and counties asked them to do. The writer ignored the fact and that county lobbyists wanted to fix a broken system that didn’t adequately fund this program in nine of 10 years. At the same time the Republican legislature also passed a bill to eliminate the state portion of business property tax, helping reduce this burden on businesses, which the governor vetoed.

The Democrats could have fixed this program but they didn’t have the courage to bring fiscal responsibility to state government.

We need discipline with the taxpayer’s wallet. Almost 40 years of Democrat big tax spending is going to take a few more years to fix. Send Bob Barrett back to the capitol!

Jim Lentz

A Clear Choice

The choice could not be clear this November. Minnesota and this country have a choice between two paths.

The first is a path taken in 2010 when the new elected Republican legislature inherited a $5.2 billion deficit from the previously Democrat controlled legislature and after two years brought about a $1.2 billion surplus and a balanced budget without raising taxes.

The other path is equally clear. Elect Democrats who will give Gov. Mark Dayton the tax increases he desperately desires and the increased spending and control of our lives that come with it.

The Minnesota Senate had been under Democrat rule for 40 years until 2010.

Send Sen. Sean Nienow back to the Senate to continue turning our state around and back on course to prosperity for families and children.

Maranda Stenlund
North Branch

Garden Passion

Governor Dayton has declared July 19 as University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Day. We appreciate this acknowledgement and want to express our sincere enthusiasm in serving the citizens of Washington County by providing expertise and advice concerning all things horticultural.

Gardening is a passion and tradition for Master Gardeners as it is for many, many members of our community. Each year Master Gardeners continue their education through classes, seminars and meetings so they can provide the best research-based horticultural information to the public.

We enjoy meeting other gardeners and sharing our knowledge at “Ask a Master Gardener” booths during special community events, at diagnostic clinics, while teaching classes and at area events.

Since 2009, our program no longer receives funding from Washington County. The support of the residents of Washington County has been very important to the future of our program.

Despite the lack of county funding and clerical support, our program is thriving through the efforts of our 130 well-trained volunteers and connection with the University of Minnesota Extension.

Each June our largest fundraiser, the highly successful plant sale, helps provide the dollars to sustain our program through so we can continue our many projects.

Washington County Fair time is just around the corner and Master Gardeners have been hard at work preparing the “Fairest Garden” for visitors to the fair.

Last year more than 5,400 fairgoers stopped by the gardens to see what was growing and ask questions about their own gardens. We hope to see you there.

Diane Coderre
Master Gardener
Washington County