Open Forum for week of Oct. 4

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 [email protected] 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.


Lessons of sport

Friendship, teamwork, commitment, responsibility, leadership and goal-setting are just some of the important life lessons learned through sports.

These lessons began for me in first grade when I joined FLAAA t-ball. We sat on the bench in our batting order and cheered and really never knew if we won or lost because that is not why we were there. We had fun with our friends, enjoyed outdoor activity and learned about softball.

When I moved to the FLAAA traveling team level we also learned about commitment, responsibility, and leadership.  Each of those directly applied to my academics and carried with me beyond school into the “real world”. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn these skills while spending many hours with my best friends and their families.

The lessons I learned from sport have steered me to my profession today. As my positive experiences grew, so did my passion for softball. In my career as a full-time college coach my focus is to create opportunities for my student-athletes to continue to learn valuable life lessons. We learn to set goals, work together, be leaders in our school and community and support each other on and off the field just as my t-ball team did many years ago.

I believe all children need and deserve the opportunity to learn these lessons of sport that are offered through organizations like FLAAA.  Whether they play for one year or still “play” as I do after 31 years, there is high value in their participation.

Jody Gabriel
Hudson, Wis.
(Editor’s note: The writer is head softball coach at Macalester College and a 1992 graduate of Forest Lake High School.) 


One for Yeager

This is the time of year that concerned citizens are to reach back in their memory to recall the civic events that created such ire and disbelief by those in elected office.

Remember when you said “How can they just ignore common sense?,” or how about this one, “We’ll sort out this one at election time.”

Yes, this is the time to go to the polls and vote for the people that agree with your ideas of how government should be run.

Here in Wyoming, we have one councilmember who has demonstrated an awareness of the concerns and needs of the residents and businesses that live and work here.  Linda Nanko-Yeager has proven her dedication to be a real representative of her constituents by listening and bringing their concerns to the city council meetings.

She has earned and deserves your vote for re-election to the Wyoming City Council on Nov. 6.

Ray Johnson


For Traditional Family

“And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Our society has been based upon the belief that the biblical view of traditional marriage and the family is the backbone of a healthy social order.

Since the joining together of Adam and Eve, marriage has been recognized as a holy union between one man and one woman, and out of that union comes children- born into a home with a father and mother to love them, nurture them, and teach them how to become healthy, productive, and responsible citizens.

The plan of God, nature, and common sense is a man and a woman producing children within the institution of marriage. When that plan is lost, “marriage” and “family” become meaningless, and a nation and its people will follow the road to ruin. World history has proven it over and over again.

Preserving the traditional family is vital to the future of any great nation. Vote ‘yes’ for the marriage amendment between a man and a woman. Remember, if you leave it blank it is a ‘no’ vote.

Eugene Huerstel
Forest Lake


Common Sense Leader

Ben Winnick is a third-generation business owner and he supports his community. I am glad he has decided to help out at city hall.

Ben has one of the oldest businesses in our community. His business thrives because he cares about his customers and his staff. They same common-sense decisions that made his business successful will be a benefit to city hall.

Ben understands the complex issues that face a community like Forest Lake and is committed to making Forest Lake a better place to live, work and play.

Vote for Ben Winnick.

Richard McNamara
Forest Lake


No Career Politician

I am writing to encourage you to go out and vote for Karin Housley for State Senate, District 39.

For the past several years, much of our Senate District has been served by Senators Ted Lillie and Ray Vandeveer. Both have represented us well, and we need to elect someone like them to carry the torch. That candidate is Karin Housley.

As a small business owner and published author on investing, Karin proves she has the knowledge and experience to help businesses regain their strength and hire more people. She understands the repercussions of a down economy and how the government affects the business environment in Minnesota. She is committed to small business tax reform, streamlined regulation and permitting processes, and expanded markets for our products and services. An opponent of Obamacare, Karin will work to increase health insurance flexibility.

Karin also has kids in the school system. Karin is committed to spending the taxpayers’ money carefully and not spending more than we take in.

Karin is well-known in the area for her work in various non-profit volunteer positions including Special Olympics and Let’s Go Fishing with Seniors.

Karin is not a politician. She has never served in public office and does not plan to have a career at the Capitol. She is filled with the energy and fresh ideas needed to push for reforms that will help our communities continue to be a great place to live.

Please join me in voting for Karin on Nov. 6.

Cindy Westrup


‘Politics’ in FL

Ahh, fall in Forest Lake. The time of year when kids are back in school, leaves change colors, numerous pumpkin patches are busy again, and election season brings out the “NO” people and their letters supporting their puppet candidates.

In a recent letter to the editor, John Freed announced this year’s slate of “NO” candidates: he tells us to cast our votes for Bruce Anderson for mayor, and Ed Eigner and Ben Winnick for city council. And as you look around town you’ll see the Dick Tschida properties sporting this grouping of signs.

And now it’s confirmed that these guys are well connected to the unelectable Eric Langness.  After his failed attempts at being elected to the school board, county board of commissioners and state senate, it looks like he’s turned his attention to the “NO” candidates in Forest Lake. The candidates’ web addresses confirm this connection: and

Each year these folks say no to progress in this town. No roundabouts, no new police station, no new fire hall, no new maintenance equipment, no street lights, no paved roads, no indoor plumbing, and recently a big fat NO to FLAAA. I’d prefer to vote for people who say yes on occasion: “YES, Let’s Make Forest Lake Better!”

Vote for Chris Johnson for mayor, and Jeff Klein and Jim DuFour for city council. Johnson, Jeff and Jim – vote “J”.

Jon Turner
Forest Lake


Upward in Chisago

The great news that Polaris is expanding in Wyoming means more local jobs. The latest 5.8 percent unemployment rate is heading in the right direction and we can thank Rep. Bob Barrett for working on that.

When we elected Bob in 2010, Chisago County unemployment was over 10 percent and Bob’s opponent, Rick Olseen, was our senator during that time of high unemployment. Olseen voted to prohibit business growth through the Jobs Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ), a program to help Chisago County create more jobs, including jobs at Kendall Howard, Anderson Windows and Polaris.

Fortunately, most legislators disagreed with Olseen and the bill was not killed, but it did teach us that Olseen can’t deliver on job creation and companies like Polaris can celebrate expansion but Bob Barrett’s opponent won’t be invited to celebrate.

In just two years in office, Bob Barrett helped cut unemployment almost in half and he held the line on job-killing regulations and taxes. The Polaris expansion means things are looking up for Chisago County.

Stacy Pearson


Congrats, Cliff Buchan

I have been a resident of the Forest Lake area for 37 years and like so many others I have had the good fortune to follow and read the work of Cliff Buchan.

I have always appreciated his honesty, fairness and sensitivity. Cliff has proven his loyalty to our community through his responsible and professional reporting. I will truly miss reading his “Final Draft” column, and I have no doubt there are many others who feel the same way.

Cliff, you have set a high standard for the next editor to follow. Congratulations, we wish you well.

Diane Finnemann
Forest Lake


Play fair, Mr. Barrett!

I’m writing today because I often drive on Highway 8 and have been noticing all the Rick Olseen for House signs going up. Being very interested in the campaigns, I keep a close eye on these things.

But anyone could have clearly seen that a Bob Barrett sign suddenly appeared a few feet in front of a Rick Olseen sign, when there was a whole football field of space to choose from. Why would he do that?

I wanted to contact Rick about this and was surprised when took me to Bob Barrett’s website. (This is a political game of buying up domains in your opponent’s name.) Again, why would he do that? Play fair, Mr. Barrett! What if someone wanted to get information on where both candidates stand on the issues, to be able to make an educated vote?

In the end, they would get an education on Bob Barrett’s character – a divisive politician who chooses to play games instead of dealing with the real issues our state faces!

Voters deserve better than these games, and Chisago County deserves better leadership in St. Paul.

Georgia Anderson
Center City


An Inspiration

I thought the article on Ethel Hudon titled “10,000 hours and counting” was astounding. Not many people are willing to offer their own time to help others. But she did just that.

Her hours are equivalent to 417 straight days, which is over a year! Her contributions influence me to be a better member in the community. I am now inspired to fill out a volunteer application for Fairview myself.

I think that the volunteer rate is going to go up. I am currently volunteering at a nursing home. I know many citizens volunteering throughout Forest Lake. It is nice to see that she never quit and was dedicated. I strongly look up to her and hope to follow her footsteps.

Jordan Kohs
Forest Lake


Pro Roundabout

Last week in the Forest Lake Times there was an entry in the Open Forum by Catherine Carlson titled “Not a Perfect Circle.”

In her article, she stated that so many people think the Forest Lake roundabout is accident prone and just a huge hassle for the people of the town.

Well, I, for one, being a new driver of the road at 17, think that it is a much-needed upgrade for the city. As long as you yourself yield, you will be fine. I think that the accident Catherine was in had a little more fault of Catherine’s than she is willing to say. But the roundabout saves time and is convenient for not building up traffic on the strip of town on Highway 61.

Jack Forsell
Forest Lake


More Research Needed

I have yet to have a reasonable and objective dialogue with anyone who is voting “no” on the marriage amendment in November.

What I keep hearing from those who want to redefine marriage is purely emotional and subjective. If one dares to say that they do not support gay marriage, they are labeled as an unenlightened, mean, intolerant, homophobic bigot. This could not be farther from the truth of who I am.

No one ever wants to hear your valid, factual data about what a change in tradition has done and will do to our culture as a whole.

Those of you with the “Vote No” bumper stickers or yard signs, please do more research on this issue. There is much information literally at your fingertips with the internet regarding the effects of redefining marriage in Europe and Canada.

It has taken a toll on marriage rates, family stability, religious freedom and children’s well-being.

Mary Kate Stolz
Forest Lake


Right Direction

When Rick Olseen was in the senate, he drove our state’s budget into the ditch in so many ways. Green Acres law raised taxes on ag land in the district and hurt farmers because of him. He voted for higher gas taxes, higher sales taxes, higher property taxes and year after year of state budget deficits. Chisago County had extremely high unemployment while he was a senator.

Instead of having over 3,000 Chisago County residents out of work as we had for too long when Olseen was in office, we now have less than 1,900 people out of work. Instead of a Chisago County unemployment rate above 11 percent as we had when Olseen was thrown out of office, we now have an unemployment rate of 6 percent (as of July). Instead of the $6.2 billion budget deficit that Olseen and the liberal democrats left us with, Bob Barrett turned it into a $1.2 billion surplus.

People want the American dream – to own a home, have a good job, raise their family in peace and prosperity. If the last two years’ progress is any indication, Bob Barrett is taking us in that direction. His heart is there for middle-class families and that facts prove it.

Jim Lentz