Open Forum for week of Dec. 20

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.

A Worthwhile Evening

An educational diversity event was held on Oct. 16 on behalf of the Human Rights Commission of Forest Lake (HRC) at city hall.

Andre Koen was the speaker of the evening event. The event was marketed as being an opportunity to spend the evening hearing a motivational and inspirational speaker in regards to diversity topics. He has worked with groups such as the Super Lawyers in Minnesota, New York Knicks, public service employees, and educational institutions.

I was not sure of what to expect other than what I have already learned from experience, education, and past employment. I have heard other speakers use the terms inspirational, motivational, and yet I ended up sitting through a long speech.

Mr. Koen is described as being an inspirational and motivational speaker and he definitely fits that description. I found his talk on diversity to be inspirational, motivational, at times funny, and yet other times very serious. He kept the audience engaged. He is an effective and energetic communicator.

Some of the topics discussed included prejudice, respect, dignity, and honor. It made me think about the way certain topics in regards to diversity were portrayed, presented, and discussed throughout different circles in my life including friends, family, school, work, and presentation through different media outlets.

I left thinking about the topics of respect, how people want to be treated, and felt inspired. I would highly recommend attending a diversity event such as this.

For more information please visit

Melissa Moris
Forest Lake


Hidden Away

Those huge “Re-elect Michele Bachmann” signs with their blaze-orange “NRA Endorsed” banners on Highway 61 south of town have suddenly  disappeared –  a full six weeks after the election!

Sadly, it seems to have taken the deaths of 20 little innocents and their six brave teachers to turn a National Rifle Association endorsement into a badge of shame to be hidden away.

Gene Janicke
Forest Lake


Safety First?

Part of the argument for updating the old Broadway Street bridge over interstate 35 in Forest Lake was to make it safer for pedestrians to use the bridge.

Apparently, the concern for pedestrian safety does not extend to winter. One week after the major snowfall of December 9-10 the sidewalks the entire length of the new bridge were uncleared.

What’s ironic is that a pedestrian walking east across the bridge (on the north side) risks life and limb because they must walk in the road, but the instant they encounter private businesses, they will find the sidewalk cleared all the way to 61.

Of course, some will argue that not enough pedestrians use the bridge in winter to justify the expense of clearing the sidewalks.

If that is the City’s position then it’s best to put signs to that effect on either side of the bridge to improve safety. Otherwise, the obvious question is, if the businesses on Broadway can keep their sidewalks cleared in winter, why can’t the City of Forest Lake do the same?

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake

  • Judi Bruckschen

    In response to Gene Janicke:

    Good job making a tragedy a mindless political commentary. While we all are horrified with what happened in Connecticut, I doubt it had anything to do with Michelle Bachmann signs or her endorsement by the NRA. Yep, clearly this wouldn’t have happened if signs had been taken down 6 weeks after the election. Maybe if a teacher were armed and taken out this obviously mentally disturbed person, the tragedy would have prevented or lessened. The fact that you decided to politicize this tragedy by implicating the NRA and Michelle Bachmann should be reason enough that your “badge of shame” is hereby issued. Wear it with pride.

  • E. Baylor

    Gene you do have a point even though linking the two might not be proper etiquette in a time like this. Those signs were meant to pander to those around here that would actually think arming our teachers with guns is a good idea like Judi. Suggesting arming teachers? So, loaded guns in all classrooms in all schools? WORST idea ever!

  • Judi Bruckschen

    A rather embarassing indictment of our collective intelligence that someone would link political signs to a massacre many states away and then have someone back them up because of their own political views. Yes, there are some of us that believe in actually protecting our kids. A properly trained teacher that had a weapon when some psycho with guns comes in to my child’s classroom with the intention of killing my child or others and is taken out before it can happen would be nice.

    Maybe if we had enough gun control Gene and Mr. Baylor, the criminals and people who would kill innocent people would just drop their guns off at the local police departement and behave like responsible people? While you live in fantasyland and worry about political signs causing mass killings many states away, the rest of us are going to do everything we can to protect our kids. A mindless, kneejerk reaction to a tragedy is just sad on top of sad. While I don’t care for her as a politician, I doubt Michelle Bachmann or her signs caused the tragedy.

  • Bill B.

    Brutal Judi, just brutal. “properly trained teacher” this incident was made possible because some wack job lady had legally obtained these stupid guns and her idiot kid had easy access to them. That is how they got in his hands. Look into the facts and crawl out of the 2nd amendment nonsense. Having loaded guns on the teacher? Or in the desk drawer for any kid to get at? C’mon. Seriously, c’mon.