Open Forum for week of July 11

OP_wilke 7-11
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 Job Well Done

With the conclusion of another Fourth of July Celebration in Forest Lake our Police Department deserves another tip of the hat. As a resident of Forest Lake for over 30 years, my experience with our local law enforcement professionals has been only positive.

In my experience as a resident and parade participant, Forest Lake has been well-served by three chiefs of police and numerous officers. Their attention and response to planning, traffic management, law enforcement and emergency response should not be taken for granted or go unnoticed.

The professional approach of Forest Lake’s Police Department is an integral contribution to a festival that is safe and enjoyable for thousands.

Richard Hahn
Forest Lake


Rep. Barrett Replies

A letter writer asked for information regarding the tax bill which I, and a bipartisan group of legislators, voted against.

This month, Minnesota families started being hit with $3 billion in tax/fee increases.

We have record state tax collections that, in 2012, were $1.7 billion more than the past year and $3.2 billion more than the year before that … substantially more money without tax increases.

These billions were banked while Dayton wanted more taxes. He was wrong when he said your taxes had to be raised.

Positive results occur without raising taxes:

– Increased per-student funding of $100 in 2012.  Increased $158 this year as part the K-12 bill. This required no tax increases

– Pay back $1 billion of the 2010 school shift, inherited in 2011

– Put $1 billion back in budget reserves, drained in 2010.

I also voted for the education bill, along with a bipartisan group of legislators.

Minneapolis schools have received $15,000+ per student for years without tax increases.  Our schools receive 30-40 percent less than this. To say we need tax increases to afford fair funding betrays common sense.

A sampling of what $3 billion in tax/fee increases gave you:

– Some departments received more funds than requested

– 1,300 new state employees

– $330 million to create a web site/infrastructure for the Health Exchange

– Bailout of e-pull tab fiasco

– Last minute $40 million earmark to Minneapolis library.

Don’t be fooled by distractions. Taxes are increasing on everyone while state government grows by 10 percent.

Rep. Bob Barrett

Summertime Safety

Summertime in Forest Lake means lots of people outside walking, running, and biking. Unfortunately, it’s easy to find examples every day of people who put themselves unnecessarily at risk by not following two safety practices recommended by the Minnesota Safety Council.

One, if you are walking or running in the road always do so against traffic, i.e., walk or run on the left side of the road in the direction you are headed.  The practical reason is simple: so you can see what’s coming at you rather than having to rely on hearing cars coming up behind you. Bicyclists should bike with traffic.

Two: Wear a bike helmet even if you are just going a few miles down a familiar road or biking on Sunrise Trail. Ask people who bike regularly and you’ll probably hear a story about someone who unexpectedly hit their head while biking. Of course, the plan of those who bike without a helmet is to not get a head injury. But as Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

If you see someone not following these safety practices, should you say something? I’m not sure. But I am sure that setting an example is a good way to promote change.

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake