Open Forum for week of March 27

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.


Laws for the Lawless?

On the plans for Lofton Avenue, did anyone really read this? There were plans to make it safer because people run the stop sign and the trucks can’t control themselves to keep their speed in check.

Really? The sad part is they are correct in thinking these things, but I wouldn’t have put them into an article. Why are we spending money to make safety changes for people who don’t obey the laws?

People do run the stop signs coming onto Highway 97. On our 6-mile drive from North Shore to Highway 61 every morning and evening, I can usually count on one hand those who actually stop. The vast majority barely slow down.

We have noticed the increase in empty trucks heading east in the morning, and their speed scares the heck out of us. They are almost bumper to bumper. One wrong move and they will not only be involved in an incident (I won’t call these accidents) but will include any vehicles in their vicinity.

The speed on this highway is closer to freeway speed. When we drive the 55 mph as marked, we are passed on the left, along the shoulder, and if they can’t go around us, we have them so close we can look at their faces in our rearview mirror, as they make our drive as miserable as possible.

It’s sad that the lack of courtesy and total disregard for the laws have created the need to spend tax dollars changing a road to accommodate bad drivers.

Diane Hanser
Forest Lake

Curb Your Dog

I would like to say I am disappointed in some of the dog owners of Forest Lake.

You are putting a bad name to other dog owners in the area by not cleaning up after your dogs. I had been taught growing up that if you are going to take your dog for a walk, that required you to pick up your dog’s waste.

With the new snow melt I see now that not all of you believe this as well. When you use the sidewalk as your dog’s personal bathroom, you need to remember some things.

First, no one likes stepping in dog feces or any feces.

Second, if you bring a plastic bag or a pooper-scooper device, you don’t even have to touch it. Picking up dog feces with a plastic bag is no different than changing a diaper with a plastic glove. Yes it’s gross, but if you love your dog, clean sidewalks, and the environment, this is what you have to do.

Lastly, this will help protect our streams, ponds, lakes and ground water. Do you honestly think the Boy Scouts went around painting “no littering” fish signs by every sewer drain just for fun? That dog feces runoff does make its way into our lakes, so if you are for not swimming, fishing and boating in dog feces and protecting our health and the health of our water ecosystems, let’s avoid this tragedy of the commons. Curb your dog.

Elsa Litecky
Forest Lake

Reasonable questions

Sen. Sean Nienow’s biography found on his Senate website identifies him as fiscally responsible with a high priority for common-sense money management. It is further reported he is committed to being “thoughtful, prudent and disciplined with our tax dollars.”

This description can be put into serious question as he is being sued for default on a Federal Government Small Business Administration loan. The government is suing Sen. Nienow for $748,000 to recoup its loses.

I think these are reasonable questions: Where did the money go? Was any of the money used to finance his last campaign? What collateral was put forward to justify such a hefty loan? Was influence involved in the procurement of the loan? What is the timeline for resolution of this legal problem? Given this cloudy mess, would constituents be better served if he resigned?

Further, two years ago, Sen. Nienow, who receives a $31,140 salary as senator also made claim to per diem payment of $28,000, which almost equaled his salary. Last year he claimed $19,300, which though less than the year before, was nearly three times the amount claimed by Rep. Bob Barrett. Per diem claims are legitimate payment for out-of-pocket expenses, yet the sums claimed by Sen. Nienow are excessive, and hardly thoughtful, prudent and disciplined with our tax dollars.

Pete Boelter
North Branch

Ask the Kids

A letter in The Times opposing the anti-bullying legislation the Minnesota legislature is considering argued that “Our local K-12 anti-bullying program is working well.”

The legislation’s intent is to promote a school climate in which bullying in any form is not tolerated. Advocates argue it must be done at the state level because many school districts have an “Everything is fine here” mindset.

But I’ll take the letter writer’s bait: What’s the evidence that the anti-bullying program is working well in Forest Lake? That no student committed suicide last year as a result of bullying?

Bullying in 2014 is more psychological than physical, as is its toll; it’s being humiliated and having it described on Twitter in minutes with a video on YouTube within the hour.

That is what makes bullying today different from when those of us a bit older were in school.  Back then bullying was a local event: If it occurred in a hallway or on a bus it stayed there rather than making repeated appearances on the Internet.

I have a suggestion for those opposing this legislation: Ask some students if they have seen videos where a kid had something really mean or nasty done to them. While you’re at it ask these kids if they have been in one of those videos. It might be informative.

And if you don’t know any kids to ask, you probably don’t know anyone who has recently been bullied. That might also matter in one’s view of this legislation.

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake


Good Samaritan

On Saturday, March 8, my wife and daughters were at a benefit, so I stopped at Pizza Hut.

I want to thank the good Samaritan who picked up my tab.

Rod Peltier
Forest Lake


More than Generous

In February, Hallberg Marine in Wyoming held its annual customer appreciation celebration. Invitations requested that customers bring a food donation, and Community Helping Hand was the recipient of that collection.

Hundreds of pounds of food was collected and dropped off at our food shelf.

We would like to give our sincere thanks to Gene Hallberg and family, the staff at Hallberg Marine, and the hundreds of Hallberg Marine guests for this more-than-generous donation.

Jennifer Carr
Community Helping Hand
Food Shelf Coordinator