Open Forum for week of April 10

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.


Mining Concerns

A council meeting was scheduled for April 9 at City Hall in Columbus. On the agenda was John’s Black Dirt and Forest Lake Contracting.

It was very important that all residents living on Tulane, Vasser, 181st, 189th and Notre Dame attend.

Forest Lake Contracting was to present what would be an unacceptable IUP for them to continue mining and hauling sand on these gravel streets that are narrow and unsafe. There will be no walking, bike riding, walking dogs on the road, and lots of noise, dust and fumes will be what tax-paying residents will have to put up with again.

One suggestion from our mayor was to make Vassar and Tulane into one-way streets to make it more convenient to for hauling. This will increase traffic and make it highly inconvenient for residents.

Our concerns follow:

– This is a residential area

– Gravel roads are too narrow for these trucks

– The hours for hauling six to seven days a week, and three to five or maybe 10 years

– Twenty belly dumptrucks per hour

– School buses, road graders, water trucks, dumptrucks and other large trucks all using these roads at the same time

– Truck fumes, house-shaking on occasion, noise from digging in the pit, sloppy roads from chemicals and water, chemicals getting on our driveways and garage floors.

One of our biggest issues is safety. Last year when trucks were running there were many complaints to the city.

As taxpayers we have rights as to what happens to our residential areas and roads.

Joan Schliesing


Bullying or Teasing?

A column by Don Heinzman and a letter to the editor by Mary Stolz appeared in the April 3 Times, plus the entire local media is abuzz regarding “bullying” in school and an annual $20 million anti-bullying law is making its way through the legislative sausage grinder.

Almost all the hullaballoo on this subject is based on a false definition of bullying. False because the term is mistakenly used, mostly by liberals, in place of a more accurate term: teasing.

Bullying, properly understood, involves physical attacks or threats thereof. Laws already exist to deal with that.

Teasing, while it’s not very nice and can have unfortunate repercussions, hardly justifies an expensive, vague and foolish law to prevent or punish it.

Richard Doyle


Get the Facts

After reading the last Times article on the school bond request, I concluded that the readers were being taken on a guilt trip and portrayed as cheap for not keeping up with the comparison districts.

The operating levy is a small piece of the big picture.

According to the 2013 audit, the district served 6,785 students at $725 each for a total of $4,919,125. That’s less than 6.5 percent of total revenue.

At the same time they spent $11,398 per student for a total of $77,335,430, not including Capital Projects and OPEB Fund. If the excluded were added the spending would approach $13,000 per student. Are we paying college tuition for K-12 education?

When comparing, keep in mind all districts are not equal in size, property wealth and ability to pay.

Dollars spent and educational outcome tells you your bang for the buck. When a district is top-heavy and classroom-teacher-short, you get abysmal graduation rates and MCA test results with 35-45 percent failure rates.

Knowing enrollment dropped 2,200 students in the past 12 years, that over 80 percent of the general fund dollars are salaries, and the continued expansion of facilities, what’s wrong with this picture? Is empire-building and keeping up with other districts more important than educating?

Taxing the taxpayer out of house and home is not an option. Has “pay-as-you-go” been replaced in their vocabulary with “30 years of legacy payments?”

Be an informed voter. Get all the facts, not just the bits and pieces the district is feeding you.

Dick Tschida
Forest Lake


Finding Pleasure

I rather enjoy the political cartoons in the Pioneer Press these days: the skewing and lampooning of our foreign policy, the IRS, NSA, AFT, EPA, AG and the president.

Obama’s poll numbers are at 40 percent. Thirty-five percent would support him no matter what he says or does. The are the uninformed, on the dole or both.

Then Obamacare – what an awful legacy for Franken, Klobuchar and Dayton.

Tom Lynch
Forest Lake


Recycle E-Waste

What used to be a pet peeve has turned into something more serious. It’s about “that guy,” the one who gets something new and tosses the old item into a ditch. Last winter I noticed not one, but two large TVs in my neighborhood.

Electronic waste is not only messy but it is a health hazard and must be disposed of properly.  Televisions, computers, cell phones, DVD players and anything else that contains a circuit board can become e-waste.

According to the EPA, Americans own nearly 3 billion electronic products. These products contain toxic metals and chemicals and become hazardous when discarded into landfills. According to, 80-85 percent of electronic products are discarded into landfills. This is illegal.

We need to recycle.  A variety of places take these products at no cost, or you can choose a local company that may charge to take your unwanted products. I recently ran a bunch of products to Best Buy for no fee.

I hope you might consider these options to keep our Earth a bit prettier and safer. You will also be following the law.

We call these old products e-waste, but when recycled they are not waste at all. These parts are reusable and can be recovered for new products.

According to the EPA, Americans tossed 4.6 million tons of e-waste into landfills in 2000. Do your part and recycle. If you are “that guy,” please take care of your garbage, or skip getting that new item in the first place.

Kim Woehl